Quick Summary:

  1. Ask For Recommendations
  2. Look At Dentist’s Websites
  3. Speak With Your Medical Insurance Provider
  4. Make Sure They Accept Your Insurance
  5. Verify Their Qualifications
  6. Locate A Specialist If You Need One
  7. Check For Possible Legal Cases
  8. Read Reviews Online
  9. Assess Convenience
  10. Set Up A Consultation Appointment
  11. Verify Professionalism
  12. Get A General Exam

Are you looking for a dentist in Alexandria, VA? Well, there are hundreds of them. How are you supposed to choose the right one with that many options?

You couldn’t possibly call every single one. Nor do you have time to visit even half of them. What can you do to select a dentist that’s right for you and your family? There’s actually a lot that you can do. And none of it is that hard at all.

Here are 12 tips for choosing the right dentist in Alexandria.

1. Ask For Recommendations

This isn’t first on the list by accident.

Think of things you own, things you do, and places you’ve been as a result of a recommendation. An enormous percentage of the money you spend is spent that way because of a recommendation from someone you trust.

Some of you reading this probably married your spouse because of a recommendation!

So much time and effort you could spend finding a dentist in Alexandria can be eliminated with a recommendation. Ask the people you trust which dentist they go to. Neighbors, people you work with, family members, friends, other doctors you go to, teachers – ask them all.

Do they love, like, or hate the person they go to? If they love them, consider checking that dentist out.

Here are some specific questions you can ask that will help a lot:

  • What is that you like the most about going to this person?
  • What is that you don’t like about going to this person?
  • What’s the average wait time in their office?
  • How available are the dentist and staff? Like in an emergency?

2. Look At Dentist’s Websites

Use the internet for fact-finding.

Open up Google and search things like dentist near me or something similar. Look at some of their websites. Check if they’re a member of the ADA (American Dental Association). Are there other accreditations listed?

There is something you need to watch out for. Do you see a dentist in Alexandria advertising themselves as superior or greater than their competitors? Probably stay away from these ones if you do. Why? Because in the dental field, it’s considered unethical to advertise yourself this way. It’s bad form. And they know this.

3. Speak With Your Medical Insurance Provider

People often forget that their health insurance provider is a good source of dental referrals. This is a great place to check because you know that these dentists will accept your insurance.

If you don’t have dental insurance, do you have a dental school in your area? Call and talk to a faculty member there and ask them for referrals. What about hospitals in your area? If you have one, call them as well and see who they recommend.

And finally, go ahead and call a dental society in your area, like this one. Look up them up in the phone book or search for their information online. They can also give you really good recommendations for a dentist in Alexandria.

4. Make Sure They Accept Your Insurance

Not every dentist accepts dental insurance from all carriers. There are even some dentists who don’t accept dental insurance at all.

When you inquire into a particular dentist, you need to ask if they accept your coverage. Some dentists who have small practices do accept insurance but only a limited number. And this is only one example of a unique situation.

The last thing you want to do is set up an appointment, get there, check-in, and then learn they won’t take your insurance. Dental work, generally, is not cheap. So you don’t want to take any chances in this area.

5. Verify Their Qualifications

You would assume that because they appear to have their own dental practice, the dentist would be qualified. This is not always the case.

There are two main qualifications that an aspiring dentist can obtain.

  • DDS (doctor of dental surgery)
  • DMD (doctor of dental medicine)

Both of these titles require at least 6 years of dental school:

  • Pre-dental college = 2 years
  • Dental school = 4 years

And during these years of schooling, requisite tests must be completed with passing grades.

When you’ve whittled down your choices, start calling some of these dental offices. Ask questions like:

  • What dental school did doctor so-and-so graduate from?
  • What year did doctor so-and-so graduate from dental school?
  • How long has he been with this practice?
  • How long has he been practicing dentistry?
  • When did he last attend a dental conference?
  • What was the last continuing education course he completed?

New Dentists vs Well-Established Dentists

There are reasons why the kinds of questions listed above are important. For one, a newer dentist in Alexandria may have advantages over a well-established one. Or vice versa. Sometimes newer ones are less expensive but offer the same quality work.

If you need dental surgery or a more involved procedure, seasoned dentists are probably better. One dentist may have years of experience performing a particular procedure that you need.

And for obvious reasons, you want a dentist who stays up-to-date with his accreditation. You want someone who is educated on the latest dental industry information and technology.

6. Locate A Specialist If You Need One

A dentist in Alexandria can specialize in a specific area of treatment. If you need one of these procedures, it’s best to find a dentist who specializes in that area. In order to specialize, a dentist has to complete 2 years of advanced schooling.

