Advice on picking a dentist

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knightrider
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Advice on picking a dentist

Post by knightrider » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:57 am

I've moved to a new city and am confused how to find a dentist. I just want a basic cleaning. I do not want to fill out pages of medical forms and have bunch of xrays taken on this initial visit. Will dentists laugh at me when I request this? Alternately, I read that one should make a "consultation appointment". Do dentist do these?

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Pajamas
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by Pajamas » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:08 am

If you just want a cleaning and not a dentist, consider either using one of those introductory-price coupons that dentists use to get new patients or see if there is a school for dental hygienists near you.

You could also go to a dental school, but you would probably have to have two appointments, one just for assessment and planning, which is what you are trying to avoid.

I went to a school for dental hygienists once and got a very thorough cleaning and also some useful advice. The cleaning was $10-$20 and they even gave me a bag with toothbrush, paste, floss, etc.

renue74
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by renue74 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:15 am

Pajamas wrote:If you just want a cleaning and not a dentist, consider either using one of those introductory-price coupons that dentists use to get new patients or see if there is a school for dental hygienists near you.

You could also go to a dental school, but you would probably have to have two appointments, one just for assessment and planning, which is what you are trying to avoid.

I went to a school for dental hygienists once and got a very thorough cleaning and also some useful advice. The cleaning was $10-$20 and they even gave me a bag with toothbrush, paste, floss, etc.
There's a community college in town that does cleanings like this for their hygienist program. Expect the cleaning to take a little more time because of their skill level, but I've heard they are very thorough.

We found our dentist through referrals...talked to friends and coworkers.

LawyersGunsAndMoney
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by LawyersGunsAndMoney » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:52 am

Good referrals (vs referrals from ppl who don't really know what they're talking about) are usually the best.

I've also had success narrowing the field via my insurance company's website and then using ZocDoc to see what availability for appointments looks like among a handful of nearby dentists. I look for ones that have good ratings but not a lot of availability - which I assume is a proxy for having a lot of satisfied customers. I steer clear of doctors with bad ratings and tons of available timeslots, as well as ones with good (possibly fake) ratings/reviews and lots of availability.

Has worked for me thus far....

rjbraun
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by rjbraun » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:00 pm

LawyersGunsAndMoney wrote:Good referrals (vs referrals from ppl who don't really know what they're talking about) are usually the best.

I've also had success narrowing the field via my insurance company's website and then using ZocDoc to see what availability for appointments looks like among a handful of nearby dentists. I look for ones that have good ratings but not a lot of availability - which I assume is a proxy for having a lot of satisfied customers. I steer clear of doctors with bad ratings and tons of available timeslots, as well as ones with good (possibly fake) ratings/reviews and lots of availability.

Has worked for me thus far....
In my experience (admittedly, only one data point), I have found my doctor's online availability to reflect that of his PA (physician assistant), not his. Fortunately, I learned that before I actually went in for the appointment. But, my point is, whether the practice of showing PA availability is appropriate, the reality in this case was that abundant online availability was not indicative of the actual doctor's schedule. In that regard, he seems to have a full enough schedule, though not so ridiculous as to be impossible to see. That he is fairly young and is perhaps still building his practice may explain his availability while also seemingly quite popular with patients: virtually all of his hundreds of online reviews are very favorable.

Note: I realize the OP is about finding a dentist, but I think the experience I describe can be transferable to finding a good dentist.

4nwestsaylng
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:14 pm

rjbraun wrote:
In my experience (admittedly, only one data point), I have found my doctor's online availability to reflect that of his PA (physician assistant), not his. Fortunately, I learned that before I actually went in for the appointment. But, my point is, whether the practice of showing PA availability is appropriate, the reality in this case was that abundant online availability was not indicative of the actual doctor's schedule. In that regard, he seems to have a full enough schedule, though not so ridiculous as to be impossible to see. That he is fairly young and is perhaps still building his practice may explain his availability while also seemingly quite popular with patients: virtually all of his hundreds of online reviews are very favorable.

Note: I realize the OP is about finding a dentist, but I think the experience I describe can be transferable to finding a good dentist.
No it is not transferable to finding a good dentist. Assistants in a dental office are just that, they are "assistants". They may assist the dentist during a procedure, the licensed dental hygienists may do cleanings, etc., but the dentist has always done an evaluation either at that visit or recently.

Contrast this with today's medicine, where patients are lucky if they actually see the M.D.. Usually they are given appointments with a physician "assistant", or nurse practitioner. They decide if your problem merits a future appointment with the doctor.Many patients get accustomed to calling these assistants "Doc", and they rarely correct the patient. So we have "Doc Bill, or Doc Kathy", and they become the patients "doctor".

Not criticizing PAs or NPs, but just saying the medical system is different. In my experience, dentists do not have assistants see patients for a new patient visit; so a full appointment book for the dentist for new patients is generally believable. Not necessarily a quality indicator of course.

I would say don't go to dentists who do a lot of marketing, offer coupons or "free" initial checkups, etc. Word of mouth is the best but not always. You may have to try a couple of dentists to find the right one.

