Office News |12 min read

Find a Dentist

Types Of Dentists | Specialists | Type Of Work You Need | Insurance | 3 Questions To Ask | A Dirty Little Secret


This report has a super important “Dirty Little Secret” that can protect you and your family. This dirty little secret is “Inside Information” that most dentists would prefer not to discuss.

Okay … Let’s dive right in.

Maybe you’ve moved or changed jobs. Perhaps it’s time to look for a new dentist.

You need a dentist, and you don’t know where to start. It would be great if you could find a dentist nearby.

When you ask “Siri” to find “The best dentist near me,” it is easy to become overwhelmed. There are so many choices.

How do you know who’s good?

How do you know where to start?

Do you have any specific needs or wants?

Example: Are you a nervous or anxious patient?

Some dentists have “No Patience” (No pun intended) for nervous patients. I have seen dentists get downright nasty with anxious patients.

Do you want a dentist who does Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation Dentistry is “Pain-Free Dentistry” done in a relaxing environment.

If you currently have a dentist…

What do you like about your dentist?

What don’t you like?


Schedule for an exam and consultation. A “Meet & Greet.” Use the “Meet & Greet” as an opportunity to check out a dentist, their staff, and their office.

Is their office neat and clean?

Does it appear organized?

Do you like the way the dentist interacts with his or her staff?

If you have recently seen a dentist and you know you will need work, you could schedule a “Second Opinion Consult.” A “Second Opinion Consult” will allow you to check out an office.

1. Do you know what type of dentist you are looking for?

Types of Dentists

General Dentist

General Dentists provide all types of services. General dentists include family dentists and cosmetic dentists.

They are kind of like a football quarterback when you need comprehensive work done. They call the plays.

Many general dentists feel comfortable providing all types of services.

The services they provide depend upon their training and interests.

Services often include cleanings, checkups, fillings, root canals, crowns, extractions, implants, dentures, and orthodontics.

You might ask the dentist if there is a particular type of continuing education or dentistry that they enjoy.

Do they enjoy doing cosmetic dentistry, oral surgery, or implants?

Do they like doing Invisalign?

Do they do most procedures?

Some General Dentists somewhat limit their practice.

If there is a treatment you need and the general dentist does not do that type of work, they may wind up referring you out to a specialist.

Every time you have to go to a new office (specialty office), you must go through a whole process. It can be a hassle.

Plus, you may not like some of the specialists that the general dentist sends you to see.

family dentist will often focus on seeing the whole family.

Some family dentists will not see young children under a certain age.

If you have children, you might ask at what age the office starts seeing kids.

The general dentist may refer your child to a pediatric specialist if your child is below a certain age.

Do you want a cosmetic dentist?

cosmetic dentist is a general dentist who likes to do porcelain veneers, crowns, and anything related to appearance.

A Cosmetic Dentist is not a specialist.

  • There is no sanctioned Cosmetic Dentistry specialty.
  • A cosmetic dentist is a self-appointed title.
  • A cosmetic dentist is a general dentist who likes to focus on appearance.

A cosmetic dentist may suggest work based upon appearance and not related to decay or broken teeth.

With today’s technology, everyone can have a great-looking smile.


Specialists: Endodontists, Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons, Orthodontists, Periodontists, Prosthodontists, and Pediatric Dentists all have specialty degrees. Specialty degrees involve additional years of training in specialty programs.

Endodontists: An endodontist is a root canal specialist.

Typically you would be referred to an endodontist by your general dentist if they don’t do root canals.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a dentist who specializes in extractions, implants jaw and face surgeries.

Many oral surgeons have a dual degree. They are both an oral surgeon and an MD (Medical Doctor).

Typically patients are referred to an oral surgeon by their General Dentist.

Orthodontist: An orthodontist a dentist who specializes in correcting crooked and misaligned teeth and jaws.

