Qualities of a Good Dentist

Many people consider their dentist a valued partner in their health care, so if they need to find a new dental professional – maybe due to a move or a new dental plan – it’s important to find one they trust. The American Dental Association (ADA) provides the following suggestions to identify the right dentist:

1. Solicit Recommendations

  • Ask co-workers, family, friends and neighbors about their favorite dentists
  • Request a referral from your current dentist
  • Ask your medical doctor or pharmacist for recommendations
  • Contact the state dental society for a list of dentists

2. Ask Questions

As you review the list of possible dentists, it may be helpful to compare answers to these questions:

  • Is the dentist in your insurance network or is your insurance coverage accepted at the dental office? Will they submit your dental claim for you?
  • What are the dentist’s office hours? Will the appointment schedule meet your needs?
  • Is the dental office location convenient for you and your family?
  • Where was the dentist educated and trained?
  • What is the dentist’s philosophy toward preventive care and personal care of your teeth?
  • How often does the dentist participate in continuing education workshops to keep knowledge current?
  • What procedures does the office have in place for handling emergencies?
  • What is the office’s policy on missed appointments?

3. Visit the Dentist’s Office

You may want to schedule an initial visit with the dentist and his or her team of professionals to evaluate the office and dental care provided. A few considerations to review:

  • Is the office clean and professional in appearance?
  • Are the dental professionals helpful in answering your questions?
  • Do team members practice good hygiene by wearing gloves, masks and other appropriate protective gear when caring for patients?

4. Request a Treatment Plan

After selecting a dentist, schedule an appointment for an oral health evaluation and treatment plan. If you have concerns about the schedule or costs, ask if the work can be accomplished in stages. Find out which parts of the treatment plan are urgent and if any can be delayed. Make sure you understand the recommendations offered by the dentist.