There is no telling when and why anyone may need a dentist, irrespective of their age or previous dental history. This is especially true for people who have recently moved to a new location, or when they do not have a regular dental checkup routine. The good news is that there are plenty of ways these days to find a dentist for the first time, and they are much easier than you may imagine them to be.
Search Engine Snippets
Open any modern browser like Chrome, Opera or Edge and navigate to Bing.Com or Google.Com. Search with a phrase like “find a dentist near me,” or “dentist near me.” The same can be done from your smartphone’s, tablet’s and/or computer’s search engine widget just as easily. In fact, you can also type the keyword phrases into your browser’s address bar directly, as nearly all browsers have incorporated search engines now.
If it isn’t enabled already, the search engine will ask for permission to access your present location next. You will need to allow it for the snippets and SERPs to be of use to you. Once you allow the search engine access to your location, it will show small snippets of information about the closest dental clinics up top, followed by a long list of indexed web pages that should also have similar info about local dentists. In case the location tracking is inaccurate, add keywords which are more specific to the desired location, such as the name of your present locality or that of a nearby landmark.
American Dental Association’s Find-a-Dentist Tool
The American Dental Association (ADA) has a convenient little web app called Find-a-Dentist. The web tool can be accessed from anywhere in the United States, and you can use it to find an ADA-registered dentist near you. It will ask for the following information:
- Zip Code – Your location
- Distance – Available dentists only within the selected mile(s) will be shown in the search results
- Specialty – You can choose the type of dental specialist you need (orthodontics, periodontics, endodontist, etc.), but just choose General Practice if you are not sure
- Dentist’s Name – This is only relevant if you are specifically looking for a particular dentist
Enter the right information and hit search to find several dentists near you, provided that they are registered in the ADA’s database.
Check their Reputation Online
There is a lot the internet can tell us about any professional’s reputation, even before you decide to book your first appointment with them. Once you have shortlisted a few dentists near you, see what former patients are saying about them in their reviews, what fields the professionals specialize in and how long they have been working as dentists. However, online searches should not be the only steps in your selection process.
The First Visit
It isn’t uncommon for patients to forget that they are not the ones who should be trying to make an impression on their dentist. It should be the other way around and it’s important to be perceptive as a patient, since it’s your oral health that they will be taking care of. Don’t sign a long-term contract with anyone right away, without being sure that it is really the right place for you and/or your family members. During the consultation visit, note:
- If the dentist and his/her staff display professionalism, politeness and empathy
- Whether the clinic is adequately staffed and equipped with the right equipment to handle most dental procedures
- If they offer urgent services to their patients in case of dental emergencies outside of office hours
- How open the dentist is about the diagnosis, proposed treatment options and pricing
- If the clinic is familiar with and accepting of your present dental insurance/benefits plan (when applicable)
Hopefully now you know most of what anyone needs to know about finding a dentist near them and also for choosing the right one. Do not feel obligated to only visit one clinic and stick with them, unless you are satisfied with the services being provided to you. Dental treatment is not cheap, and you have the right to seek treatment elsewhere if you don’t find your current dentist to be adequate for your oral health needs, or that of your family members.