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5 Tips for Finding the Right Dentist in Manalapan, N.J.

tips for choosing dentist

Perhaps you recently moved to the greater Manalapan, N.J. region, and you’re searching for a new dentist. Or, maybe your old dentist retired, and you need to find a new one to replace them. Sometimes you even have to change dentists because your insurance switched, and you’re no longer covered at your old dentist under your new plan.

Whatever the reason you’re looking for a dentist in Manalapan or Englishtown, New Jersey, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to find a good dentist in Manalapan. We know this area well. We are proud to be part of the community, and we know how to find the perfect dentist to suit your particular needs.

Our guide will explain:

  • What questions to ask a prospective dentist
  • What information to gather about fees and insurance
  • Why you should check out several dentists before making your decision
  • Which new patient benefits you should investigate
  • Why it’s important to meet the dentist before deciding where you’ll go
  • How far is too far to travel to a dentist’s office
  • Why specialties are important for your peace of mind

Finding a new dentist can be a daunting undertaking. We understand the need to pick a dentist you can feel comfortable with and trust. Read on to find out how to choose a good dentist.

Easy Questions To Ask Yourself

You wouldn’t go to the Thompson Grove Dog Park without your dog. You wouldn’t order brunch at Turning Point without checking out the specials on the menu. By that same token, you need to be prepared before you start looking for a new dentist. Here are some things you should think about before diving into the process.

previous dentists characteristics

What Did You Like About Your Previous Dentists?

Before you find a new caregiver of any type — whether it’s a family dentist, ophthalmologist or veterinarian — you should think about the traits you liked in previous caregivers. Do you prefer dentists with a good chair-side manner or those who are whizzes with a drill? Do you like making small-talk with your dentist while they examine your teeth, or do you prefer those who look at your bite in silence?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Everyone is different, and everyone has unique personal preferences. You simply need to be aware of the traits you are most comfortable with before you start looking for your new dentist in Manalapan.

pediatric dental care

Who Will This Dentist Treat?

You may be looking for a dentist to treat your entire family. This could include a wide range of ages, from toddlers to seniors.

Experience with senior care is especially important if you or someone in your household is over age 60 and will be using the dentist along with you. It’s critical they get the best care. Based on our experience at our office, for example, we have noted that active seniors with nonremovable teeth tend to be more engaged and eat a wider variety of foods, because they don’t have to worry about their teeth falling out or breaking when they try to eat something hard. Ask about the prospective dentist’s background with patients 60 and older.

Learn about our background serving patients of all ages >>

distance to dental office

How Far Are You Willing to Travel for Dental Care?

If you live in Manalapan, N.J., you might at first think it’s no big deal to visit a dentist in Cranbury Township. After all, that’s just 11 miles away. However, it takes about 20 minutes to go from Manalapan to Cranbury on a day when all traffic conditions are optimal. Let’s face it, this is New Jersey, and we have a lot of congestion. The traffic conditions are rarely optimal.

Suddenly, you’re looking at a 40-minute or longer commute to a town that’s not all that far away — you’ll need to carve out at least two to two and a half hours for a dental visit. Most people are way too busy to devote that kind of time to commuting to and from the dentist.

It’s probably wise, then, to limit your search to the immediate area. Now only will you have to look at fewer dentists, but it will also cut down on your commute time, an important time-saving measure.

How to Choose a Dentist in New Jersey

After answering those questions, you probably have a much better idea of what you want in your new dentist. Now it’s time to begin your search in earnest. These five tips will ensure you find a dentist who will give you and your family the excellent care you deserve.

Also remember to trust your gut. If you get an off feeling about a dentist, then cross them off your list. Don’t waste time on someone whose personality doesn’t mesh well with yours, or you’ll soon find yourself starting this process all over again.

