Important Questions to Ask Your Dentist

Important Questions to Ask Your Dentist

Be sure to find the answers to these questions when selecting or meeting a new dentist.


By: Lexi Walters Wright

Everyone in your family deserves to have a healthy smile. And it is possible to find a dentist that fits your whole family’s oral health needs. When choosing a dentist, consider using these resources:

  • Ask your general practitioner or pharmacist for a recommendation
  • Consult professional organizations (like the Academy of General Dentistry or the American Dental Association) or contact a local or state dental society
  • Use recommendations from friends, colleagues, and family (Ask why they like their dentist and/or the hygienists or office)
  • Check your insurance carrier’s practitioner’s list

Selecting a Family Dentist: Questions to Ask
Creating a comfortable relationship with your dentist can encourage the whole family to take good care of their teeth.

Consider these questions when choosing a dentist:

  • Access: Where is the office located? How close is it to work, school or home? What are the hours? If there’s an after-hours emergency, what should you do?
  • Procedures: What can be completed in-office? What procedures will be referred out? Does the dentist have any specialties (pediatrics, orthodontics, etc.)?
  • Comfort: What anesthesia is offered in the office? If you, your child or other family members have any dental fears, how does the staff respond? How does the office tailor services to children?
  • Education: Where did the dentist go school? Where were they trained? To which professional organizations does she belong? What conferences does she attend? How does the staff stay current on new dental procedures?
  • Fees: What are the fees for checkups, X-rays, fillings, etc.? When and how must you pay? Are there payment plans? Is your insurance accepted?
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The First Appointment: Questions to Ask
When you or one of your children visit the dentist for the first time, consider asking the following questions.

For adults:

  • Appearance: Do my teeth look healthy? What about my mouth overall?
  • Care: How should I care for my teeth and gums? What foods can I eat to improve my dental health?
  • Treatments and procedures: Which are absolutely necessary, optional, and/or cosmetic? Are ones more or less urgent than others?
  • Oral health: Is there anything I should tell my family doctor about?

For kids:

  • Brushing: How can I keep my child’s teeth clean? How should she brush?
  • Prevention: What foods should my child eat? Which should she avoid? How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay? Should she get sealants to prevent cavities? What about fluoride?
  • Oral health: How are the teeth and jaws developing? When would you refer my child to an orthodontist?

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