Dental Services

How to Choose a New Dentist

Is the dentist interested in whole body health?

The right dentist is concerned not just with the teeth themselves, but the connection of oral health to the rest of the body. Your dentist should be asking you about your health history and educating you about how your oral health impacts the health throughout your body.
If the dentist has an attitude of, “there’s a hole in the tooth, let’s fill the hole”– then that’s not a modern dentist and you can do better. Problems in the mouth can increase your chances of heart disease, diabetes, and dementia to name just a few, and the right dentist is thinking about the health of the mouth in connection with the health of the rest of the body as well as how to square your life curve.
If he knows someone at your new destination, ask your current dentist. Many times she will know someone that they went to school with or know of someone that is an excellent dentist. Ask for as many names your dentist can provide.
If he is a member of a professional organization, ask your dentist.
I’m a member of a study club that meets every month to perform clinical work with a mentor present. This study club has members from all over the world that are all held to the same standard, which means I can simply open my membership booklet and refer my patient to another dentist in any part of the world with complete confidence.
Dentists in these study clubs work to refine their hands-on clinical skills beyond what they learned in school. This should be differentiated from continuing education courses that are lecture-based and don’t involve hands-on skill refinement.

If you have an out of network option, ask your insurance company.

You may have a list of dentists that your insurance company requires you to see. If there is an out of network option as you will be severely limited to a certain type of dentist if picking only from that list, ask your insurance company immediately.

Ask for a recommendation from friends, family, or work mates.

Only take the recommendation if they’ve had work other than cleanings done, like a crown or bridge. You might wind up with a good hygienist who’s practicing with an incompetent dentist which is a likely scenario.

Google the dentist.

Don’t let your fingers do the walking (stay away from the yellow pages), rather, put them to work on the internet.
Your peers on the web will have something to say. Not all reviews are created equal.
Look at reviews that personally relate a story. The boiler plate type of review that refers to all aspects of the practice and doesn’t get into details about procedures should be considered suspect.
Ask to interview the dentist and staff.  The reaction alone to this request will be telling.

Call the US Consulate

If you are moving out of the country (or even going on vacation), check in right away with the nearest US consulate and ask who the consular general and his family see. Chances are he’s a US trained dentist.
When in a foreign country, don’t wait until you have an emergency as you will be at the mercy of a greater range of dentists.

The next step: Go into the office.

After your first visit, ask yourself these questions and walk away if you don’t like the answers.
Was everything explained to me and was there justification for every procedure?
My rule is that we don’t proceed until the patient has and understands talked through all of the options.
Was the dentist wearing loupes (surgical telescopes)?  No dentist should be practicing without them.
It has nothing to do with ailing eyesight, it’s the magnification factor that lets you see more than you could with 20/20 vision.  You cant treat it if you can’t see it!  If he uses 2.5 x or 4.4 x power on her loupes, ask your dentist in White Marsh. The higher the better! An LED spotlight on the forehead is even better.