The dentist you choose is going to be a partner in your long-term oral health. As a result, you need to ensure you find the right one. While most people know finding a dentist takes some effort and consideration, finding a great local dentist that accepts your insurance policy can be an exhausting process. There are hundreds of different dental insurance providers out there and if you want to ensure your coverage is going to take care of your dental needs, you need to find a dentist that accepts it.
How to Find a Great Local Dentist that Accepts Your Insurance
While this may seem like an impossible and daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. With the tips here you can easily find a great local dentist that accepts your insurance. Keep in mind, if you wind up choosing a dentist out of your network, then you could end up facing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in dental care expenses that won’t be covered. When you have insurance, there is no reason to face these types of bills. With a bit of time and effort, you can find the right dentist for your needs.
Ask for Recommendations
The first step to finding a great dentist is to ask people you know for recommendations. While asking family and friends is a given, you should also ask your co-workers. This is especially true if you have dental insurance through your employer. After all, if someone in your office loves their dentist, there is a good chance that person will provide quality care and will also accept your insurance plan. However, if you are unsure, once you have a few recommendations, call the dental office and ask if they accept your insurance coverage.
Use Your Insurance Company’s Website
With most major dental insurance providers you can use their website to easily and quickly search for a list of local dentists near you. Each insurance provider is different but most websites will ask for your address or zip code and then will provide you with a list of dentists closest to your location. Other insurance providers may list local dentists alphabetically so be sure to select multiple dentists and do some more research before immediately booking an appointment just because they accept your insurance coverage.
If your insurance provider doesn’t offer a search feature on it’s website, or if it’s outdated and difficult to navigate, then it may be wise to speak with your employer’s HR department. Your employer or HR department will likely be able to provide you with a list of dentists that accept the company’s insurance coverage.
Either way, take some time to review the list carefully before moving on. This is an important step and one you shouldn’t rush through.
Call Each Potential Dentist on Your List
You should now have a list of at least 5-8 local dentists that accept your insurance coverage. Next, you’re going to want to narrow down your options so you can find the best local dentist that accepts your insurance.
To get started narrowing down your options, take a few minutes to call the office of each dentist. Here’s a few things to ask and consider when speaking with them:
- First, always confirm that the dentist accepts your insurance and ask how much you’ll pay for your regular 6 month checkups and exams.
- Next, make sure the dentist provides the dental services you need. Some dentists have specialties or only work with children or adults. Choosing a family dentist is usually a safe option because they typically provide a wide range of general dental services for both adults and children.
- What are the dentist’s hours? Do the office and appointment times fit your busy schedule? You’re not going to want to miss work or rush on your lunch break every time you need to see the dentist.
- Does the dental office offer emergency services? You may not have an emergency right now but it’s always a good idea to work with a local dentist that provides emergency services just in case.
Make notes throughout each call and include a note about your “first impression” when speaking with them. Did they sound friendly, were they rushing to get you off the phone or sound annoyed to be speaking with you? These first impressions will often tell you a lot about the offices quality of care. Cross any dentists off your list that didn’t meet your needs and move on to the next step.
Do an Online Search of the Remaining Dentists on Your List
Remember, just because a dentist accepts your insurance plan doesn’t necessarily mean they deserve your business. Also, just because the receptionist was friendly on the phone, doesn’t mean they provide great services. When you’re researching the business, you’re looking out for a couple important things;
- Make sure the dentist and/or the dental practice shows up as a local dentist
- Click the link to the practice’s website and look over the website – you can learn a lot about a dental practice from their website
- Look for any ratings and reviews from the dentist’s previous patients (Check Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades)
To maximize your search results, use this search sequence; “Dr. [FIRST NAME] [LAST NAME] [CITY] [STATE]”. For example, if you were searching for Dr. Ghassan Abboud in Chicago, IL, your search would look like this: “Dr. Ghassan Abboud Chicago, IL”
As you can see from the results above, Google can easily find Dr. Ghassan Abboud listed on 1stfamilydental.com. Taking this extra time to search for the dentist confirms that they’re still a local dentist in your area, that they have an online presence, and that there are previous patients that have been willing to publicly endorse the dentist or practice with 4-5 star reviews across multiple directory sites.
Call the Office, Confirm Your Insurance is Accepted, and Book Your Appointment
You should now have at least one reputable local dentist that accepts your insurance plan. The final step is to call their office, ask any final questions, confirm one more time that they accept your insurance, and then book your appointment.