Tip 1: Ask Other People for Their Input

Begin your search for the right dentist by polling your friends and family members in the greater Manalapan area about whom they recommend for dental work. You can do this many ways, such as:

  • Asking a friend in person
  • Posting the question on Facebook, Twitter or another social media site
  • Talking to other parents at a parent-teacher organization meeting or another school event
  • Discussing it with people at your office, many of whom presumably share your insurance plan

Once you begin to hear feedback, you’ll want to follow up. Ask your friends or family members how long they’ve gone to their dentist and what sort of procedures they’ve undergone beyond the usual cleanings. If you have children, it’s very useful to find out how the dentist interacts with kids and what sort of wait time you’ll be facing at their office. If you have a toddler in the house, you don’t want to be waiting for more than a few minutes for an appointment.

Don’t stop with friends and family. These days, you can find out what a whole lot of people think about a dentist just by doing a quick Google search and checking out the online reviews. Many sites offer reviews of dentists in New Jersey. You may also want to search under “New Jersey dentists” and “dentists near Manalapan” to make sure you get the full results.

online dental reviews

Most reviews will contain both pros and cons about a practice. You can use these to gather information about the dentists you’re considering. If, for instance, you read that a practice has dirty floors but the dentist is extremely personable and very skilled, you’ll have to decide whether you’re willing to risk a dirty office space.

However, take all of these reviews with a grain of salt. Keep in mind:

  • If a review is a few years old, a practice may have changed its outdated décor or gotten rid of a rude office assistant a long time ago.
  • You can’t always be sure someone who claimed to go to a certain dentist actually did. They may have an ax to grind with someone at the office and are getting revenge by filling out false reviews.
  • A patient may have caught a dental office on a bad day. We all have them. Maybe a cavity was missed, or a hygienist’s pick slipped and scraped a gum. If a review is written about one bad experience, you probably don’t want to give it as much weight as another review that includes multiple interactions with a dentist.

By getting other people’s input on your quest to find a new dentist in Manalapan, New Jersey, you should get a sizeable list of options. It’s smart to start with a big list and then whittle it down based on other criteria.

Tip 2: Find out About the Dentist’s Hours and Emergency Care

Another smart idea as you search for your new dentist is to find out what hours the office is open. Even if you have a flexible schedule, there are likely some hours that work better for you and others that don’t. If you have a limited schedule — whether it’s because you work, take care of children or a parent, or are a single parent — you may need night hours to accommodate your busy life.

Call around to each of the offices you are considering and ask them their hours of operation. You also can go to their website, but sometimes information on websites is not updated in a timely fashion. They may have a schedule posted from a few years ago that doesn’t reflect their current hours. Be sure to find out:

  • Whether they are open after 5 p.m. on any weeknights
  • Whether they offer Saturday hours
  • Whether they ever open on Sundays
  • Whether they close the office on Fridays or another day of the week
  • Whether they close early on any weekdays
  • Whether they charge a fee for missed appointments
  • How much time is needed in advance to cancel an appointment

Hours are only part of the equation, though. You also will need to find out about your prospective dentist’s emergency-care options. “My teeth are healthy,” you may be thinking. “I’ve never had so much as a cavity. Why would I need emergency services?”

emergency dental care

You’d be surprised how often these are necessary. A senior takes a tumble down the stairs and breaks a bridge. A teenager gets hit in the mouth with a soccer ball and loses a tooth. You bite down on a piece of hard candy and crack a molar. There are all sorts of reasons you might need emergency care. At that moment when you need it, you don’t want to waste time wondering whether your dentist can open at night, or if you should make the drive to urgent care.

You should ask your prospective dentist’s office:

  • Do they offer emergency services?
  • What hours do emergency services cover?
  • Are emergency visits covered by insurance?
  • Are there extra fees that must be paid for using emergency services?
  • How can you make an emergency services appointment?
  • What services are available in emergencies?
  • Are there any situations where you should go to the hospital or urgent care instead of using the emergency services?

