How to Find a Great Family Dentist Near You

By Dr. Thomas Martin

In Madison, TN, it’s easy to find a family dentist near you. It seems there’s a dental clinic on every corner. So how can you narrow down your search? In today’s blog, you’ll learn key questions to ask a dental office, as well as red flags to watch for at an initial consultation. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be equipped to ferret out the best dentist for you and your loved ones.

Ways to Search for a Dentist Near You

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations: Whether you post a request on Facebook or ask friends and family in person, word-of-mouth referral is an excellent way to begin your search for a family dentist in Madison. Unlike direct mail, Google searches, and seeing a dental practice on your daily commute, referrals from people you know come with the benefit of firsthand accounts. The friend or family member who refers you to their own dentist might also be able to answer your questions about the dentist’s office.
  • Conduct a Google search: Consider the criteria you want your family dentist to meet. Location, office hours, services offered, and whether a dentist sees children are good factors to incorporate in your search keywords. Even “family dentist near me” makes a good search phrase.
  • Look for a Dentist on Your Daily Commute: Convenience can make visits to the dentist easier on your schedule. Look for a family dentist near you by scanning local businesses on your daily commute. Consider the family dentists’ offices near your child’s school, your work, or your home.
  • Keep an Eye on Snail Mail: Many dentists send out postcards or advertise in regional publications. You may even find a new patient special in your mailbox.
  • Search Your Dental Insurance’s Website: If you have good dental insurance benefits, visit your insurance company’s website. Usually, insurance websites have a search feature where you can enter your location and the type of dentist you need (general, restorative, family, for instance) to find dentists near you who accept your insurance.

Learn a Lot About a Dentist Online

Once you identify a few family dentists who might be right for your loved ones, it’s time to learn about the dentists and their practices. Your first stop should be the internet. Google the dentist and cross-check both names and addresses so that you find the correct dentist’s site.

Be sure to look at:

  • Location
  • Hours
  • Services
  • Patient reviews
  • Payment options/insurance

To find Google reviews of a dentist, in Google Search click on the oval that says “maps.” Next, type in the dentist’s name, city, and state in the Google Maps search bar. If the dentist has a Google Business profile, his or her practice should show up, along with stars indicating their overall Google Reviews score. Just beneath the stars, you should see Overview, Reviews, and About. Click on Reviews to read what actual patients have to say about the dentist.

Questions to Ask a Family Dentist

The best way to get to know someone is to ask questions. Regardless of what questions you ask, you should take time to make inquiries so that you can watch and listen to the dentist answer. Personality traits like gentleness and humor will shine through as the dentist speaks.  

Ask questions that matter to YOU. Take time to write down what’s important to you in a family dentist. Ask your loved ones what matters most to them, as well. Then think about the answers that would best suit your family. Be sure to also ask for details after your initial question so that you can sense whether the dentist is rushing or actually investing time in getting to know you.

Here are some common questions you might want to ask when searching for a dentist to care for your smile and those of your loved ones. Choose the ones that address your family’s specific needs.

  1. Do you see children/special needs patients?
  2. Do you accept my insurance? Will you file it?
  3. Do you offer payment plans?
  4. Do you have an in-house discount plan for uninsured patients?
  5. How much experience do you have with (insert your issue here, ie: wisdom teeth extraction, sleep apnea treatment, dental implants, Invisalign, etc.)?
  6. What technology do you use to improve diagnostic accuracy?
  7. What can you do for a person who is afraid of the dentist?
  8. Do you do cleanings, Doctor, or do you have a hygienist?
  9. What would I need to do if I had a dental emergency after the office closes?
  10. What’s your best advice for improving a family’s dental home care routine?

Red Flags to Watch For

At your first appointment, keep an eye out for red flags–warning signs that a dentist’s office isn’t on top of its game. For example:

  • Poor communication, evidenced by not anwering your questions as you’d like, rushing through the appointment, not telling you what he’s going to do before diving into your mouth; making you feel rushed or dissatisfied by not communicating well
  • Unprofessional staff, evidenced by chit chat about other patients, complaining, an unwelcoming attitude, no smiles, not paying attention to you, blaming things on others, looking disheveled or unclean
  • Limited availability, evidenced by only being open a few days a week, with no before nine of after five appointments, no after-hours emergency protocol for patients of record
  • Unsanitary conditions, evidenced by dust, dirt, trash; unkempt restrooms; not wearing gloves, masks during exam/procedure; foul odors
  • Unnecessary treatments. The only way to determine this is to go to a few offices for an initial exam and comparing the recommended treatment plans. 
  • Rough or brusque treatment, evidenced by a lack of gentleness and care during your exam

Note that many parents send their children to a new dentist before Mom and Dad have an appointment. This is not a good way to evaluate a potential new dentist! What matters most to your child is not what should be most important to you. For instance, a dentist with a fun personality may not be thorough or professional–thoroughness and professionalism mean nothing to a child. Therefore, first, Mom or Dad should have an exam or consultation. Once the new family dentist is selected, then the children should attend a checkup. 

Benefits of Finding a Great Family Dentist 

The time you invest in finding a reputable and clinically excellent family dentist near you will pay dividends for years to come. A family dentist will care for you and your children through the phases of your lives. Some family dentists see three and four generations of patients.

The secret to a long-lasting dentist-patient relationship is just that–RELATIONSHIP. The longer you continue visiting one dentist, the stronger your trust and confidence will grow in his competency and ability.

  1. The dentist and his team will support your oral and overall healthy living.
  2. Regular appointments will improve your chance of keeping natural teeth for life.
  3. A family dentist, like a family physician, can see and address genetic issues for you, your kids, and your kids’ kids.
  4. You can become the referrer, telling friends and family about the great family dentist you found.
  5. You won’t have to do this–the search–again!

Schedule Your Checkup or Consultation Today

In Madison, TN, Dr. Thomas Martin offers complete family dentistry, including prevention, restoration, prosthetic, surgical, and cosmetic dentistry. Call Martin Dental Studio at 615-865-2260 to reserve your dental checkup and cleaning, second-opinion visit, or consultation. Dr. Martin has 75 Google Reviews for a 4.9-star ranking. He’s a dentist you can trust with your smile, as well as the smiles of those you hold dear.