Here are some of the areas that a dentist can specialize in:

  • Prosthodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Orthodontics
  • Oral Pathology
  • Endodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery

Prosthodontics refers to full mouth rehabilitation. Periodontics refers to the care of gums. Orthodontics refers to braces and repositioning teeth. Oral pathology deals with lesions in and cancer of the mouth (as well as teeth and tissue removal). Endodontics refers to root canals. Pediatric dentistry is dental care for teens and children

Oral/maxillofacial surgeons perform invasive procedures. These include smoothing for false teeth, surgical jaw correction, complex tooth extraction, cleft palate reconstruction, and more.

7. Check For Possible Legal Cases

Why would you want to spend time doing this? Because you don’t want to choose a dentist in Alexandria with concerning cases brought against them. Cases like severe patient dissatisfaction or misconduct.

All of this information is publicly available online. Hop on the internet and go to the official website of the Virginia dental board. You can see all sorts of helpful information there. Including the status of legal cases brought against particular dentists.

8. Read Reviews Online

Read online reviews written about dentists just as you would any other service or product.

Look at Yelp and Google for starters. What do people say about the doctor you’re considering? If they all good things, that’s a great sign. If they’re bad, read any replies from the dentist if there are any.

Also, don’t take at face value the reviews you see directly on the dentist’s website. A lot of times they’re real, but sometimes they’re not (or they’re at least influenced). You’re never going to see a bad review on a dentist’s website.

It’s better to read reviews away from the official website of the dentist in Alexandria. And remember that a bad review doesn’t necessarily mean you should cross them off your list. Keep reading and decide for yourself.

9. Assess Convenience

This means you need to consider things like:

  • How far away is their office from where you live?
  • Is your work schedule compatible with their hours of operation?
  • What kind of emergency hours does the practice have?

If some of or all of these things are important or directly apply to your situation, verify them. You don’t want to feel great about a dentist and then find out the office is too far away from your house.

Or what if your job doesn’t give you paid time off? Then you should probably choose a dentist in Alexandria whose office has more flexible hours. These are just a couple of examples of personal circumstances that you may need to consider.

10. Set Up A Consultation Appointment

Don’t feel like you’re overstepping your bounds by arranging a consultation before you’ve chosen. Most dentists will be happy to meet with you. If they’re not, consider that a red flag.

Physically going into the office gives you the opportunity to see for yourself what it’s like. Is the atmosphere inviting? Does it meet your expectations of what you envisioned it to be?

A consultation with the dentist also allows you to ask important questions like:

  • What anesthesia do you use?
  • What do you provide patients to calm their nerves and make them more comfortable? (e.g. noise-canceling headphones, over-the-head TV screens, etc.)
  • If I schedule a (treatment name) with you, what’s the procedure like?
  • If appointments are missed, what is the penalty?
  • Does your office have someone answering calls 24-7 or just during business hours?
  • What’s the price for (treatment name)?

Pricing Research

Comparing prices is a good thing to do, especially if you know for sure that you need a particular procedure. Call or consult with multiple dentists and compare the price of the treatment you need.

11. Verify Professionalism

When you make a visit to a dental office, take note of a few things. How clean is it? Does everything appear to be properly sterilized? Is the office staff friendly and helpful? What about the dentist? Is he friendly and helpful?

Some office staffs are not friendly, sometimes even disrespectful. When this is the case it can really diminish your experience. Possibly even ruin it altogether.

You don’t want to pick a dentist whose office you dread every time you know you have to go in. This is an important reason to consider going there in person.

12. Get A General Exam

Some dentists will offer free general exams to new and prospective clients. If a dentist that you’re considering does, consider scheduling one. General exams usually consist of x-rays and cleaning.

This is as close as you can get to obtaining everything you need to make a decision on a dentist. You’ll get the whole experience. If you do this, here are some things to think about:

  • Did you get along with the dentist and the staff?
  • Did they make you feel welcome and comfortable?
  • Did they go out of their way to recognize you as a new client?
  • Did they ask medical history questions?
  • Did they show genuine interest in you and your health?
  • How personable were they?
  • Did you feel listened to?
  • Did you feel their answers and advice were straightforward and honest?
  • Did you feel like your money and time were valued?

Dentist In Alexandria (12 Tips For Choosing The Right One) – Conclusion

Following the tips here will all but assure that you find a great dentist. Don’t pick one at random. You’ll feel so much better if you put thought into your choice.