Looking for the provider who can be your family dentist for years to come can be an intimidating prospect. But if you’ve just moved or switched insurance companies, it may be a necessary process. So how can you go about finding the right dentist office for you? Here are the three easiest ways:
- Use Your Insurance’s Dentist Finder
This should be fairly obvious to people who have insurance, but one of the easiest ways to find an affordable dentist in your network is to go through the online dentist finders most insurance companies run. Most allow you to put in any zip code you want to get started, so you can find a dentist near your home or work — or even somewhere else, if something comes up when you’re on a trip. Keep in mind that some preferred providers may offer better rates than dentists who will take your insurance, but only on an “out of network” basis.
- Browse Online Reviews — Carefully
Some people are uncomfortable with people reviewing medical services like food or entertainment, but the bottom line is that online dentist reviews are becoming more and more popular. These can be a valuable resource, but it’s important to keep in mind when browsing dentist ratings that some things will probably be applicable to all or most patients, while others won’t. A review praising a dentist for being timely, courteous or good with children is more universally applicable, for example, than a review based on price of services (which will vary depending your needs and insurance coverage). Online reviews are also a great tool for choosing among dentists that you know work equally well with your insurance. Remember when comparing that people are more likely to go out of their way to write negative reviews than positive ones.
- Ask Friends for Recommendations
This tip comes last not because personal recommendations aren’t valuable — in fact, they’re probably the most trustworthy type of referral — but because you may run into insurance problems if you just try to use the same dentists as your friends or neighbors. But if you’re close to people at work (who presumably have the same dental plan) or don’t have insurance at all, then asking people you trust can be a great way to find a family dentist.
How else can you choose a great dentist? Share your advice in the comments.