Finding the perfect dentist for you is not an easy task. Most of us simply make do with the dentist we have, unless they make a glaring mistake. Since almost all dentists are licensed, and insured, no single dentist referral source can accurately claim their dentists are the best. Besides your experience with that dentist is the only one that matters to you. Still, it's a good idea to ask those who have experience with either the general dentist, or specialist, you are considering.
Word of mouth is a great point of reference for dental quality care, but hardly the only one, since for all the good experiences others have had with a specific dentist, there are also those who's procedures did not work out as hoped. Even if someone has had a negative experience with a dentist, it does not mean the dentist isn't qualified, or capable. People's expectations have a way of coloring their views.
Here are some basic questions you should ask of the dentist you are considering:
When are their office hours? Is their office convenient to public transportation, or do they provide parking?
How do they handle emergency situations? Some dentists are available after hours, while others use a referral service.
What types of anesthesia is the dentist certified to give?
Does the dentist strongly believe in heading off dental problems before they start?
Ask the dentist to estimate the cost of common procedures like a cleaning, filling, or dental X-ray.
Does the dentist participate in your dental insurance plan? What form of payment do they accept? Do they offer adiscount for one form of payment over another. Can paperwork be done online, or in advance?
Are they currently licensed, without Board Review, and do they have insurance?