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Things to Consider When Choosing a Clemson, SC Dentist

Things to Consider When Choosing a Clemson, SC Dentist


Finding a great dentist for your family may seem like a daunting challenge, but there are a wealth of caring, qualified dental providers out there. These tips will help you crystallize your needs and priorities before you start your search.

If you are looking for dental care in Clemson, South Carolina, call Carolina Oaks Dental Care and interview one of our friendly dentists. Call us today at 864-654-6700 for a meet-up with Dr. Molly Netzler or Dr. Tait Carpenter.

Before You Start

A good place to start is with your dental insurance. You don’t want to find the perfect dentist and then find out she is not in your network. This is especially important if you belong to a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO), since they offer a much shorter list of providers than PPOs.

Also consider what type of dental office you prefer. A large practice that sees many patients may be right for people who like to schedule dental cleanings during their lunch hour, and want to get in and out quickly, with no fuss. If you prefer a small family-oriented dentist, look for a practice that schedules one patient at a time, so they can give you their full attention.

The Right Relationship

If you think about the good relationships you’ve had with doctors, teachers, colleagues, and clients—it all comes down to being comfortable with another person. There’s no personality test to measure this quality, but you know it when you have it.

After you meet a dentist, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable sharing unpleasant news with this person. Do you feel like you would have their attention? Like medical issues, dental problems can sometimes be subtle to properly diagnose, so lines of communication should be open and you should feel comfortable sharing personal details.

Think about the rest of your family, as well. Your dental care will be more effective and regular if you and your family enjoy being a part of the community at your dentist’s office. You know your family best. When you meet with the dentist, think about how your children will react to the office, staff, and dentist. If your children tend to be very boisterous (or very shy), ask them how they deal with challenging kid situations.

Input From Others, Qualifications

The best recommendations come from friends and family members, so ask others which dentists they see, and what they like about them. This is a good starting place, but is by no means the only way to find a good dentist. Like colleges and universities, there are a plethora of great dentists out there. You may find that recommendations from friends are not convenient to your location.

If you are looking for a dentist without a trusted friend’s recommendation, check out sites that review service providers, such as Yelp or Healthgrades. A business will always put glowing testimonials on their own website, but independent sites show the good and the bad. That said, take bad reviews with a grain of salt—a legitimate bad review will be extremely detailed, while short, angry reviews tend to be more emotional.

You may see a number of certificates on the wall of a dentists office, but always check your state’s professional licensing board to make sure your dentist is legit.

A Good Clinic is a Well-Oiled Machine

A good pre-interview activity is to call the potential dentist’s office and speak with the front desk. Explain that you are looking for a new dentist and have questions. What you ask isn’t particularly important; as long as you ask several questions, what you hear will speak volumes.

Listen for knowledgeable answers and clear-cut routines. Confusion or vagueness are a sure sign the office does not have standardized procedures and expectations. Throw them a curve-ball question and see how they respond. “What do patients say when they complain to you?” for example. Ask about staff turnover, as well. An office that can’t hold on to employees is a dead giveaway that something isn’t right.


How easily you can get to your dentist’s office is a bigger concern than you might think. If you live and work in geographically separate areas, decide ahead of time whether you want your dentist to be close to home, close to work, or located between the two.

Also consider the dentist’s office hours. Will you want to schedule appointments during office/school hours, or in the evening? Make sure the dentists on your list have compatible schedules with yours. For example, if Mondays are your days off, you probably don’t want a dentist whose office is closed on Mondays.

Possible Questions to Ask Your New Dentist

  • How do you deal with dental anxiety?
  • How do you deal with active children, or shy children?
  • What’s your cancellation policy?
  • What are your office hours and days of operation?
  • How’s your dental technology?
  • Will someone answer the phone if I have an after-hours emergency?
  • Who will perform the dental cleanings and fluoride treatments?
  • How long have you been in practice?
  • How’s your staff turnover?
  • Do you text appointment reminders?
  • Can I reach you or your staff by email?
  • How does your office handle insurance claims?
  • What areas of dentistry do you specialize in?
  • What was the best part of your education/training?

Ultimately, there are so many good dentists out there, we’re sure you’ll find one that’s right for you and your family. Be intentional in how you search, approach the challenge with an open mind, and trust your intuition. Happy searching!

If you are looking for dental care in Clemson, South Carolina, call Carolina Oaks Dental Care and interview one of our friendly dentists. Call us today at 864-654-6700 for a meet-up with Dr. Molly Netzler or Dr. Tait Carpenter.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Insurance

Enrolling in dental insurance plans can be confusing. If you haven’t spent much money on a dentist in recent years, do you even need insurance? How much coverage is enough? Will I still have to pay for routine visits?

At Carolina Oaks Dental Care, our patients have a lot of questions about dental insurance, and we often hear the same questions again and again. The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) may help you understand what factors you should consider, as you look at enrollment options for your family.

