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Dear Dr. Hall,
I was wondering if you could tell me what is the best way to find the right dentist. I find it to be hard because every dentist requires taking x-rays and by the time you find the right one a person could end up with lots of x-rays done. Is there way around this?
Thank you for your time
Grace from California
I have a couple of suggestions for you, to check out a new dentist without getting more x-rays.
The first—check reviews.
There is a lot of information available online about dental practices, especially online reviews. If you go to Google Maps and search for the dentist, you can find his or her Google reviews. Yelp is another good reviews source. Facebook is a third.
The second—ask for a complimentary visit.
Most dental offices will let you have a complimentary visit if you ask for one. Just tell them you are trying to decide whether to pick this person as your new dentist and you want to come in, get an office tour, and meet people. Many offices will even let you sit down with the dentist for a few minutes and ask questions. But if not, they will at least let you come in and talk to some people on the staff and shake hands with the dentist. A few offices may not want to accommodate you in that way, but you probably wouldn’t want to pick them anyway. Visiting the office will give you a good feel for what the practice is like and whether or not you feel comfortable there.
I hope these tips are helpful.
Of course, if I’m wanting to find a cosmetic dentist near me, that’s what this website is for. I would just click the link, enter my city or zip code, and a list of dentists will display. But you seem to be asking for finding a general family dentist.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.
Hi Dr. Hall,
Would this also work for finding the right cosmetic dentist? What are some things I need to look for?
Response by Dr. Hall:
In looking for a cosmetic dentist, it’s also helpful to check the reviews. Those are always helpful. An office visit may not be as helpful, though it will let you know if you feel comfortable. But what I look for when I recommend dentists on this website is the smile gallery. Do the smiles look natural? You’re going to have a hard time evaluating their technical excellence—for that you’ll want to rely on this website. But you can see if they look natural and attractive.
Kay Smith says
Hi Dr. Hall,
I too have the same question and appreciate these suggestions! Wondering, do you think it is ok to ask the dental office for a copy of the xrays or would other offices want to create their own images?
Response by Dr. Hall
A dental office is obligated to forward copies of your x-rays to another office if you switch dentists. They don’t have to give YOU the copy, though many will. But their code of ethics obligates them to forward copies to the new office. And these days, with digital x-rays, that’s as simple as sending an email.
If you start with a dentist and don’t like them, can you just transfer your x-rays to try another dentist? This way you don’t have to get them over and over at each office.
Response by Dr. Hall,
Yes, you can have the x-rays sent to your new dentist. The dentist is obligated by his or her code of ethics to forward those x-rays to your new dentist.
Thanks for the information. I just realized my current dentist has terrible reviews.
I have had an old dentist send x-rays to a new dentist. But, I didn’t really know you could ask for a complimentary visit. Great tip! I would love to get a feel for the office and staff before committing to an appointment.