If you’ve moved to a new city, haven’t found a dentist at all, or want to change the dentist you’re using, here are some ways to find a new dentist:
Finding a new dentist is more accessible than most people give it credit for being. The people around you, friends, family, and coworkers, usually have a dentist they’ve used for a long time. If they’ve been seeing these dentists for a while, they also trust the dentists. Pharmacists, nurses, and even physicians might also be able to direct you to a great dentist. If you’re moving, ask your dentist if they can refer you to someone they trust. Your current dentist might even be able to refer you to an oral surgeon or orthodontist if you require one.
So, now you have your recommendations, what do you do next? Phone calls and meetings with the recommended dentists are excellent first steps. You want to ensure that your insurance covers any new dentist, too, but that’s not the only thing you want to do. You want to ensure that the dentist you’ll be seeing is one you can trust. When screening a potential dentist, here are some things you should ask:
- Does your dental insurance cover this dentist?
- What are their office hours? Are those hours flexible enough for you?
- Concerning your home or job, where are they located?
- How do they view preventative dentistry?
- Do they have a policy in place for after-hours emergencies? If not, can they refer you to someone who does?
- What is the expected out-of-pocket cost for you?
- How do they handle missed appointments?
Once you know what you need to ask your new dentist, independent research is another excellent idea. What level of education have they completed? How much experience does this dentist have? Do they continue any training once they’re licensed? And do they have any malpractice claims filed with the American Dental Association against them?
Your dental plan might also have some recommendations. Most plans have an online list of dentists in their network. Choosing a dentist that your insurance covers will significantly reduce the cost you pay out of pocket. At the same time, you want to talk to the dentist to ensure they cover procedures beyond basic cleaning or fillings.
Patient reviews online are another way to conduct independent research. If your potential dentist has a website, use that to see what your peers are saying about them. If they don’t, there are other reputable sources you can use. Don’t ignore bad reviews, though, keeping in mind that some of those bad reviews might be something serious.
Don’t be afraid to visit the office, too. Many practices are willing to offer consultations. Some even offer tours around their office. If you’re able to take a tour of the office, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Does the staff keep things clean?
- Are they ensuring their equipment is well-maintained and updated?
- What is customer service like? Are they courteous? Do they answer questions thoroughly?
- Are the dentists wearing the correct protective equipment?
Caring for your Dental Health Even When You’re Moving
Your physician isn’t the only one you should have a positive relationship with. Your dentist and oral hygienists are too. It might not seem that challenging at first, but it’s a complex process if you don’t know what to look for. However, finding a new dentist can be seamless if you know what to ask and look for. You’ll likely be using this dentist for years, making this relationship as essential as any other healthcare professional.