Choosing the Right Dentist for Your Needs

When it comes to choosing the right dentist, it’s important to find someone who can not only provide the best technical care but also someone with whom you feel comfortable. Whether you’re looking for a new dentist because you’ve moved, your old dentist has retired, or you just feel it’s time for a change, these practical tips can guide you in selecting a dentist that fits your needs.

1. Identify Your Dental Health Needs

First, understand what type of dental services you need. Are you looking for general dental maintenance, or do you have specific dental issues like needing orthodontic treatment or cosmetic procedures? Knowing whether you need a general dentist or a specialist will narrow down your search.

2. Check Credentials and Experience

Research the dentist’s qualifications. Dentists must have a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree from an accredited dental school. Additionally, check if they are members of professional associations like the American Dental Association (ADA) or local dental societies, which often require members to adhere to certain professional standards.

3. Consider Logistics

Look for a dentist whose office is convenient in terms of location and office hours. Consider proximity to your home, workplace, or your child’s school. Also, look for practices that offer flexible scheduling options that fit your busy lifestyle.

4. Assess the Office Environment

When you visit the dental office, pay attention to cleanliness, the organization of the space, and the use of current technology. A modern and clean environment can be a good indicator of the quality of care you will receive.

5. Ask About Emergency Care

It’s crucial to understand how the practice handles emergencies outside of regular office hours. Some dentists offer special services for urgent dental needs, which can be a lifesaver in the case of an unexpected dental problem.

6. Read Reviews and Get Referrals

Word of mouth is a powerful tool in choosing a dentist. Ask friends, family, or colleagues for recommendations. Additionally, online reviews can provide insights into other patients’ experiences with the dentist and their staff.

7. Meet for a Consultation

Before making your final decision, schedule a consultation to meet the dentist and the team. This visit is not just about assessing the practice’s environment, but also about seeing if you feel comfortable with the dentist’s communication style and manner.

8. Evaluate Communication Style

Choose a dentist who is a good communicator and is willing to explain dental issues and treatments in understandable terms. A good dentist should be approachable and open to discussing your concerns and preferences.

9. Understand the Cost and Insurance Compatibility

Dental treatments can be expensive, so it’s important to understand what is covered by your insurance and what your out-of-pocket expenses might be. A reliable dental office should be able to provide clear information about costs and help with insurance claims.

10. Trust Your Instincts

Finally, trust your instincts when choosing a dentist. If you feel comfortable and confident in the dentist’s ability to care for your dental health, it’s likely a good fit. Comfort and trust are paramount in any healthcare relationship.


By following these tips, you can find a dentist who not only meets your dental needs but also makes your visits as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Remember, choosing the right dentist is a decision that significantly affects your overall health, so take your time to choose wisely.

Dr. Snehlata Kulhari

Dr. Snehlata Kulhari completed her Bachelors of Dental Surgery (BDS) at Government Dental College in Punjab, India and her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine in Boston. She has been practicing dentistry since 2011 and has founded Smile Mantra Family Dentistry to provide dental care and education to the community of Cary, NC. Dr. Kulhari stays up to date on the latest dental research and advancements in order to offer her patients exceptional dental care. 


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