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What to consider when searching for a new dentist

Finding the perfect dentist can be as exhausting as finding a parking spot at the mall during the holidays.

With thousands of practicing dentists all over the country — each having their own specialization, bedside manner, office hours, and location — can you really narrow down the search to find the right one? Actually, you can! But, before you start searching for nearby dentists, follow the below guidelines. It will help ease the search and point you in the right direction.

Essential criteria

Before you begin searching for a dentist, it’s a good idea to establish important criteria. The following are a few questions you might want to ask yourself:

  • Is a nearby location to either your work or home important?
  • Do the office hours work with your schedule?
  • What core characteristics do you want in your dentist?
  • Does your insurance plan have any restrictions or stipulations?

By making sure that your essentials are met right off the bat, finding the perfect dentist will be easy.


Talk to family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers about their dentists. Ask them what they like and don’t like about their dentists and the practices. Also, ask for unfiltered answers. Your dentist will be playing a crucial role in your overall health and getting a false-positive recommendation just won’t do.

Another great resource to find a nearby dentist is by using the Find a Dentist search on Here, you can do a quick search by entering in your city, state, zip code, and plan, or opt for the advanced search which features more fields, such as dentist specialty, language spoken, and extended hours.

Background check

Thoroughly looking through the dentist’s website is encouraged, but you should also call the office and speak to the staff as well. This research, or background check, is to give insight into the dentist’s professional background and how well you’ll be treated as a patient.

Be sure to ask the right questions, such as the following:

  • What are the dentist’s credentials?
  • What should I expect in the first exam?
  • What are the procedures on patient emergencies that occur after hours?

This conversation is your gateway into seeing if this dentist and practice is the right fit. In addition to the thoroughness of the answers, it’s also a good idea to gauge tonality and the disposition of the staff member you’re speaking with.


You’ve collected all the above information and have your dentist choice narrowed down. Now what? It’s time to set up consultation appointments. These one-on-one sessions with the dentist are your time to get an accurate feel for their bedside manner and character.

Are they a member of organized dentistry, such as the American Dental Association? How do they further educate themselves and their staff? What oral procedures are done in-house and out-of-house? How long in advance do routine check-ups need to be scheduled? At the end of the day, it all comes down to you and your needs. And, with a little bit of research and patience, we know that you’ll find the perfect one.

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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.
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