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Finding the best dentist for your family may seem like an uphill battle, but there are many caring, qualified dentists out there. These helpful tips will help you organize your priorities before you start.

If you are looking for dental care in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, call Carolina Oaks Dental Care and interview one of our friendly dentists. Call us today at 854-836-8416 for a meet-up with Dr. Preston Hamrick.

Before You Begin

Before you start looking for a dentist, check with your dental insurance for a list of providers. If you have a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) your options may be more limited. Don’t waste time researching dentists you won’t be able to visit. Many insurers have searchable data available online, but your customer service hotline should be able to help, as well.

You will also need to think about what type of dental office you’re looking for. A large practice that sees many patients at a time may be ideal if you’ll schedule dental visits during your lunch hour, for example, so you can get in and out quickly with little fuss. If you want a smaller, patient-centered experience, look for a more family-oriented dentist that schedules only one person at a time.

A Good Relationship

Good relationships are the key to every positive experience, so look for a dentist you feel comfortable with. This may be hard to gauge at first, but interviewing potential dentists gives you the chance to spend a few moments in their company and ascertain whether you feel valued and respected. There’s no way to guarantee you’ll always have positive experiences at the dentist, but asking some of the suggested questions (below) may help you understand each dentist’s personal style of communicating with patients.

As you take in a dental practice, think about how the rest of your family will react to the staff, office, and dentist. If your children or spouse have special considerations (dental or otherwise) mention them and see how the dentist reacts. Ultimately, finding a dentist you can trust comes down to personality and communication. When you’ve found someone you like, you’ll know it!

Qualifications and Recommendations

Most people look to family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations for a good dentist. This is a good starting place, but be sure to ask your friends what they like about their dentists. Keep in mind, you may have different priorities. One friend may value a calm, adults-only atmosphere, while another likes how well her dentist handles rowdy children. Ultimately, there are so many great dentists out there that a personal recommendation may not be needed, if you know what you are looking for.

If you are new to the area, and don’t yet have a community to ask for recommendations, check out sites that review service providers, such as Yelp or Healthgrades. Any dental practice can put positive testimonials on its website, but independent sites show you the positive and negative impressions other patients have felt compelled to share. Take emotional posts with a grain of salt, however—helpful reviews will be calm and detailed.

Any dentist can put certificates on the wall, but true credentials are verifiable. Before you decide on a dentist, be sure to check your state’s professional licensing board to make sure he/she is licensed to practice dentistry in your state.

Look for a Well-Oiled Machine

This might go without saying, but if you’ve ever worked in a poorly-run business, you know the signs of dysfunction. Employees may turn over at a high rate, or policies may be vague and disorganized. A good way to screen out any potentially problematic options is to call the dentist’s office ahead of time and speak to someone at the front desk. Ask a few questions and listen carefully to replies. Is the staff member positive and confident? Does she know the answers to your questions and seem knowledgeable, overall? Feel free to ask a question that may throw her off guard, to see how she reacts. “How many complaints do you get? What do patients say when they are upset?” It’s a good sign if they give honest answers that don’t diminish the professionalism of the dental practice.


If your job and home are in different areas, think about accessibility before you start your search. You may wish to have a dentist near one, rather than the other, or you may want a dentist whose office is centrally located.

Ask about office hours before you choose, as well. If there’s a particular day of the week that’s ideal for your appointments, you don’t want to discover down the road that they are closed on that day. Will you schedule your visits in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Make sure your dentist’s office hours are compatible with your predicted schedule.

Topics to Ask About

  • How do you manage dental anxiety?
  • How do you care for active children, or shy children?
  • What’s the cancellation policy at your office?
  • What are your hours and days of operation?
  • What dental technology do you use?
  • What happens if I have an after-hours emergency?
  • Who will perform my cleanings and fluoride treatments?
  • How long has your practice been open?
  • Do you have high staff turnover?
  • Can you text appointment reminders?
  • Will I be able to reach you or your staff by email?
  • Does your office handle insurance claims?
  • Which areas of dentistry are your specialties?
  • What was your favorite part of your education/training?

Ultimately, there are many good dentists just about everywhere. We’re certain you’ll find a dentist that’s right for your family. Plan your search ahead of time, keep an open mind, and trust your gut. You can’t go wrong!

If you are looking for dental care in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, call Carolina Oaks Dental Care and interview one of our friendly dentists. Call us today at 854-836-8416 for a meet-up with Dr. Preston Hamrick.

Dr. Maxwell

Author Dr. Maxwell

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