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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.

Author Dr. Carpenter

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