Finding the right dentist may be just as important as choosing a new neighborhood to live in or finding a new school. To find the right dentist for you, the WDA suggests getting recommendations from people you know, such as friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, or even your previous dentist.
You also can use the Find a WDA Dentist link in the upper left corner, which can direct you to dentists in your area by city, zip code and/or specialty.
If you are a subscriber of an HMO, PPO, network or capitation plan, you may be limited in the choice of dentists in any given area. Regardless, you should still take the following issues into consideration when choosing a dentist:
- How available is the dentist? Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
- Is the office easy to get to from home or work?
- What is the general appearance of the office, the dentist and the staff? Is everything clean, neat and orderly?
- The dentist and/or dental staff should be willing to discuss fees and/or financial arrangements in advance of any dental treatment.
- What arrangement does the dentist have for handling emergencies that occur outside of office hours? Is it possible to contact the dentist? Or perhaps the dentist has an answering service or paging service. Many dentists arrange for a colleague or a referral source to aid their patients when they themselves are unavailable.
- Does the office provide dental health instruction and education? You will want to choose a dentist who is skilled both in the treatment and prevention of dental disorders.
- Does the dentist seem genuinely interested in your health? Your medical and dental history should be recorded and placed in a permanent file to assist in the evaluation of your future dental health needs.
You may want to call or visit more than one dentist before making your decision. Dental care is a very personalized service that requires a good relationship between the dentist and the patient. A good relationship is necessary because regular dental visits are essential to maintaining good oral health and avoiding dental problems that can be both uncomfortable and costly.