Looking for a dentist can be a challenge.
You need a dentist who is conveniently located and whose schedule fits your own.
You want a dentist’s office with an atmosphere that is professional but also in which you feel comfortable, where dentists and staff show a good “chairside” manner.
And you’re hoping to find a dental practice where treating the pain in your mouth isn’t going to cause too much pain to your wallet.
Knowing what to look for in a dentist and how best to find one matters. “Your dental health is such a vital part of your overall health, so it’s important for every patient to have a dental home,” said Dr. Cathy Taylor-Osborne, an American Dental Association (ADA) dentist.
Here are some tips from Penn Dental Medicine (PDM) about how to look for a good dentist.
When you’re looking for a dentist to take care of your and your family’s mouths, take time to think about all the criteria that matter to you. Write your requirements down. You might even rank them in order of their importance to you.
We recommend, at minimum, you choose a dentist who’s located close enough to get to for routine checkups, cleanings, and screenings. There’s “no one-size-fits-all dental treatment,” says the ADA. But visiting your dentist at least once or twice a year makes it much easier to keep you in good oral health.
You’ll probably also want a dental office that can provide dental care beyond the routine when it’s needed. Would you like a practice that can handle orthodontics for your child, for instance—or for you? What about teeth whitening? Or dental implants? Think about the kinds of dental work you’re likely to want or need, and keep them in mind as you consider various dentists in your area.
And know your dental-care budget before you start your search. If you have dental coverage, find out what preventive care and other treatments it covers, and to what extent. Knowing how much you can pay for dental care, whether or not you have insurance, is important. You don’t want to find “the perfect dentist,” only to discover their costs are too high.
Now that you have your specific priorities organized, it’s time to begin your search.
Here are some simple ways to get started:
Once you have your list of potential dentists, schedule a “meet and greet” with them to see which ones would be a good fit for you.
You can meet prospective dentists on the phone, or schedule a consultation. Ask questions about the dental-care issues that matter to you. For example:
Also, consider the atmosphere of the office. Did you feel comfortable and welcomed? Did the dentist and staff take the time to answer all your questions and address all your concerns?
These issues aren’t trivial. There’s nothing more unpleasant than a tense relationship with the person who plays such a vital role in your health.
If you’re looking for a dentist in Philadelphia, be sure you include PDM on your list of possibilities.
A teaching clinic of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, PDM provides comprehensive dental care. We use the latest evidence-based practices, the highest quality materials, and proven patient-focused techniques.
Our student dentists are in their final years of training. They work under the close supervision of some of the top-rated dentists in their fields, many of whom are also faculty members at the School of Dental Medicine.
And as a teaching clinic, PDM offers both general dentistry and the full range of dental services at an affordable cost. On average, our costs are 50%-70% lower than those of private practices.
Consider PDM as you look for a high-quality, low-cost dentist in Philadelphia. Currently, first-time patients can receive a $25 discount.