In just about any town of the United States, you're likely to have your choice among several different dentists. Whether you are new to town or you are just looking for a new dentist for yourself or your family, here are some tips on finding the one that is likely to be the right one for you.
Narrow down the list.
If a glance at the online listings for dentists in your area is a mile long, you will need to narrow down your choices somehow. What you want to do is come up with two or three solid candidates so that you're not running all over town having get-to-know-you appointments with a dozen or more practices. Here is a list of ways you can narrow down the competition:
- Ask friends for recommendations. If you don't have any friends in town, which is very possible if you've just moved there, try posting on your town's social media page. You're bound to get some suggestions of who to consider -- as well as who not to consider.
- Look in your dental insurance booklet. If you have a DMO plan, you will have to choose one out of the book. If your plan is a PPO or POS, however, you are not obligated to stick to this list, though you will usually save money by doing so.
- Check out a map of the area. Use a mapping website to figure out which dentists are closest to your home or office. If you can pick one who is within a few minutes of work or home, this can reduce the amount of time you spend driving, as well as allow you to get to work or home quickly after an appointment.
Call the office staff with questions.
Some dental offices are not going to be a good match for you, and it's best to eliminate these before you schedule an appointment to meet the dentist. Call the office and ask about hours, payment plans, whether the office is open on Saturdays, how emergencies are handled, whether they see young children, and anything else that is important to you.
Make appointments to meet the final contenders.
Once you have two or three dentists on your short list, it's time to make appointments to meet the dentist and the staff. If you don't need a lot of work done, most of your time will be spent with the hygienist, so make sure he or she is someone who you don't mind spending a couple of hours per year with. Your main goal here is to see whether the dental office tends to run on time, if the waiting area and exam rooms are clean, and how the dentist's bedside manner is.
When you find a dentist you feel comfortable with and who meets your needs, you can rest assured that you've probably found the best dentist for you! Take your time in choosing, but don't take too much time; keep up with your routine cleanings by finding someone promptly and making an appointment for an exam and cleaning so you don't fall behind.