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Finding the right dentist for you and your family is easier now than ever before. Between provider web sites, online reviews, and social networks, you can learn detailed information about dentists located near you from the comfort of your own home. But there’s more to a good dentist than searchable data; the doctor/patient relationship should be based on mutual respect and trust.

If you are actively looking for a new dentist, get out and meet your potential matches and take in the atmosphere of the dental practice. A short trip to a few different dental offices can quickly give you an intuitive sense of the culture and professionalism of the practice. Before you start your search, here are a few ideas about what you should consider when choosing a dentist.

If you are looking for dental care in Anderson, South Carolina, call Carolina Oaks Dental Care today at 864-261-3132 for a meet-up with Dr. Vaughn Layne.

Before You Search

Call your dental insurance provider for a list of in-network providers they recommend. Your PPO may have a large list, but it will give you a starting point. If you belong to a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO), there will be fewer dentists to choose from, but that may make your search easier as you compare providers.

What to Consider


Relationships and personalities are important, but they won’t make a difference if your dentist is inconveniently located or has incompatible office hours. Decide ahead of time which geographic location is ideal for getting your family to and from appointments, and look at dentists in that area. Office hours are important, as well. Are there days of the week that work better for you and your children, or certain hours? Make sure your potential providers offer services on those days and hours, and you’ll have a much easier time scheduling and keeping your appointments

The Practice As A Whole

You’ll want to find a dentist whose skills and personality are compatible with your needs, but you should also stop and look around the office. How does it look? What do they emphasize? Are organized procedures evident? If all staff members seem knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful, then they probably work well together as a professional team. If you notice staff that are stressed, confused, or too busy to talk to you–that may be a red flag of problems in the office. High turnover and any sense of disorganization are other signs indicate a less-than-reliable practice. If anything seems off, keep looking. A poorly managed office may mean problems for you down the road.

Also keep in mind that there are several models for successful dental practices. A large practice may focus on seeing many patients in the course of a day, which may be good if you typically have a busy schedule and need to keep appointments short. Smaller, family-oriented dental offices usually schedule only one patient at a time, and are better if you plan to bring the whole family in at once.

What Others Have To Say

When comparing individual dentists, don’t hesitate to research them online. Your state’s professional licensing board allows you to look up a dentist online to verify that he or she is licensed and qualified. Sites like Yelp and Healthgrades can show you what other patients have to say about a specific practice. Take individual reviews with a grain of salt, however, as emotional responses don’t always give helpful information. If most reviews are positive, that’s a good sign.

The Right Relationship is Crucial

You will only visit your dentist once every six months, (or a bit more if you have children), but you want those visits to give you the maximum benefit. You’ll get the most out of those routine appointments if you have a comfortable, trusting relationship with the dentist and the hygienist who cleans your teeth. You’ll need to feel comfortable sharing personal information and admitting when you need help. Ultimately you should choose a dentist who is professional and knowledgeable, but who also makes you feel at ease in their presence. If you don’t have that warm feeling of mutual respect, keep looking. You’ll find the right match.

Questions to Ask a Dentist

  • Which areas of dentistry are your specialties?
  • How do you manage dental anxiety?
  • Does your office handle insurance claims?
  • How do you care for active children, or shy children?
  • What’s the cancellation policy at your office?
  • Can you text appointment reminders?
  • What are your hours and days of operation?
  • What happens if I have an after-hours emergency?
  • What dental technology do you use?
  • How long has your practice been open?
  • Who will perform my cleanings and fluoride treatments?
  • Do you have high staff turnover?
  • Will I be able to reach you or your staff by email?
  • What was your favorite part of your education/training?

Looking For a Dentist in Anderson, SC?

If you are looking for a dentist in Anderson, South Carolina, call Carolina Oaks Dental Care today at 864-261-3132 for a meet-up with Dr. Vaughn Layne.

Dr. Layne

Author Dr. Layne

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