When you are looking for a new dentist, you are not just looking for someone to clean your teeth.

“Your dental health is such a critical part of your overall health that it is important for all patients to have a dental home”.

That means there will always be someone looking out for the best interests of you and your family.

Having a dental home will allow you to feel comfortable when you go for a routine dental visit and will give you the security of having a place of trust when you have to go for an emergency dental visit. This is a guide and more top tips to finding the right professional for you and your family.

Start with the Basics

Routine visits are critical to a healthy smile, so start with the details that work best with your lifestyle and dental care needs. Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Is it easy to get to the dental office from home or work?
  • Is the consultation schedule practical?
  • If you have dental benefits, is this office in your dental provider network?
  • Communication between doctor and patient is very important. Do you need translation or interpretation services?

Launch the Search

Now that you’ve started looking for a dentist, you’ve probably seen advertisements on the internet, in the newspaper, and even in your mailbox. On social media pages you will also find patient feedback about dentists near you, but remember that each person’s dental health needs and experiences are unique.

Here are some great places to start looking for a dentist:

  • The ADA Find a Dentist tool. Search by name, and place, and specialty.
  • Your local dental society. They can give you a list of names of dentists in your area.
  • A trusted friend or relative. If your mom tells you that she loves her dentist, take a look!
  • If you do not have dental benefits or are having difficulty paying for dental services, your local health department or dental schools can help you find a dental provider. Here are some resources that may be helpful to you.

Once you find a few candidates you like, visit their websites and find out if their offices are on social media to learn more about them.

Meet and Greet

To find the right dentist, don’t be shy about calling or visiting the dentists on your list before deciding. Make a time to meet the dentist and their staff before you make a dental appointment. Make a list of questions and bring your dental history so the dentist can review it if he wants to ask you something more specific. You will also have the opportunity to see if the office is welcoming, comfortable, and clean.

You can add the following questions to your list:

  • Will the dentist explain ways to prevent dental problems? Will they give you instructions to take care of your dental health?
  • Is the office staff familiar with your dental benefit plan and do they offer you options for financing treatment costs?
  • Will your medical and dental records be recorded and kept in a permanent file?