How to Find a Good Dentist: Tips & Considerations

Dental Health
By:Spirit Dental
May 26, 2015

Updated March 2022

Knowing how to choose a dentist that will be right for you and your family is important. After all, if you don’t like your dentist or don’t feel comfortable around them, you might end up avoiding checkups, cleanings, and treatments. 

Whether you moved to a new place or you aren’t satisfied with the dentist you’ve been using, if you want some tips on how to pick a dentist, check out the short guide below.   

Does it matter which dentist you go to? 

Yes! Think about it: once you find a dentist who delivers the highest quality care, you won’t need to worry about where to go for all of your oral health needs. 

How do you find a good dentist? 

Not sure where to begin? Here are some steps you can follow:

1. Ask for referrals from people you know 

You go to your friends and family for advice, right? Then why not ask them about the dentists they use? You might be able to get more than one recommendation, and you can do some research into each of your options.  

In addition to family and friends, consider asking other people you trust, such as neighbors and coworkers. Or, you could consult a medical professional, such as your doctor, as they may be able to steer you in the right direction when it comes to your oral health care. 

If you need to change your dentist because you’re moving or switching insurance plans, you could even ask your current dentist for a list of professionals they recommend.  

2. Look up information about dentists in your area

Searching for information about a dentist is another way to figure out if they’d be the optimal choice. Even if you get a referral, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at what a dentist has to offer to be sure they suit your preferences.

An online search for dentists in your area can make it easy to compare them and see which ones match your needs. You can read a dentist’s website to learn about them and how their office works, including if they use the latest equipment or are trained in specialized areas like gum disease or root canals. Plus, you can look up reviews left by other patients. 

3. Ask your dental insurance provider for guidance

If you have dental insurance, ask them to help you find a dentist. This can ensure you’ll receive the most benefits possible from your plan. Whether you want to stick with dentists who are in-network or you’re fine with going to an out-of-network professional, your insurer can be a valuable source of information.  

What if you’ve already found some dentists that you’re considering using? Just contact them to ask if they accept your insurance before booking an appointment.  

4. Search dental associations

Prefer going to a dentist who is part of the American Dental Association? You can go to the ADA’s website to perform a search for providers in your area.

In addition to the ADA, there are other organizations and associations you can browse, depending on your needs. Examples include the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), and the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). 

5. Book a consultation

Once you have a list of dentists that you’re interested in using, see if they’d be willing to give you a consultation. This appointment can give you direct experience of what their office is like and how helpful their staff is. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions, share concerns and expectations, and see how the dentist interacts with you as a patient.  


How do you know if a dentist is good? Things to consider  

When choosing a dentist, looking for certain qualities can help you narrow down your options when you aren’t sure which direction to take. Here are some of the things to keep in mind:

Education, experience, and reputation

Comparing dentists who offer similar services may be a challenge, but if you hone in on what they’ve accomplished and what their reputation is, you might start to notice some differences. 

Consider checking details like where a dental professional went to school, if they’re properly licensed and certified, how long they’ve been in business, and whether or not they’ve been involved in any lawsuits. 

Services offered, including during emergencies

Asking about the services that a dentist provides is a smart move. That way, you’ll know what they can and can’t help you with. Are they going to be able to give you everything you need or will another dentist or specialist be required for certain types of care? 

Another thing to consider is a dentist’s hours of operation. Are their hours convenient? And if there’s a dental emergency, will they be available and willing to help? 

The dentist’s staff

In addition to the dentist, you’ll interact directly with the staff, such as the individuals who set appointments and take care of billing, and the dental hygienists and assistants who support the dentist in providing care. You’ll certainly want them to be professional, trustworthy, and easy to work with as well.   

Spirit Dental can help you find a dentist 

Even though it might be a bit daunting at first, once you get the hang of things and have a strategy to follow, you’ll more easily find a qualified dentist who’s patient, respectful, and makes you feel totally at ease.   

Now that you know more about how to find a dentist, you can start your search by using our dentist finder tool, which can help you locate a professional who’s in-network and will allow you to get the most savings from your Spirit Dental insurance plan




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