IMPORTANT REMINDER! Expiration of Benefits
Your insurance benefits may be expiring at the end of the year! Unfortunately, dental insurance benefits don’t roll over to the next year so make sure you use them before they expire. If you’ve already reached your deductible for this year, pushing off any major or costly procedures to next year could cost you hundreds more in out-of-pocket expenses. Don’t wait, visit your dentist before the year over.
Have questions about your benefits? We can help! Contact us today.
Looking for a great selection of family dentists in Chicago, Addison, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Elgin, La Grange Park, or Roselle, Illinois? If so, click the call button below to connect with our call center where we can quickly confirm your insurance and get you an appointment scheduled in just a matter of minutes, or click the “Book An Appointment” button to book online.
Join Us In the Comments!
Thanks for your tip to choose a dentist that accepts your insurance and is well-liked by others who have used him/her. I also like how you mentioned that they should be local to you as well. My husband and I are looking for a good dentist in our neighborhood that is reputable and accepts our insurance.
Great advice about making sure the dentist is in your network first. My family recently moved to a new state and we are trying to find a new dentist. I’ll have to remember that as I narrow down my selection.
I liked how you said that finding a good dentist can start with asking friends, family, or coworkers for recommendations. I recently moved to a new state but was able to find a dentist because a few of my colleagues recommended the same one. I think keeping up on your preventative visits is very important and can save you money in the long run.
I always ask for recommendations from friends about what dentist to go to, but have never thought of checking my insurance company’s website. What a great idea! I will do that while looking for a dentist so I don’t have to worry about my dentist not taking my insurance. Thanks for this post, it was extremely informative!
I completely agree with your advice about calling to confirm that a dentist office accepts your insurance. I once went straight into a clinic to book an appointment and found that I couldn’t get my insurance accepted there, which led to an awkward situation for me. Ever since then, I make sure to always call the dentists and doctors that I am looking into to see if they would be a good fit.
I really like that you mentioned making a list of 5-8 potential dentists that can accept your insurance and that you should call to check that they meet the requirements needed. My husband and I are looking to get a new dentist since we moved to a new area and got new insurance. This article was so helpful at showing me to the steps to take so that I can find a dentist for us.
My husband and I have been looking into getting a good family dentist but we don’t really know where to start in the choosing process. I like what you said about getting recommendations from your friends and family in order to find the right dentist. This is a really good tip, thanks for sharing!
Thank you for letting me know that I should be able to go onto my insurance’s website and find a list of local dentist’s that should accept it. My family just moved and I need to find a dental office to start taking my kids into. I’ll be sure to first put in my zip code online to see what dentist’s closest to me will accept my coverage.
My wife has been looking for some good general dentistry options for us after moving to a new area, and I think that being able to utilize the internet like you talked about would be helpful. You wrote about being able to make sure the general dentistry practice shows up as being local, which I think would be important for us so we don’t find the perfect dentist too far away! I’m going to have to share your article with my wife, and hopefully we can use your tips to find some good general dentistry for ourselves!
I appreciate that you mentioned to call the potential dentists and to make sure they provide the service that you need. It’s a great way to make sure that they are the right choice for you, as well as learning what else they offer. Perhaps they offer something that you hadn’t considered you needed before. Having that conversation is a great way to get the information you need.
I think your suggestion to ask for recommendations from family and friends is a great idea. I think this would be a great way to gather a couple leads to follow up on so you can find the best dentist possible. I know I’d definitely trust a referral from a friend a lot easier than from my insurance provider.
Thank you for this wonderful post. This post describes tips for choosing a dentist without any hassle. Yeah, It’s tough to find local professional dentist but above given tips are really helpful to find the right one without any difficulty.
It is good to know that one should call each potential person on your list when it comes to finding a dentist. I like what was said about first confirming that the service will accept your insurance. Another thing to check for would be to find if the dentist is capable of working with people of all ages if you have children.
That is a great point, Jade. Family and pediatric dentists are usually more well-equipped to work with younger kids.
My wife and I have been thinking about going to a new dentist, but we weren’t sure how to choose the right one. I really like your point about calling the office to confirm that your insurance is accepted. It would be nice to know that you have a good dentist that won’t break the bank.
I like your idea to research a dentist online before choosing. One thing I like to check is what kind of anesthesia a dentist offers. I always like to find one that offers nitrous oxide (laughing gas) at no additional charge during treatments.