How to find a new dentist

How to Find a New Dentist

November 13, 2017

Our bodies are complex systems. Problems in one area often impact problems in other areas. Gum disease, for example, has been linked to many systemic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. 

A dentist is an important part of your healthcare team. Regular dental check-ups help prevent gum disease and treat problems before they become painful and expensive. 

We know finding a dentist can be overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start or what to look for in a new dentist. We’re here to help.

Here are 5 tips for finding a new dentist:

Understand your oral health needs
Everyone’s smile is unique. It’s true. Your teeth, tongue-print and lips are unlike anyone else’s in the entire world. Even identical twins have different smiles. 

If you’re looking for a new dentist, take some time to think about your oral and overall health needs. For example, if you have diabetes, it may be in your best interest to visit a dentist who specializes in caring for patients with diabetes. Likewise, if you’re pregnant, you may want to see a dentist who has experience treating pregnant women. Finding a healthcare provider is kind of like dating. It’s best to understand what you’re looking for before you dive in.  

Know your plan’s dental network
This is extremely important. Network dentists agree to provide services at discounted rates and file all claims paperwork for you. You get the most from you dental benefits when you see an in-network dentist. If you visit a dentist who isn’t in your plan’s network, you may be balance-billed for any charges above what your plan allows for services. That’s why we encourage everyone to search for a dentist that participates in their plan’s network.

Review the dentist’s education, experience and specialty
All dentists receive rigorous academic training. We recommend you compare a dentist’s education, experience and specialty to your smile’s unique needs. You should also consider your own comfort level. For example, some patients prefer visiting dentists who have 20+ years of experience while others prefer to visit new dental school graduates. It all comes down to your personal preference.

Consider the office’s amenities
Most dentists offer amenities that help make your visits more comfortable and enjoyable. Again, you should consider your unique needs. Do you need an office that’s wheelchair accessible? What about one with parking? Knowing what you need and what the office provides will ensure each visit is a great one.

Read patient reviews or feedback
Learning what other patients think helps provide insight into the dentist’s personality and care. Use our Find a Dentist tool to review and filter your search results by patient endorsements. Only patients who’ve actually seen the dentist can leave endorsements so you know they’re the real deal. 

Ready to start your new dentist search? Use our Find a Dentist tool to search by Delta Dental network, location, and specialty. Click on a dentist to review their education, experience, office amenities and patient endorsements. 

Once you find an in-network dentist that meets your smile’s needs, schedule your first appointment. There’s only so much you can learn through online tools. Meeting the dentist in person is the best way to make sure you’re compatible. 

After your appointment, sign in to your MySmile® account and endorse your new dentist!

This post updated November 2017.