Essenmacher Family Dental

What to Look for in a Dentist: Key Insights for Optimal Choice

A dentist working on a patient

Choosing a dentist can seem overwhelming with all the options, from network dentists in your dental insurance plan to pediatric dentists for your little ones. Should you prefer a family dentist or a specialty dentist? What about dental offices offering additional training in newer dental technologies?

We’re here to help you with our comprehensive guide on how to find a good dentist in your area.

How Do You Find a Good Dentist?

1. Evaluate Their Dental Services and Specialties

When looking for a new dentist, consider what restorative services and dental specialties they offer. All dentists complete dental school and clinical experience, but some continue their education to offer specialized services like cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry, or oral surgery. This extensive knowledge is a must for complex procedures such as a root canal vs. extraction choice, where additional training comes in handy. Check to see if the prospective dentist offers a wide variety of services catered to your oral health goals.

2. Consider Patient Reviews

Thanks to the internet, access to online reviews about potential dentists is just a few clicks away. While it’s good to take these with a grain of salt, they can provide insights into a dentist’s quality of care, patient comfort, payment plans, and customer service. If you find positive reviews mentioning your keywords like dental emergencies, root canals, and wisdom teeth, it can be an indicator of your potential dentist’s capabilities.

3. Visit Dental Offices in Person

Pictures can speak volumes about the dental practice’s ethos and the level of care they provide. Look if the office looks clean, equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as intraoral cameras, and if the dental staff and office staff exhibit high ethical standards. Moreover, it should be conveniently located with available hours of operation that match your schedule for routine cleanings and check-ups.

4. See Payment Options and If They Accept Insurance

Does the dental office offer financing options and accept a wide range of insurance plans, including your dental insurance provider? Dental costs can increase quickly, especially for procedures like root canal treatment or oral surgery. Therefore, it’s crucial that your favorite dentist offers affordable options and transparent out-of-pocket costs.

5. Consider the Comfort Factor

Another critical point to consider is a dentist who understands dental anxiety. It’s common for kids and adults. Find a compassionate dentistry practice that prioritizes patient comfort, has provisions such as sedation dentistry, and handles dental phobia professionally.

6. Check Their Credentials

Researching the prospective dentist’s credentials is crucial to preparing for your dental visit. They should have the necessary dental care licenses and board certifications from your state’s dental board. Before your scheduled dental experience, you can also take a step further to ensure a top-notch patient experience by checking for any disciplinary actions or malpractice claims against them. Preventive measures like these add to a smooth and positive dental visit experience.

7. Quality of Communication

An exceptional dentist should always be available for a regular visit, keeping the office hours that suit their patients. Quality communication is important; a good dentist is always ready to explain different procedures and discuss treatment options in understandably clear terms for the entire family. If the dentist seems rushed or unwilling to address your concerns during your regularly scheduled visit, it might be a good idea to look for another family dental care provider elsewhere.

What Important Qualities Should a Dentist Have?

Compassionate Nature

To understand “what makes a good dentist,” one must consider their compassionate nature. A good dentist should empathize with patients’ physical and psychological fears about dental work. They should be understanding, supportive, and capable of soothing patients by explaining procedures and addressing any concerns.

Strong Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial for a dentist. They must effectively explain complex medical terms, preventative measures, treatment plans, and dental procedures to patients in an understandable manner. Excellent listening skills are also important for fully understanding a patient’s concerns and requirements.

Great Manual Skill

Dentistry requires precise, detailed work within a small area. A dentist should have good motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and the ability to handle dental tools accurately and safely to avoid causing pain or discomfort to the patients.


Dentistry isn’t always quick, and some procedures may take longer than planned. A great dentist must exhibit patience, catering to fearful patients or those who require detailed, extensive procedures.

Problem-Solving Abilities

A dentist often needs to think outside the box if a patient has a unique oral health problem without a straightforward solution. They should be able to make quick, decisive actions during emergencies while always being dedicated to a patient’s health and well-being.

High Ethical Standards

Dentists should maintain high ethical and professional standards. They must always act in the best interest of their patients, treat everyone equally, respect their confidentiality, and adhere to health and safety guidelines.

How Do You Prepare for Dentist Appointment?

  • Review Your Dental History. It’s essential to be aware of your past dental treatments, surgeries, and any problems you’ve experienced. This includes dental emergencies, procedures like root canals or extractions, and even smaller treatments like fillings or dental cleanings. Giving your dentist this information can help them make a more accurate assessment of your oral health.
  • Compile a List of Your Medications. Be sure to write down any medications you are currently taking, whether prescription or over-the-counter drugs, as well as dietary supplements. Certain medications can affect your dental health or interact with treatments your dentist may suggest, so your dentist must be aware of your current regimen.
  • Note Down Your Questions or Concerns. If there are issues bothering you—chronic tooth sensitivity, occasional pain, or concern about teeth cleanings and other common procedures—make a note of them. The dentist’s office isn’t just a place for treatment; it’s a place for learning. The more questions you ask, the more informed you will be about your oral health.
  • Know Your Dental Insurance Details. Understanding your dental insurance is important in preparing for a dental appointment. Know what treatments are covered, how much your co-pays are, and what your potential out-of-pocket costs may be. This will help you plan accordingly in case you need any major treatments.
  • Brush and Floss. It may sound like a small detail, but brushing and flossing before your dentist appointment can give your dentist a better understanding of your oral health when examining your mouth.
  • Arrive Early. Especially if it’s your first visit, arriving a little early lets you fill out the necessary paperwork without feeling rushed, familiarize yourself with the office layout, and get to know some of the staff. This can make your appointment a smoother, less stressful experience.

Experience Quality Dental Care at Essenmacher Family Dental—Contact Us for an Appointment

Choosing a dentist requires careful consideration. Knowing what to look for in a dentist involves analyzing everything from the range of dental services they offer to the payment options available. Dental health contributes to your overall health, potentially preventing chronic health issues like cardiovascular disease. So, take your time, ask for recommendations from friends, family, or healthcare providers, and make an informed decision.

Are you ready to take control of your dental health? Visit our trusted dental office in Albuquerque today for quality care, a wide variety of services, flexible payment options, and a team of dental professionals who prioritize your comfort. Book an appointment today—your oral health deserves the best.