Their treatment typically includes braces, retainers, aligners and Invisalign (Invisalign)

Invisalign. “Invisalign is a registered trademark of Align Technology, Inc.” .

Many patients are referred to an orthodontist by their general dentist.

Periodontist: A periodontist specializes in gum problems.

Periodontists also do implants and some extractions.

Usually, a general dentist will make a referral to a Periodontist if they do not do a procedure.

Prosthodontist: A prosthodontist is a specialist who restores badly damaged teeth.

Prosthodontists make crowns, bridges, dentures, and restore implants. Some prosthodontists also place implants.

Many prosthodontists depend upon general dentists for referrals.

Pediatric Dentists: Pediatric Dentists specialize in seeing children and young adults.

2. What type of dental work do you need?

When you search for “best dentist near me” or “dentist near me”, the search results may bring up both general dentists and specialists.

You need to know what type of work you want or need.

If you are in pain, you are probably looking for an Emergency Dentist who can see you the same day. Not all practices will accommodate emergencies.

Do you have a history of frequent cavities, extensive procedures or extractions?

You may want a dentist who can do extractions and place implants.

Do you want a great-looking new smile? Then you are probably looking for a dentist who has experience doing cosmetic work.

3. In your search query, you need to ask, Does the best dentist near me accept insurance?

Not every office accepts insurance.

If the office accepts insurance, does the office accept the type of insurance that you have?

4. Is the best dentist near me in my insurance network?

When a dentist is “In-Network,” they sign a contract that says they will be paid a reduced fee in return for being in the network.

The goal of being “In-Network” is so that the dentist will get more patients.

Your insurance provider or employer should have a list of participating Dentists in your network.

Choosing a participating dentist may not be an essential criterion if your mouth is healthy.

If you need extensive work, finding a dentist “In-Network” may be necessary for financial reasons.

If you choose a dentist “Out of Network,” you will probably pay more out of pocket.

In some cases, you may not be able to use your insurance if you choose a dentist out of network.

The two most important questions to ask are:

  1. Do you like your dentist?
  2. Do you trust your dentist?

If you don’t like or trust your dentist, then it doesn’t matter who you see for treatment.

It’s a problem.

5. What if my current dentist is not In-Network with my new insurance? Should I change dentists?

It depends.

A dentist is a very personal choice.

Dentistry is more of an art than a science.

Some dentists are very aggressive in their treatment recommendations. Other dentists are more conservative.

If you love your current dentist and your mouth is healthy and you don’t need a lot of work, stay with your current dentist.

6.Is it important to find a dentist who is a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?

A dentist has to pay to be a member of the American Dental Association.

The ADA does not oversee the quality of care.

The American Dental Association offers its members many advantages of being in a group, such as continuing education and clinical resources.

There are many dental organizations. Each organization has its code of ethics and guidelines.

7. How to find the best dentist near me?

Besides looking online for the “best dentist near me,” there are several additional ways to find a good dentist.

1. Ask a friend, family member, or a person you trust.

You want to find someone who loves their dentist. If they say their dentist is “OK,” I would look further.

2. You could ask for a referral from your physician. Your physician has probably checked out the dentists they recommend.

3. You could ask a Pharmacist. A pharmacist would most likely know of a lot of dentists.

4. You could search the database of the American Dental Association or call your local dental society.

While neither the American Dental Association nor your local dental society would supervise the quality of care, they would be involved with continuing education.

5. Check State Licensing and Board Certifications.

Nobody is perfect. I would not necessarily expect perfection.

However, occasionally you may be surprised at what you find. In which case I would look for another dentist.

3 Questions To Ask

8. 3 questions to ask a potential new Dentist.

1. The following question is kind of a tricky question to ask.

It can seem kind of weird if not asked at the appropriate time.

You might even make a joke about the following question.

I would ask, “How are your teeth?”

I don’t know about you, but I always want my health practitioners to be an example of health. I want them to be an inspiration.

