The Spirit Dental Blog | Stay In The Know

It’s YOUR Smile! 5 Steps to Never Skip when Looking for A New Dentist

Maybe you’re new in town. Maybe someone in your family is experiencing new issues with their dental health and you’re wondering if your current dentist is up to the challenge. Whatever your reasons for seeking out a new dentist, now is NOT the time to rush into a new relationship. A great dentist should be a long-term partner in your overall health, comfort and appearance. Finding the dentist that best for you can be a daunting task. But don’t worry. We’ve taken the guesswork out of the process.

Simply follow these important steps and make the choice that’s right for you and your family.

1. Ask Your Friends: Get Recommendations

Ask the people you trust the following four questions:

  • Who is their Dentist?
  • Would they strongly recommend them?
  • What kinds of work have they had done?
  • Anything they don’t like about their dentist?

2. Research Online: Learn the Basic Facts about the Dentists on Your List:

  • How many years has the dentist been practicing?
  • How do they stay abreast of the newest developments in dental health and treatment? Are they affiliated with a teaching institution?
  • Don’t bother calling an 800 number. The dentists “recommended” by those services have paid to be listed there. You won’t be getting an objective referral.

3. Call the Dentist’s Office. Ask these questions:

  • Do not be afraid to talk about money. Do they take your insurance? What do they charge for basic and major procedures?
  • Do they refer to a team of local specialists? If so, get names and research those specialists, too. If not, strongly consider passing on this dentist. You want a dentist who isn’t trying to be the best at everything.
  • Who does the cleaning? You’re looking for a dentist who has invested in highly trained professional hygienists, not a dentist who does the cleaning him or herself.
  • Do their location and office hours fit your busy schedule?

4. If Steps 1-4 Check Out, Make an Initial Consultation

Your best friend’s dentist might be perfect for them but the only way to know if they’re right for you is to visit them in their office and ask the right questions.

  • Was it easy to make that appointment?
  • Was the receptionist friendly and professional?
  • Is the office clean and welcoming?
  • Treat the consultation like an interview, asking the dentist the following questions:
    • How much experience do they have treating any of your or your family member’s special conditions?
    • Ask to see before and after pictures of patients treated for those conditions.
    • Do you feel comfortable with this dentist’s recommended course of action for your teeth?
    • Finally, trust your gut reaction. Do you feel at ease with this dentist? Are they someone in whom you’re willing to invest your trust?

5. Talk to your Insurance Company: Be sure you understand what your – and who – your insurance plan covers.

  • Are you required to choose a dentist in their network? Unfortunately, many insurance plans cover only their networks of dentists. If your preferred dentist is in that network, great! But if they’re not, it may be time to start looking for an insurance carrier who lets you go to the dentist you want.
  • Will treatments and services be fully covered -- or will you be expected to pay the difference yourself? If you have an indemnity plan, review your dentist’s fees with your insurance company and be sure you know what is covered 100%.
  • Are you fully covered right now? Or are you in a waiting period for certain procedures? Most dental insurance plans require waiting periods for major procedures.
  • What are the annual maximums? Today, many insurance companies have annual maximums as low as $1,000. Often, families feel forced to delay much-needed treatments simply because they reach their annual maximum before year-end and cannot afford to pay out of pocket.

If your current dental insurance doesn’t cover the dentist you believe is best for you and your family, maybe it’s time to find better dental insurance. At Spirit Dental, you can find the affordable dental insurance that fits your needs. We have $3,500 annual maximums, next day coverage, and no waiting periods – even for major work! Even better, you can go to the dentist you choose. Click here to get a free 15-second quote and find out how easy and cost effective it can be to get YOUR preferred dentist covered, effective immediately.

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