how to find a really good dentist
January 21, 2005 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Is word of mouth the only way to find a dentist? For every other kind of doctor there are hospital directories online, and everything else it seems like you have to pay for the results. I haven't stayed in the same state for more than a couple years and can never find a really good dentist. They all end up being mediocre, and I would like to see a rock star dentist for a change.
posted by scazza to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
posted by sdrawkcab at 4:22 PM on January 21, 2005

I have the same problem. Trying to find a cosmetic dentist in Montreal and I have no idea how. Searched the net, searched 411. I cold called the one cosmetic dentistry place that I found and the receptionist was retarded. She was only able to say that they don't do teeth filing and that they do implants.

Also, try searching up a dermetologist, they're also hidden behind GP I guess.
posted by Napierzaza at 4:58 PM on January 21, 2005

Many local magazines will publish a list of "Best Doctors," as voted on by other members of their profession. So a good dentist should show up on that list, provided she is not brand new to town and is reasonably well-connected. Here in Minneapolis/St. Paul, it's Mpls. St. Paul Magazine.
posted by Coffeemate at 5:14 PM on January 21, 2005


Unofficial motto: sure we're just another ad directory, but at least we're slightly more selective than the yellow pages!
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 5:31 PM on January 21, 2005

If you're in one of the seven metropolitan areas for which they have editions, Consumers' Checkbook magazine is a good resource. They rate various local services, including dentists, based on reader surveys. Unfortunately, it looks like you're in New York, and they don't seem to have a local edition there. But if you move back to Chicago, you could check them out...
posted by klausness at 5:45 PM on January 21, 2005

I hope this is on-topic for the thread, but I'm looking for a dentist in the Dallas area (75206) if anyone has a recommendation. (I haven't been to a dentist in about three years as I didn't have benefits at the time.)
posted by Handcoding at 5:52 PM on January 21, 2005

Alex- I know a decent dentist near Hulen Mall in Fort Worth, but I suppose that's too far for you?
posted by Doohickie at 5:58 PM on January 21, 2005

When I moved from Montreal to Vancouver, and needed a dentist here, I relied on two sources. (1) people at work that I trusted and (2) the local university (who teaches? what is their reputation? and do they have a private practice?)

I also had some contacts from my dentist in Montreal for a dentist in Vancouver. I was so successful with (1) and (2) that I didn't follow up with that list.

Essentially my advice is this - ask your friends, ask the friends who appear to have nice dental work (a discreet question, when asked with tact and diplomacy, can lead you to a good dentist), then go on a consult with the two or three dentists on your short list.

This will take time - but you are looking for a rock star, not a by-the-numbers dentist.

While you have your short list, you may also want to consult the Order of Dentists (or whatever the professional organization overseeing all dentists is called, in your province or state) to confirm that the dentist is in good standing. This might save you some agony later on.
posted by seawallrunner at 6:08 PM on January 21, 2005

Doohickie: Thanks for responding but, yeah, Ft Worth may be a bit far for me.
posted by Handcoding at 7:04 PM on January 21, 2005

If there's a regional Craigslist in your area, try asking on the "health" discussion forum.
posted by bac at 7:31 PM on January 21, 2005

Response by poster: A friend reccommended someone who was really friendly and very complimentary of my teeth. However, after that article in the New Yorker explaining how there is a heirarchy of quality of treatment, that not all doctors are the same, I'm interested in making sure I'm getting the best medical care I can.

And, I want to see some hi-tech dental equipment since all the dentists I've been to have that olive green, kind of crusty equipment.
posted by scazza at 8:06 PM on January 21, 2005

In my experience with dentists (I have bad teeth), I have noticed a direct relation between the amount they charge and the quality of care they give you.

You can usually tell when you talk to the receptionist. He or she should be knowledgeable and courteous. When they remember your name it usually means that they are a higher quality receptionist, which reflects on the dentist. Usually the waiting is a good indicator: if it looks more expensively decorated, then the dentist will charge you more and most likely give you better care.

Most dentists will have a consultation with you for free or no fee. The good dentists will answer every question fully, and the bad ones will not.

You can ask other people for referrals, but they may have different priorities from you. My sister, who won on the genetic lottery for teeth, needs minimal dental care, so she goes to a lower cost dentist. My priority is to have a dentist that listens to me and gives me excellent care, so I pay more.
posted by Monday at 12:31 AM on January 22, 2005

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