When you move to a new city, the list of changes you have to make seems never ending. New place to live, new pharmacy, new wardrobe items… I should know. When I moved from Florida eight years ago, the Chicago chill went right through my thin jackets and settled deep in my bones!
When it comes to finding your new dentist, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Do you trust the new neighbor you’ve known all of 5 hours? Or your mom’s college roommate who lived here in 2003? I recently had a girlfriend move to Brooklyn, she’s been there for six months and was actually going to fly back to Chicago for her cleaning. Over brunch she told me “I just don’t know where to start! I see you taking all these classes, how do I find someone here who does it too?” If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably in the same boat, so this is the advice I gave my friend. Hopefully that makes us friends too now!
- Ask your previous dentist if they recommend anyone in your new city. Like every industry, our world is small. Add in the fact that we do continuing education classes in person and meet people from all over the world, and that dramatically expands our network. My patients expect an eye for cosmetics and a high level of customer service. If they move away, I know just who to send them to in many cities. When it comes to a personal referral, like attracts like. Your previous dentist will likely refer you to another dentist that is like them.
- Read reviews. A rule of thumb I use for all types of reviews is to only read the three stars. Five stars reviews are a bit like reading a love letter, and one stars reviews are like reading a rant from a crazy ex. Neither one really provides unbiased information of value. I’ve found that three stars are the most honest in telling you what was good and what wasn’t. They give you a black and white outline of what to expect without letting emotion into it. Then I can decide if the good and bad things are something I care about!
- Check what dental procedures they do on their website. If you’re tight on time (and aren’t we all) you’ll need a dentist who does same day dentistry and can save you a trip. This means the office has an on-site lab to make your crown in an hour rather than have you wear a plastic temporary for a few weeks and come back for your crown. Look for key words like ‘CEREC’, ‘3-D Printer’, or ‘Milling Unit’. If you want straighter teeth, make sure they offer Invisalign or one of the off-brand aligners. If you tend to be nervous at the dentist, seek out an office that caters to guests with dental anxiety. Every website should clearly detail what is available to you in office.
- If you want any type of cosmetic procedures, check out their before and after photos. Whether you’re interested in whitening, Invisalign, or veneers, all of these are different from office to office. A cosmetic dentist is an artist, and we all have different styles. For instance, I have a very natural aesthetic and attract guests who want their smile to look seamlessly perfect, and never fake. Other smile artists have a bolder aesthetic and do super bright white smiles. It’s all about the aesthetic YOU want! Selecting the smile artist who loves to create the type of aesthetic you’re looking for will make sure you’re both on the same page for your end result.
- Do a little snooping on their socials to get a feel for the vibe. Instagram will give you a behind the scenes look into what their day to day is like. You’ll get a feel for whether they have fun, are lighthearted, and approachable. Isn’t that one of the wonderful things about social media? You have the ability to “meet” your new dentist before you even step foot in the office! Watch their stories for on-the-fly glimpses of their day. You’ll feel like a fly on the wall and really get to know what it will be like when you’re there in person.
When you embark on a new journey, it can be nerve wracking. But choosing your new dentist doesn’t have to be! Hopefully, if you follow the steps above, you’ll find the right dentist to fit all your needs. You’ll arrive at your first dental appointment relaxed and ready… and who knows, maybe even a little excited to meet them!