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How to Choose a Dentist

Spend time choosing a dentist to find a great long-term partner

Many people spend more time planning a vacation than choosing a dentist. The dentist you choose to care for your teeth is much more important than which hotel you select for a trip. Proper dental care is crucial not only to have a healthy mouth but also to avoid other diseases associated with poor dental health.

We recommend spending sufficient time to choose a dentist that matches your needs well, so that you can enjoy a lifetime partnership.

Here are eight key things to consider when choosing a dentist:

Experience - How long has the dental practice been in your community? Does the dentist have experience with patients like you? When you choose a dentist with years of experience, you won’t surprise or stump your dentist with any of your teeth problems. An experienced dentist can give you quality recommendations based on both knowledge and first-hand experience.

Services Provided - Are comprehensive services offered at the dental office? Will the dental practice be able to meet your dental needs as you get older and your dental issues change? Can the dentist serve your entire family, including children and elderly parents? Finding a dentist that can help any of your family members is usually convenient, efficient, and cost-effective.

Technology - Does the dental practice use state of the art computer technology? For example, dentists using CEREC crown technology can reduce the amount of time you spend in the dentist’s chair. And does the dentist use modern and safe x-ray technology? Seek a dentist who stays up-to-date.

Patient Experiences - Do patients seem happy with the dental practice? Does the dentist have long-term relationships with patients? Talk to patients directly or read about dental patients’ first-hand experiences if at all possible. It’s usually helpful to hear from patients in their own words.

Preventive Care - Will the dentist and hygienists explain techniques to help you prevent dental troubles? Prevention is significantly less expensive and less time consuming than fixing established problems. Find a dentist that can instruct you on proper dental care. You and your dentist should work together as partners for the healthiest mouth possible.

ADA Membership - Is the dentist a member of the American Dental Association (ADA)? ADA members receive the latest information affecting dentistry to provide the best possible patient care. Find a dentist who knows the latest tools, treatment methods, and scientific research in dentistry. Plus, all ADA member dentists voluntarily agree to abide by the high ethical standards reflected in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.

Financial Flexibility and Help - Will the dental practice help you get the dental services you need within your budget? Do they offer financing? Will they work out a payment plan to make dental services affordable? To serve a community well, a dentist needs to offer options for various budgets.

Office Experience - Certainly, it is important to choose a dentist with extensive experience and up-to-date knowledge, but you also want a pleasant office experience. Visit the office of your potential dentist. Look around and see how you are treated. Is the office neat, clean, and orderly? Does the staff seem caring and communicative?

Keeping these ideas and questions in mind to help you choose a dentist that is a great match for you - for a lifetime!