If you’ve simply been combing the local results when you type “dentist” into Google, you may be getting frustrated in your quest. The good news is that there are better ways to find a dentist. Here are some answers to questions on how to find a local dentist that meets all your needs.
- Who Should I Ask for Recommendations?
Personal recommendations are the best way to choose any medical practitioner. One group of people you can tap as a resource is other medical professionals. If you have a great pediatrician, for example, he or she may also know a pediatric dentist (called a pedodentist) your kids will love.
You can also ask around in your neighborhood or social groups. Someone in your homeowners’ association might know the best dentist close to home, or someone in your office may know which dental offices can get you in for a cleaning over your lunch break.
- Are Online Reviews Reliable?
When you’re trying to figure out how to find a local dentist, one of the most common dilemmas you’ll face is whether you should factor in online reviews. The best approach is to read reviews, but keep in mind what they can and can’t help you discover. Reviews are a great way to find out if a dentist is kind, or compassionate, or timely, or good with children — they’re less reliable if you’re trying to estimate costs or rates of procedural success.
- Can General Dentists Do Cosmetic Procedures?
If you’re searching for one dentist who can perform both cosmetic dentistry and your regular cleanings, your success will likely depend on the size of your town. Most extensive cosmetic procedures are performed by specialists, but increasingly popular procedures such as professional whitening (which, along with at-home tooth whitening products, now constitutes a $1.4 billion industry) and veneer application (which has increased by 250% just in the last five years) may be offered by your dental office.
Remember when you’re weighing the benefit of cosmetic procedures that certain treatments once considered cosmetic, such as orthodontia, are now seen as necessities. This is because misaligned teeth can cause wear and premature tooth loss later in life. Similarly, dental implants can stop bone loss and preserve function needed for eating and speaking.
- Is It Really Worth Spending Time Searching?
Unfortunately, some patients assume that all dentists are the same and it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. But the personality of the office staff can have a big impact on how pleasant or unpleasant office visits are — especially for your children. So yes, it’s worth putting in a little time now to find a dentist you’ll be happy to visit for years to come.
Do you have any other tips on how to find a local dentist? Share how you found the dentist of your dreams in the comments.