How to Find a New Dentist

It's easy to find a dentist. Finding a good dentist, however, presents more of a challenge. Whether you’re moving somewhere new or just want to find a different dentist, you're probably wondering where to begin. These tips will help you find a good dentist.

If you're moving somewhere new, ask your current dentist for a referral to a new dentist in the area where you'll be relocating. You can also check online directories, like 1-800-Dentist, to find out the locations and ratings of dentists in your new area.

You might think it's "just the dentist," but finding a good one is something to take seriously. It's completely acceptable to switch dentists if you're not happy with your current one. If you're looking for a new dentist in your current area, talk to people you already know and whose opinions you trust:

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Co-workers
  • Church members
  • Your physician
  • Your pharmacist
  • Neighbors
Empty dentist chair
sturti / Getty Images 

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 Your 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.

By Tammy Davenport
Tammy Davenport is a dental assistant with experience on the clinical and administrative side.