If they say something like, “I am always having problems.” I would be very, very concerned about going to that dentist. If they can’t keep themselves in good shape, how will they be able to help me?

2. What are your regular hours?

3. How do you handle emergencies?
Can I get in the same day if I have an emergency?


In your search for the best dentist near me, there is ONE NON NEGOTIABLE!

It’s a dirty little secret that most dentists would prefer not to discuss.

Please Note: The following information is my personal feelings about sterilization. It is not necessarily a mandated standard.


Sterilization has always been a big issue, today even more so.

I hope the following does not come across as harsh, mean or difficult.

I didn’t want to hold anything back in your search for “The Best Dentist Near Me”.

I wanted to give you “Insider Information.”

So I decided to include the following information.

I would ask the dentist if they use a “New Bur” for every patient.

You will probably catch the dentist off guard. It will definitely seem like a weird question.

They may ask, “How do you know about that?”

Tell them you read a report about “How To Find The Best Dentist Near Me”.

I am sure they will tell you they sterilize their burs.

Tell them that you are glad they sterilize their burs.

It’s important to sterilize burs. It works. It’s good.

I would not let a dentist touch me or any family member if they do not use a new “Single Use” bur.

In a nice way, I would thank the dentist for their time and find a dentist who uses “Single Use” – “New Burs” for every patient!

To make my point: One time I got in a discussion with my

friend (Dr. Darrell). He was giving me a song and dance about how he did not need a new bur for every patient and how he sterilized his burs.

I asked him, “What would you do if your kids were sitting in your chair.”

That was the end of the conversation.

He said you’re right. I understand the point your are making.

He just did not want to spend a few extra bucks to protect his patients.

A bur is the piece that cleans out decay and is used to shape your tooth. A bur is also called a drill bit.


Burs are cheap. They cost anywhere from $1 to approximately $5 or $10.

Many offices try to save money by using burs on more than 1 patient.

Burs cut teeth.

Burs are like a surgeon’s scalpel.

What would you say if you knew a surgeon was reusing a scalpel to do operations on different patients?

You’d probably say he’s nuts!

You want to do everything you can to eliminate the possibility of cross contamination.

Cross contamination is when you get an infection from another person or thing.

If cross contamination is not enough of a reason to use a new bur for every patient … what about the following?

A new bur works much better, faster and generates less heat on your tooth than a bur that is being reused.

When burs are reused they become dull. The dentist has to push harder on your tooth which means more trauma to your tooth.

For the few bucks it costs … The answer is obvious.

Always use a new bur

If you need a root canal, I would ask the dentist if they use new root canal files for every patient.

Root canal files are the instruments the dentist uses to clean out your tooth.

I believe every tooth having a root canal should have new instruments used.

Again, for what it costs, it’s just not worth it to take a chance by reusing a root canal file.

Attempting to sterilize and reuse root canal files would cause me to immediately leave an office.

An autoclave is the machine used to sterilize instruments.

I would ask a potential new dentist if they “Spore Test” their autoclave weekly.

A “Spore Test” verifies that an autoclave is working properly to sterilize instruments.


Some of the topics and questions above have been difficult and uncomfortable to write about.

I really want you to be protected.

I want you to get the best results possible.

1. Know what type of dentist you are looking for.

2. Other ways to find a good dentist beside asking Siri to find the best dentist near me:
. Ask a friend, family member or a person your trust
. Ask your physician
. Ask a pharmacist
. Search the database of the American Dental Association or your local dental society
. Verify State Licensing and Board Certifications

3. Ask what hours the office is normally open?

4. How does the office handle emergencies?

5. Does the dentist accept my insurance?

6. Is the dentist in my insurance network?

7. DIRTY SECRET – STERILIZATION: Single use burs, single use root canal instruments and autoclave spore testing is a non negotiable.


Invisalign. “Invisalign is a registered trademark of Align Technology, Inc.”

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