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Top 5 Questions to Ask in Your Search for a New Dentist – Part 1

In Dental Care on September 15, 2011 at 4:30 AM

According to, dental patients in the United Kingdom are most in the dark about dental implants and crown & bridges, when it comes to dentistry.

That’s across the pond…how about here in the States?

A now not so recent story out of North Carolina and a very recent conversation with a neighbor, inspired some editing and republishing of this inquisitive social dental blog post.

Seems there was a dental interloper out there in NC, practicing dentistry without an actual license. top 5 questions to ask in your search for a new dentist

This kind of thing actually streams across the dental big board more than you’d think, and it again promoted the soul-searching social dentistry question, how can we be sure our newly chosen dentist is legit?

When we go looking for a new dentist, most often we turn to family and friends for a trusted personal referral.

When those opportunities aren’t available we usually take to the Internet for a quick search of dental practices in our immediate area.

That’s when the fun begins.

It seems like we go on a never-ending quest, reading online patient reviews, researching any potential warning signs, and matching our insurance providers, all to find a personable and professional dentist to trust with our family oral health needs.

With almost every dental practice having an Internet presence these days, how can we be sure our chosen dentist best fits our location, dental health care needs, and personalities?

Social Dental Network has amassed the Top 5 questions we should ask our prospective new dentist, please feel free to add your own questions – and be sure to let us know so we can update the list.

How long has the practice been at this location, and how long has the dentist been in practice?

OK, that’s two questions in one but nobody pays attention to ‘Top 6’ lists.

If our prospective new dentist is not in a convenient location, to either work or home, we’ll most likely choose a dentist that is.

Convenience never goes out of style, and there are plenty of excuses out there to skip our dental appointments altogether. But, we need to be realistic when choosing a new dentist, and experience often tops our list of prerequisites when choosing a new family dentist.

We all want a dentist that is both an experienced upstanding member of the local community, and at the cutting edge of health care technology.

A good chair-side manner doesn’t hurt either.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the new dental practice down the street with the wet-behind-the-ears tooth jockey, complete with all the techno tools of today, isn’t a good choice.

Just consider experience and location in your quest for a new dentist.

By simply asking the questions you may learn a lot more about the practice, and that could make the difference in your decision.

Also – a trusted staff that has been with the practice for some time is generally more preferable than a transient, high turnover practice.

If the staff can’t manage to stay at the practice long, how do you think you’ll fare?

Is there any particular practice area of expertise outside of general dentistry?

Sure, a 2 hour drive for a 30 minute check-up seems crazy, but what if nobody in your area offers clear braces, or I.V. sedation, or possesses the technical and practical knowledge necessary to fit you with a brand new set of dental implants?

Location matters, but sometimes we’ll go to the ends of the Earth to get what we want, especially if we’re talking a specialized area of dentistry.

For dental procedures such as sedation, cosmetics, dental implants, and oral surgery for instance, dental patients have been known to travel hours or even out-of-state to see a trusted dental professional for such procedures.

Maybe we wouldn’t want to travel 2 hours for a check-up, but we may consider the journey for a complete smile makeover.

Ask the dentist, or the scheduling coordinator, if there are any specialized areas of focus within the practice.

Do they offer any traditional orthodontics, how about clear braces?

What types of pain management does the practice offer?

How many (veneers, sedation, extractions…etc.) cases has the doctor performed in the past year?

You got us, more questions – but really, who’s counting…never mind reading at this point?

Tune in next week for Part Two of the Top 5 Questions to Ask in Your Search for a New Dentist.