6 Questions to Ask When You're Looking for a New Dentist

Whether you’ve moved to a new locale or your long-time dentist just retired, finding a new dentist can be a daunting prospect.

Dentists play an up-close-and-personal role in your health, so it’s important to find a practitioner with whom you’re comfortable. And because the dental field is constantly evolving, you’ll want to identify a dentist who stays up to date with the latest advancements.

This is why it’s essential to do your research before committing to a new dentist. Don’t plop down in the chair without asking these six questions.

What is the dentist’s background?

This is easily the most important question on the list, because it directly relates to the quality of care you will receive. Take the time to learn about where the dentist was educated, how long they’ve been in practice (both at their current location and in general), whether they hold any professional certifications, whether they engage in continuing education, whether they have areas of expertise beyond general dentistry, what types of technology they use, and so on. Again, don’t be shy about asking questions—the right dental office will be more than happy to provide this information.

At Rifkin Dental, each of our dentists practices a strong commitment to ongoing education. Combined, Dr. Richard Rifkin, Dr. James Martyniak, and Dr. Allison Rifkin have devoted thousands of hours to expanding their knowledge of dentistry. The resolve to stay at the forefront of our field has been baked into our practice’s culture from day one, and it shows in the quality of care we provide our patients.

Does the dentist take your insurance?

Unless you’re willing and able to pay for dental care out-of-pocket, it’s critical to confirm that the dentist in question accepts your dental insurance. While you’re at it, ask them about their payment structure and policies. That way, if you do choose to seek care with said dentist, you won’t be surprised by the billing procedure.

Can the dentist accommodate your personal needs?

Not at all dentists are created equal—and neither are all patients. If you have children, dental anxiety, an interest in cosmetic procedures, or specific health issues that may impact your dental care (such as diabetes or HIV), it’s important to find a dentist who can accommodate these needs. Don’t hesitate to ask direct question in order to ensure they’re the right fit for you.

At Rifkin Dental, we believe in treating our patients as people, not numbers. We’re committed to getting to know our patients on a personal level so we can understand and accommodate their unique health needs.

Does the dentist receive positive recommendations?

Ask around among your friends, family members, coworkers, and acquaintances to see if anyone has worked with the dentist before and what kind of feedback they have to offer. You can also consult online reviews, and you could even ask the dentist themselves if they have any patient testimonials on hand. (For example, at Rifkin Dental we devote an entire section of our website to patient reviews.) Pay attention to what people have to say both about routine dental care and more advanced procedures to ensure the office is providing top-notch care across the board. It’s also a good idea to double-check with your state licensing board to make sure the dentist is in good standing.

What is the quality of their customer service?

This is important because it determines the quality of the communication you’ll receive about your care. Call or stop by the office to determine whether the staff is welcoming, helpful, and willing to answer your questions in a clear and respectful way. This is also another area where testimonials can be helpful in determining whether or not the staff are easy to work with.

At Rifkin Dental, we take pride in our customer service. Our professional and caring staff routinely go above and beyond patients’ expectations in providing quality service online, in person, and over the phone.

Are the dentist’s location and hours convenient for your schedule?

You can find the best dentist in the world, but it won’t mean anything if you’re unable to maintain your appointments. It’s a good idea to confirm that you’ll be able to access the office fairly easily and that you can schedule appointments at times that will work with your schedule. (At Rifkin Dental, we offer two locations to provide the greatest possible convenience to our patients.) While you’re at it, research the dentist’s policies for scheduling appointments, handling missed appointments, and providing emergency care.

If you’ve asked all these questions and everything is checking out, it’s time to do a test run. Ask to visit the office for a consultation, and while you’re there, pay close attention to the quality of the care you receive, whether you feel comfortable asking questions, and whether the dentist clearly addresses your questions or concerns. If you’re feeling positive after doing your research and meeting the dentist in-person, that’s a good sign you’ve found a great fit.