Tip 3: Consider a Dentist Who Hyper-Specializes

Going to a doctor who has a sub-specialty in addition to family dentistry can provide advantages for you and your family. Many specialties exist. For simplicity, let’s use the example of our dentists, Dr. James Courey and Dr. Joseph Zagami, who both have been trained in prosthodontistry, an intensive program that goes beyond general dentistry. Our dentists can develop comprehensive plans to treat serious problems in the mouth. Their education goes further in-depth than the typical training offered to dentists.

previous dentists characteristics

Our prosthodontists can:

  • Use the latest technology to come up with new ways to treat unusual dental woes
  • Treat bite and teeth problems caused by something other than the usual decay
  • Improve the look of smiles by fixing tooth problems from birth defects or accidents
  • Perform oral surgeries that most general dentists aren’t trained to do
  • You’ll save a lot of time if you can stay in-house for as many of your dental procedures as possible rather than having to travel to consult with a specialist. When you go to a prosthodontist, you know that whatever problem comes up, it can be treated by the dentist you’ve already gotten used to through years of dental cleanings.

    prosthodontic specialist dentists

    Tip 4: Ask for the Dentist’s Credentials

    You’ve done your homework. You’ve checked out a practice’s reputation and its hours, and you’re comfortable with the specializations the dentist offers. The next step is to investigate the credentials of the dentist you’re considering:

      First, you’ll want to find out where the dentist went to undergraduate and dental school.
    • Find out if they received any specialty certificates, for the reasons outlined above — specialties are very useful at a family dentist.
    • Ask if they’ve done any continuing education over the years. Our Dr. Zagami, for instance, has training in Nobel Bio-Care Surgical Program and has completed other programs through the American Dental Association (ADA) and American College of Prosthodontics.
    • Speaking of the ADA, you’ll want to make sure any dentist you are considering is certified by the American Dental Association. This means the office follows the recommendations and best practices laid out by the ADA.

    In addition to formal credentials, you may want to consider a dentist’s informal credentials. How long have they been practicing? Have they been in the Manalapan area for a while? Have they received any honors, such as being voted one of the state’s top dentists by their peers? Have they had any Better Business Bureau complaints against them?

    Tip 5: Visit the Office

    It’s time to pare down your list to just two or three finalists. Once you’ve noted the dentists’ credentials and decided if their office is close enough to your home for a comfortable commute, you should schedule a visit to each of your remaining candidates. Here’s what this visit should entail:

    • Most dentists’ offices will allow you to set up a meeting to introduce yourself to the staff, ask questions and get comfortable with them. No actual work is done on your teeth at this visit.
    • Many offices have a new patient liaison who can answer your lingering questions about billing and other practical matters. They will also be in charge of tracking down your dental history and any X-rays you had done at your last dentist.
    • You may want to schedule some time with a dental hygienist. This team member will be important to your experience at a new dental office in Manalapan, N.J. They will do the biannual cleanings and give an initial heads up on any potential problems to the dentist.
    • You might also want to get some time with the dentist. Some people have very specific questions for the dentist, especially if they’ve had jaw, mouth or tooth issues in the past.
    • The main reason for speaking with the dentist will be to gauge how your personalities fit together. Sometimes a prospective patient hits it off with a dentist right away. Sometimes there’s no connection. That doesn’t mean the dentist is bad, or the patient is a cold fish. Some personalities simply don’t fit together, and it’s better to realize this before you move all your records over and get halfway through your first cleaning.
    • If you have a good feeling about the dentist, and you are satisfied that your pre-appointment background checks thoroughly vetted them, you may want to fill out any forms the office requires before your first appointment. That way, you’ll be ready to hop in the chair when you come in for your cleaning or other procedure.
    • Finally, before you leave, remember to ask if the dentist’s office has any special programs for new patients. They may give new children an extra prize from the treasure chest at their first appointment or offer referral incentives if you send other business their way.

    Looking for a Dentist in Manalapan, New Jersey? Consider Us!

    By using the tips throughout this guide, you can find the right dentist in Manalapan for you and your family. While the search may seem daunting, the town has many wonderful dental options. Of course, we’d love if you decided to give Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey a try. We’re building great smiles, every day! Contact us to set up an appointment today.