Finding A Dentist In A New Town

Moving is exciting, but it also brings with it a number of challenges. Not only do you need to find new schools for your children, move everything into your new home, and get used to your new neighborhood, but you also need to find new healthcare professionals. Finding a new dentist can be especially daunting, but here are a few tips that can help.

1. Ask your current dentist for recommendations.

You might assume your current dentist won't know a thing about the dental scene in your new town -- and you might be right. But it's still worthwhile to ask, just in case. Perhaps your dentist has some pals from dental school that he or she thinks highly of and who are practicing in your new town. Or maybe your dentist has met other dentists from your new town at conferences or other professional events. The worst they can say is "I don't know anyone," so it's worth a shot. If you can manage to get in with a dentist your current dentist knows personally, that will make it even easier for your new and "old" dentists to chat and collaborate on your care.

2. Call your insurance provider.

If you have dental insurance, call the company as soon as you know you will be moving. Ask them to recommend a dentist in your new town so you can call and make a checkup appointment well in advance. Dentists who accept the more popular insurance plans often have long waiting lists, so being proactive ensures you'll be able to get in.

3. Contact a dental school in the area.

This approach is a good one to take if you have specific needs that require the care of a dental specialist. For example, if you have a history of TMJ pain that has been managed by a dentist, you will want to see someone who has experience in this realm. If you call a dental school near your new town, they will have a good idea of who is practicing in which specialties and can recommend someone to suit your unique needs.

4. Visit in person.

Another option is just to wander into a few dental offices for visits while you're in town. Perhaps you could spend a few hours doing this when you visit to make plans for your new apartment or home. When you're in the office, pay attention to the atmosphere and how the receptionists treat you. If you feel comfortable and welcomed, and if the dentist is accepting new patients, that may be the right place for you. Some people prefer a calmer, cozier dental office while others prefer a more clinical, modern feel, so this is largely a matter of personal preference. 

5. Read reviews intelligently.

Of course, the easiest way to find dentists in your new town is to look for them online. In doing so, checking out reviews is a good way to get an idea of who's the best. Just make sure you read reviews intelligently and take them with a grain of salt. For example, if someone rates a dental office 1 star because it took them 3 hours to get a crown, this is not legitimate. (Good work takes time; their expectations were unrealistic.) A few bad reviews are to be expected and should not necessarily scare you away from seeing a certain dentist; a huge abundance of bad reviews should. 

With the tips above in your back pocket, you'll find a new dentist in no time. Just remember -- if the first place you go does not feel like a great fit, it is okay to try somewhere else.