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JPH
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by JPH » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:38 pm

knightrider wrote:I've moved to a new city and am confused how to find a dentist. I just want a basic cleaning. I do not want to fill out pages of medical forms and have bunch of xrays taken on this initial visit. Will dentists laugh at me when I request this? Alternately, I read that one should make a "consultation appointment". Do dentist do these?
The dentist should not laugh, but the probably will think you are being penny wise but pound foolish to avoid a comprehensive exam on a first appointment. How are they supposed to treat you appropriately without information? Many dental problems occur between the teeth or below the gum line, and can only be diagnosed by x-rays. Medical history forms also are important. The dentist really needs to know if you are diabetic, a smoker, have a bleeding disorder, etc. Yes, you could schedule a visit just to meet the dentist and discuss your philosophy of care and expectations to see if there is a good fit. Someone recently suggested in another thread to ask a specialist in your neighborhood for a referral because the see the work of many general dentists on a regular basis. I second that suggestion.
While the moments do summersaults into eternity | Cling to their coattails and beg them to stay - Townes Van Zandt

cashmoney
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by cashmoney » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:43 pm

knightrider wrote:I've moved to a new city and am confused how to find a dentist. I just want a basic cleaning. I do not want to fill out pages of medical forms and have bunch of xrays taken on this initial visit. Will dentists laugh at me when I request this? Alternately, I read that one should make a "consultation appointment". Do dentist do these?



No dentist is going to give you a cleaning without first doing an oral evaluation and xrays however the dentist who aggressively advertise with discounts and any dentist who is a participating provider in an HMO prepaid dental plan are probably going to try to up sell you to an expensive deep cleaning and nickel dime you for everything else.I have had alot of dental work done through the years and been through many dentist before finally finding a good honest dentist..Seems like every time I tried to find a deal at a dentist office I was ripped off with sub-par care and not so nice dental offices.My current dentist is in an upscale location with great staff yet his prices are sometimes lower than what the discount dentist where charging me.

RudyS
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by RudyS » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:28 pm

What I have done whenever we moved to a new city, was ask my new co-workers for their experiences. Has worked for me and DW.

Kennyt7
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by Kennyt7 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:31 pm

if you are a pt with a dental hmo, the cheapest plan with the worst payments to dentists, you might be hit with lots of upgrades, surcharges, etc etc
they pay us like 6-7 bucks a month per pt to do most procedures
we make money when pts do not show up ever but most docs do not take this CRAP!
beware of your plan; if you can upgrade it might be worth the bucks

Swansea
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by Swansea » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:49 pm

Also check where the dentist was trained. A friend of mine hired many dentists and found that those coming from certain schools needed remedial training before they could see patients.

finite_difference
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by finite_difference » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:38 pm

Look for a fellow or master of the Academy of General Dentistry.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

InMyDreams
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by InMyDreams » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:49 pm

I asked my hair stylist. Think about it - they meet so many different people, from different walks of life. She found him from one of her clients - a dental assistant, not at the DDS' office, but rather at an endodontist. The dental assistant thought that the DDS' patients had good care.

Vanguard Fan 1367
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:20 pm

The dentist will be responsible to examine the teeth in Florida and to do an exam will need some radiographs. If you could arrange for good copies of your radiographs to get to the new dentist that might enable you to get that cleaning that you desire with less hassle. I suspect other states are similar.

boglerdude
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by boglerdude » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:19 pm

Current discussion

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=225161

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LadyGeek
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:05 am

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (dentist).
boglerdude wrote:Current discussion

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=225161
The link in human readable format: Time to leave our dentist??
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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BogleFanGal
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by BogleFanGal » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:04 am

Someone recently suggested in another thread to ask a specialist in your neighborhood for a referral because the see the work of many general dentists on a regular basis. I second that suggestion.

This advice is gold and I wished someone would have advised me to do that. I have had nothing but problems with my teeth for decades - combo of bad genetics and poor diligence/stupidity on my part during child/teen years. But I've also had a couple of dentists who insisted I needed lots of invasive work that other practitioners later said I didn't or shouldn't have received that likely added to my problems. Hindsight is 20/20...should have gotten more 2nd opinions.

All plans through my employers were always dental HMOs and I didn't know any better at the time - just went to the ones on the list near me. There weren't forums like this when I was making these decisions and all the articles I tried to research in publications re: how to choose a dentist were useless. Asking coworkers or neighbors for opinions tells you nothing if you deal with serious dental issues and their only perspective is a easy peasy 2x year cleaning and an occasional filling.

mega317
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by mega317 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:08 am

Where do you live? Some of my extended family members go to Mexico for cleanings.

rsgdmd
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by rsgdmd » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:04 pm

LawyersGunsAndMoney wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:52 am
Good referrals (vs referrals from ppl who don't really know what they're talking about) are usually the best.

I've also had success narrowing the field via my insurance company's website and then using ZocDoc to see what availability for appointments looks like among a handful of nearby dentists. I look for ones that have good ratings but not a lot of availability - which I assume is a proxy for having a lot of satisfied customers. I steer clear of doctors with bad ratings and tons of available timeslots, as well as ones with good (possibly fake) ratings/reviews and lots of availability.

Has worked for me thus far....
Availability on sites like ZocDoc is not always a reflection of how busy an office might be. Dentists pay ZocDoc for every appointment made through ZocDoc, so they may only list non prime time openings.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Advice on picking a dentist

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:34 pm

I usually look at online reviews while considering the source, pick one and give them a try. If I don't like them I move on. I see no reason that you couldn't ask for a cleaning and exam without x-rays. I typically refuse x-rays about half of the time because for me an x-ray hasn't revealed anything in years. Just tell them you just had an x-ray recently and would like to skip it this time. A cleaning shouldn't require an x-ray anyway. As far as I know the x-ray is intended to assist in the exam process (as does observation during the cleaning).
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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