What Should You Look for in a Good Dentist?
1. Has Proper Qualifications and Credentials
Check their website for information such as what college the practicing dentist graduated from, what academies and dental schools 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 dental practice’s website.
For example, our practicing dentists are given biographies on our site so that people can be more informed before they meet the dentist:
“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.”
2. Registered With the American Dental Association (ADA)
Most insurance plans require seeing a dentist registered with the American Dental Association (ADA). Depending on the type of dental work you need, you might want to find a dentist 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, consider seeing a dentist with a membership to a sleep medicine academy. If your concerns are general, choosing an AAOSH or ADA dentist makes sense.
3. Takes Your Insurance
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 dental services are covered. If you’re seeking preventative care like teeth cleanings and have a health insurance plan that will cover these treatments, it’s recommended you choose a dentist’s office that’s in-network.
To find an in-network dentist, check with your healthcare provider or your employer’s HR department. Check the office hours to ensure you can call during a convenient time for any questions regarding the services covered if you’re considering scheduling an appointment.
4. Offers The Services You Need
If you want regular checkups and dental cleanings, it’s best to look for an office where you will feel comfortable. If you have questions about specific dental 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 often have the best equipment, tools, and aesthetic features to make your kids 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 whitening treatments, veneers, or other aesthetic dental treatments, finding a specialist who can confidently address your concerns is the best course of action.
If you need a specific dental procedure, look for a practice that does that procedure in-house. A referral to another office means you must pay for a second exam. For example, if 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.
5. Cost of Treatment/Fits Your Budget
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 benefits. You can still ask about fees before your dental visit to get an idea of what’s covered, but they may be unable to provide specific information.
When considering the cost of a treatment you need, avoid trying to find the clinic with the lowest prices. You should consider cost, 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.
6. Years of Experience
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 committed to staying up-to-date with recent technology and trends in the industry.
7. Positive Patient 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 researching before you make any calls. Offices like AZ Family Dental, with good patient reviews, have a high reputation.
Reviews on Google, 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 typically 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.
Doing thorough research on a dentist’s location gives you insight into the authenticity and professionalism of that clinic, as well as helps prevent dental fraud, such as performing services not clinically necessary or justified.
8. Mission Aligns With The Goals of Dentistry
Dental care revolves around preventing problems before they develop and handling issues before they escalate. 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.
Your dentist should recognize the importance of annual check-ups and cleaning appointments to track any changes in 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 many options.
Published on: October 13, 2022
Updated on: November 2, 2023