- Ask family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for their recommendations.
- Ask a family doctor or local pharmacist. when moving to different towns/states.
- If moving, ask a current dental professional to make a recommendation
- Contact your local or state dental society. The ADA provides a list of local and state dental societies on its web site, www.ada.org. Your local and state dental societies also may be listed in the telephone directory under “dentists” or “associations.”
The ADA suggests calling or visiting more than one dentist before selecting one.
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Dentist?
You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore, you should find someone you can be comfortable with. To find someone suitable to meet your oral health needs, consider asking the following questions as a starting point:
- What are the office hours? Are they convenient for a person’s schedule?
- Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
- Where was the dentist educated and trained?
- What’s the dentist’s approach to preventive dentistry?
- How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
- What type of anesthesia does the certified to administer to help someone relax and feel more comfortable during any necessary dental treatment?
- What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
- Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled? If comparison shopping, ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.
- Do they participate in a particular dental health plan?
- What is the office’s policy on missed appointments?
If visiting a dentist’s office:
- Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and orderly? Do all surfaces and equipment in the treatment room appear clean?
- Is the dental staff helpful and willing to answer questions?
- Do you observe the staff wearing gloves and other protective gear during actual patient treatment?