If you need a dentist for your family, contact Carolina Oaks Dental Care. We can help you understand your insurance, and get you the care you need! Call our Clemson, SC, dental practice at 864-654-6700 to make an appointment today.

What does dental insurance pay for?

There are several levels of dental treatment that your family will need in the future. Most dental plans have similar rates for the different levels of care.

Preventive Care – Since preventive dentistry is the best way to avoid dental problems in the future, these treatments are usually the best covered by insurance. Many plans pay 100% of the cost of dental cleanings, exams, x-rays, and fluoride treatments. Since two dental visits are allowed per year, we see many patients become more faithful in keeping their appointments once they have insurance–and this is great for your health.

Basic Dental Work – Insurance usually pays for most of the cost of dental fillings, periodontal treatments, and root canals. You will always pay a portion out of pocket, but usually no more than 20-30%.

Advanced Dental Work – More advanced restorations usually require a greater patient co-pay. These include crowns, bridges, and dental implants. Considering that these treatments are not needed as frequently as small fillings and dental cleanings, most patients can afford to pay the usual 40-60% when they are needed.

Orthodontia – Most plans have some provision for orthodontia, but these vary significantly. If braces are likely in your child(ren)’s future, compare orthodontia coverage carefully, as it could make a huge difference in your future out-of-pocket costs.

What kind of coverage do I need?

The answer to this question will depend largely on your and your family’s circumstances. Most insurers give you the option to choose either a basic or extended plan. The best way to consider this choice is to think about your dental history and predicted dental needs.

There are many factors you may want to consider:

  • Your Dental History – If you and your family have always faithfully seen the dentist, twice a year, and have no major dental concerns, then basic may be all you need. If you are more prone to tooth decay, or have risk factors that make you more susceptible to tooth and gum problems, you may benefit from greater coverage. For example, if you have several fillings from more than 12 years ago, you will likely need to have them all replaced. Greater coverage will reduce the amount you will pay for this undertaking.
  • The Size of Your Family – Even with preventive visits well-covered by insurance, the cost of fillings and root canals can add up quickly if your children and spouse are susceptible to tooth decay.
  • Your Age, Lifestyle, and Medical Conditions – Age and overall health have an effect on your oral health. Medical conditions like acid reflux and diabetes can hamper your mouth’s ability to resist tooth decay (as can many common medications) and you may need more dental care than normal. Even the predictable hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy and menopause can make you more likely to develop gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease). Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for advice if you aren’t sure whether your medical conditions, age, or lifestyle may impact your oral health in the future.
  • Your Family History  – Many dental conditions have a genetic link, so if your parents needed a lot of dental work, developed gum disease, or lost their teeth as they got older, you may want to be ready in case the same happens to you. Preventable factors can also contribute to those conditions, too, of course, so ask your dentist for advice if you’re not sure.
  • The Potential Need for Braces – If you have multiple children who may need orthodontic treatments, you should consider the financial impact beforehand. Misaligned teeth (malocclusion) is an inheritable trait, so if both parents needed braces, the children may also need them.

If you are comparing dental plans and not sure how your family’s situation might be affected—call us and ask. What is a complex question to you may be routine for us. At Carolina Oaks Dental Care, we always want to help our patients have the knowledge they need to make good decisions for their families.

Do I even need dental insurance?

If you are a single adult, with excellent dental habits and a clean dental history–AND you already see a dentist regularly for routine six-month visits–you may actually save money by paying dental expenses out of pocket. Most people do not fit into this category, however. For starters, about 99% of the population will suffer from tooth decay, to some degree, in their lifetime. Furthermore, there are many factors that influence your oral health at different stages of your life. Lucky streaks can end, leaving you with heavy out-of-pocket expenses. If you think you may be one of the people who don’t need dental insurance, ask your dentist for a professional opinion.

What’s a DHMO, versus a PPO?

A PPO plan offers you a wide network of providers to choose from. They usually let you choose a dentist outside the network, as well, albeit at a different rate. With a PPO you will have more options when choosing a dentist, but the monthly cost will be higher than that of a DHMO.

DHMO plans offer the same quality dental care, but from a more limited list of contracted providers. If you are on a tight budget, a DHMO will certainly get your family the care they need. However, you sacrifice the flexibility of a wide-network PPO. For some families, choosing a DHMO is an excellent way to save money, while still getting quality dental coverage.

Learn More

For more information, there are several dental insurance sites that aim to inform, instead of sell. These sites can explain terminology and the options available to you and your family. Ask your employer for a benefits comparison chart, as well. Chances are, they have information ready to help you with your decision.

If you need dental care for your family, contact Carolina Oaks Dental Care. Call our Clemson, SC, dental practice at 864-654-6700 to make an appointment today.