How to Choose a Dentist: Steps to Finding a Good Dentist

October 13, 2022

You need to find a new dentist, but what are some things you should look out for? Knowing what factors are important for finding a match can help you make an informed choice. Keep reading to learn how to find a good dentist in your area.

What Type of Dental Work Are You Looking for?


Before you decide on a dentist, consider what type of dental work you need and make sure the provider offers the right services. The following factors are important when picking a new dentist:

1. Your Dental Insurance Coverage

If you have dental insurance, you want to make sure you can make the best use of it. Check to see if the provider is in your insurance network, and then look at which services are covered. If you’re seeking preventative care like teeth cleanings and have health insurance that will cover these treatments, it’s best to look for an in-network office.

In terms of finding an in-network dentist, check with your healthcare provider or your employer’s HR department. An office is usually open to answering your inquiries about covered services if you are considering making an appointment there.

2. Academy Membership

Most insurance plans require you to see a dentist registered with the American Dental Association (ADA). Depending on the type of dental work you need, you might want to look for a provider who is a member of another academy. Some board-certified Doctors of Dentistry choose to register with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) or another academy.

The type of academy a dentist is a part of will tell you more about their specialties. If you struggle with sleep apnea, you might want to see a dentist with a membership to a sleep medicine academy. If your concerns are general, choosing a dentist who is a member of the AAOSH or ADA makes sense.

3. Specific Services

If you want to get regular checkups and dental cleanings, it’s best to look for an office that you will feel comfortable in. If you have questions about specific services related to a specialized field of practice, it’s best to locate an office where these services are discussed on the website. Service areas that you might be interested in include:

  • Pediatric dentistry: These dentists are best-suited to work with children. Their offices are often fitted with the best possible equipment, tools and aesthetic features to make your kids feel comfortable.
  • Dental implants: Many patients want to see an experienced practitioner when they require an implant, bridge or related service.
  • Cosmetic dentistry: If you want to get whitening treatments, veneers or other aesthetic dental treatments, finding a specialist who can confidently address your concerns is the best course of action.

What Are the Qualifications or Credentials of Your Dentist and Practice?

Check the website for information such as what college the practicing dentist graduated from, what academies they are affiliated with and what specialties they offer. It’s a red flag if basic information about a doctor is difficult to find online or unavailable on the practice’s website.

For example, Dr. Parker of AZ Family Dentistry became a Doctor of Dental Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. He is a member of the ADA and several other academies, including the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Association of Endodontists, the Arizona Dental Association and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. 

Dr. Parker is passionate about digital dentistry and even serves as a mentor on, where he gives lectures to other dentists about CEREC technology. 

Other Questions to Ask at Your Dental Appointment

Your first appointment is a good opportunity to ask questions and decide if you want to undergo treatment. Below are common questions patients may ask to establish a rapport with their practitioner:

1. What Are Your Goals for Providing Care?

Dental health care revolves around preventing problems before they develop and taking care of problems before they worsen. Ask your dentist what their overall goals are for their patients, and discuss any individual concerns you have with them to determine what their treatment plan might look like. 

You dentist should recognize the importance of annual check-ups and cleaning appointments as a way to track any changes with your dental health. Your dentist should also be willing to listen to patient input and attempt less invasive treatment when possible. While intensive treatment may sometimes be necessary, you want to work with someone who offers you plenty of options.

2. How Much Will the Treatment Cost?

Most offices avoid listing prices online or offering quotes for dental services since prices may increase or decrease over the years, or the cost could vary depending on a patient’s insurance. You can still ask about prices before your dental visit to get an idea of what’s covered, but they may not be able to provide specific information. 

When you’re considering the cost of a treatment you need, avoid trying to find the clinic with the lowest prices. You should take cost into consideration, but the quality of service you will receive is more important. Ask if the practice offers a payment plan for services or if other financing options are available before you make a decision. 

3. Is the Procedure Offered Here?

If you need a specific dental procedure, look for a practice that does that procedure in-house. Having a referral to another office means you will have to pay for a second exam. For example, if you think you need dental implants or another tooth replacement procedure, go to an office that lists these procedures and has a practitioner who conducts the consultations and appointments.

You can also determine if dental surgery or other extensive treatments are offered by calling the office to ask. Some dentists will conduct less invasive procedures and refer patients to trusted dental surgeons or other specialists when needed. 

4. How Long Have You Practiced?

Although a new dentist who recently graduated can offer the same level of care that an experienced practitioner can, a higher level of experience can often make a difference in terms of the service’s quality. AZ Family Dentistry has been in operation for more than 40 years, with experienced dentists who are committed to staying up-to-date with recent technology and trends in the industry.

Read Reviews and Testimonials

It’s a good idea to check the past recommendations from patients when considering any new doctor’s office. You might get a few of your questions answered by doing research before you make any calls. Offices like AZ Family Dental with good reviews have a high reputation.

Reviews on Goolge, CareDash, a practice’s website or another informative site can tell you:

  • How well-liked or friendly the staff is.
  • If the office or patients have experienced any problems recently.
  • What services patients commonly go to this practice for.
  • Information patients wish they had known before choosing the practice or having a procedure.
  • Details about procedures that patients remember and want to share.

Make Your Appointment With AZ Family Dental

Are you looking for top-rated dentists in your area? Choosing a new dentist can be simple when you do research. Our friendly, professional staff and our highly-rated practitioners look forward to meeting you. 

Contact us if you have questions about a procedure or our services.

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