There are many reasons to look for a new dentist. Maybe you or your old dentist has recently moved. Perhaps they have retired. Or maybe you’re just not too thrilled with them and want to try someone else. Whatever the reason, the important thing is that you have now found yourself in search of a dentist.
Finding a new dentist is no easy task. Sure, you could just go to the first dentist you find near you, but is that really good enough? What should you look for in a dentist and how do you go about finding a good dentist? To help you with your search, here are five tips to find the best dentist.
Step #1: Establish Parameters
Part of finding the best dentist for you is figuring out what that looks like. Consider the things you liked about your past dentist or even the things that you didn’t like. You should make a list of the things that you look for in a dentist and then prioritize them in terms of importance. Some parameters that can affect your choice of dentist can include location, types of skills, punctuality, availability, whether they are in network, and cost.
Step #2: Make a List
Taking into account your priorities regarding a dentist, try to compile a list of possible dentists. Make sure that the dentists on this list have some or all of the necessary parameters you previously listed. To make this list, try asking friends and family for recommendations, search the American Dental Association Find-a-Dentist tool, or even just do a quick Google search.
Step#3: Interview Your Dentist
Before deciding on a single dentist, feel free to schedule consultations with multiple dentists on your list to get to know them more. This allows you to check out their offices and support staff, as well as to get an idea about the dentist’s personality. Your dentist should have a personality that is compatible with yours. You should also use this consultation as a chance to ask specific questions about the practice and their policies.
Step #4: Double Check for Red Flags
While interviewing potential dentists and visiting different dental offices, be sure to look for possible red flags. These include messy office, defensive attitudes, impatient support staff, and a dentist who tries to upsell several dental treatments that may not be needed. Trust your gut on this one. If you feel like something isn’t right, it’s probably not.
Step#5: Schedule an Appointment
If you think you have found a promising candidate, schedule a dental exam and cleaning to evaluate your oral health. This will allow you to experience how the office and dentist function. If the dentist recommends any type of treatment, make sure you get a copy for yourself. Feel free to ask questions about your oral health and their proposed treatment plan. As mentioned before, be wary if the dentist runs off a long list of costly treatments. If this is the case, you may want to look for a second opinion to either confirm the necessity of these treatments or to find a better dentist.
Dr. John Batlle attended the UF College of Dentistry where he received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 1983. After graduating, he worked for the State of Florida and received his commission in the Navy Reserve Dental Corps. He was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002 where he served as the dentist for Detainee Operations and Navy Hospital GTMO. He recently retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve after 26 years of service.