Finding a great new dentist for your family can be overwhelming. Dentists in major metropolitan areas like New York City are plentiful, and it can be challenging to distinguish between them.
Step 1: Recommendations From Friends and Family
One of the easiest places to start when searching for a new dentist is by asking your friends, family, and coworkers. You will receive a list of well-liked local practitioners. Asking your pharmacist or primary care doctor could also help.
Step 2: Research The Dentist's Background
Most dental offices have biographies on their websites. You can use these to explore their education and qualifications. Back up the biography with an Internet search to verify the details. Search for information on their dental school and use it to help your decision-making process.
Find out whether your prospective new dentist is board-certified or has other professional qualifications. Membership in dental societies may also signal that your practitioner participates in continuing education. You will also want to know how long the dentist has been in practice.
Step 3: Know The Dentist's Services
Ensure that the dentist can provide the services you need. If you want a family dentist who can see young children and adults, you may need to specify this in your search. If you choose a dentist that does not offer certain procedures, you may need a referral out of the office, costing you time and money.
Step 4: Read Reviews
While keeping in mind that online reviews may not always be reliable, look through them and see whether you can spot any trends. A dentist with a few negative reviews may deal with a disgruntled patient or community member. If you see a pattern of negative reviews, you may notice a potential problem.
Step 5: Know Your Insurance Coverage and Payment Options
Call your insurance company to ensure your selected dentist is on your plan. Many dental insurers reimburse more for preferred providers. Some dental practices also offer financing or alternate payment options.
Step 6: Visit the Dental Office
Ask for a tour of the dental office. A reputable office should be able to accommodate you either during the day or outside normal office hours. You will want to look for cleanliness, organization, comfort, and a welcoming atmosphere.
It helps to find out how long it typically takes to get an appointment for a cleaning and an urgent issue. If you can't always make plans far in advance, an office that takes six months to schedule a cleaning may not be for you. Ask whether the dentist offers emergency or after-hours services and how to access them.
You will also want to research the transportation options in the area. This question may be easier to answer in a rural or suburban area, but in the city, it is a good idea to look into subway, bus, and alternate transportation.
Step 7: Making the Decision
The most difficult part of finding a new dentist is deciding which practice to choose. When you compare the practices based on these seven steps, it will be easier to distinguish between them and understand their special qualities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dentistry
If my teeth feel fine, do I need to see a dentist?
Even if you don't have any discernible dental symptoms, regularly seeing a dentist is essential for maintaining your oral health. You may have hidden or emerging problems that are not immediately apparent and need a dentist's diagnosis. For example, tooth decay can hide for years until it becomes too advanced to repair with a filling, leading to a root canal or extraction.
What is the importance of board certification?
Board certification means that the dentist received extra training beyond dental school. Dentists must pass another set of examinations to become board-certified.