Finding a New Dentist
When you move into a new home, the first places you probably want to get acquainted with are your kids’ new school, daycare, the family doctor, grocery store, gym, and restaurants. Finding a new dentist might not be very high on your list, but it should be. Finding the right dentist for you and your family when you are new to the area can take some time, but it’s time well spent. The sooner you start, the better.
What You Should Look for in a New Dentist
It goes without saying that you want your new dentist to be a good dentist. They should make you feel comfortable every step of the way, from scheduling an appointment to the appointment itself, be it a check-up or a more involved dental procedure. They should consider not only your dental health but also your overall health. And they should have hours, a location, and prices that work for you.
These are some other considerations:
- Is the dentist accepting new patients?
- How long has the dentist been in practice?
- What is the dentist’s approach to preventive dentistry?
- Do they provide the services you need? (Family dentistry, orthodontics, etc.)
- Does the dental practice have a payment plan?
- What is their policy on missed appointments?
- Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
How to Find a Dentist
- Contact your insurance company to get a list of dentists that participate in your dental plan.
- Contact your local or state dental society.
- Ask for referrals from your former dentist, your new doctor, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
- Research online and look for dentist reviews from people who have had good experiences.
Moving Tips: How To Find A New Dentist
Whether it’s across town or cross-country, moving means staying on top of big and little tasks. In the flurry of packing, renting moving trucks, changing addresses and all of the other checklist items that come with moving, don’t forget that one of the most important moving tips isn’t how you pack your china, but when and how you choose a new dentist. Switching health care professionals should never be done lightly or without the proper research, so if your move requires a new dentist too, make sure you take the time to choose one you’ll love. Try these tips for a perfect fit post-move.
- Look for ADA-Certified
The American Dental Association requires its certified dentists to abide by certain codes of both ethics and professional conduct when dealing with patients. As such, its database is a great place to start when searching for a trustworthy, skilled dentist in your new area. You can find ADA-certified dentists across the country by using the ADA Find a Dentist tool.
- Ask for Recommendations
One of the most reliable ways to find out more about dentists in your new area, is to ask around. If you already know some people in your new neighborhood – coworkers or community acquaintances, for example – ask which dentist they visit. If you don’t know anyone in your new location, go online and reach out to others on social media. A city social media group or parenting group can be a wealth of knowledge for someone who’s new in town, and you can rest assured you’re choosing a dentist with a proven track record.
- Schedule a Consultation
Before you commit to becoming a new patient, schedule a consultation. During a consultation, a dentist and his or her staff will show you around the office, explain common procedures, talk to you about dental insurance, and answer any questions you might have about policies and protocols. This initial consult goes a long way in quelling any concerns you might have about switching dentists, as well as giving you a feel for whether or not a particular dentist is the right fit for you and your family. Schedule consults with two or three dentists and you can choose the one who you feel is best.
- Consider Your Family Members
Consider your family members, like their ages and special needs, to narrow your search. If you have little ones, think about finding a family practice that can handle pediatric dentistry. If your teen (or you!) may need braces soon, check out an office that specializes in orthodontics as well.
- Transfer Your Records
Call your old dentist and make sure that your dental records from that office are transferred to your new dentist. Your new dentist will need to know about your past dental health, including checkup records, surgeries and any medications you may be taking. Transferring your records can help make the switch to a new office seamless.
Dental Clinic Near Me: Arranging a “Meet & Greet”
Once you have narrowed your search to 2-3 candidate offices, reach out to see if they will provide a complimentary “Meet & Greet” appointment. A lot of offices do this now and it’s a great opportunity for you to meet staff and Dentist. It’s also a great way to get a “feel” for the facility.
I find that patients get the most out of these meetings when they bring a few questions. They may also have a dental problem or concern and will use the appointment to get a second opinion. When you bring a question or concern to the candidate Dentist, you get to see how they think. Also, you will be able to see if their priorities and ways of thinking are similar to yours. And, furthermore, you’ll get a feel for their style. Do they like to listen a lot? Do they ask you lots of questions while giving you the opportunity to speak and share ideas? You’ll find this out easily if you plan ahead and bring questions with you.
Figure out Your “Must-Haves”
Remember: it’s not “just the dentist.” Before you start searching, think about the criteria that matter most to you. How important is the location? Many people prefer their dentist to be close to home, work or their child’s school. Having a dentist close by makes it easier to stop by for an appointment if there’s been a cancellation or if you have an emergency.
What kind of dentist do you want? If you have children, you might want a pediatric dentist who specializes in treating kids. If you use a wheelchair or have difficulty climbing stairs, you might want to visit an office that is handicap accessible. Maybe you want a dentist who speaks another language.
Questions to Ask When You’re Looking for a New Dentist
Before you make an appointment, do a little research. You might find out it’s not worth scheduling an appointment in the first place. Make a list of questions to ask the dentist. It might seem like an unnecessary step, but not all dental offices are created equal and you probably don’t want to waste your time. Some things to ask a new dentist include:
- Are they accepting new patients?
- What kind of insurance do they accept?
- Where is the office located?
- What are the office hours?
- What is appointment availability like?
- Do they offer after-hours, emergency care services?
- How long has the dentist been practicing?
- Is the dentist a member of a state or national dental society?
Of course, this is just a sampling of things to consider. Take your time and write down what is really important to you. Keep in mind you might have to visit several dentists before you find one you really like, and there’s nothing wrong with that.