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Graduating from college can be both an exciting and overwhelming time for students. For most recent college graduates, receiving that college diploma can feel like the very first step that is needed when striving to become a successfully independent adult. In addition to achieving academic goals, another key component to becoming independent is ensuring that you are staying on top of your oral health. Young adults, more often than not, have been known to neglect their oral health by adopting the “invincible” mindset. Furthermore, young adults may also be hesitant to prioritize their oral health due to a lack of dental insurance, traveling and time conflicts, or simply poor oral health literacy. The American Dental Association (ADA), however, strongly discourages that young adults neglect their oral health, stating that regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining not only your oral health but your overall health as well. Whether you have relocated to a new area after graduating or are just simply looking for a new dentist, here are a couple of different steps that you can take to find the perfect fit.

Beginning Your Search

Comfort, convenience, and ease are three important aspects to consider when beginning your search for a new dentist. The best place to start your search in terms of comfort is by asking for recommendations from trusted family, friends, or a previous dentist. If you are still struggling to find a dentist after consulting with friends and loved ones, the American Dental Association is a great resource to check out and even offers an online tool that acts as a directory for ADA member dentists, which can be found here. Some different factors you can keep in mind while browsing different dentists and their offices may include:

  • Does this dental office offer hours that fit within my schedule?
  • Is this dental office in a convenient location nearby by my home or work office?
  • What kind of services does this dental office provide?
  • What kind of costs does this dental office charge?
  • Does this dental office accept my insurance?
  • Does this dental office accommodate after-hour emergency appointments?
  • Does this dental office enforce a late or missed appointment policy?
  • If needed, does this dental office have an on-sight translator available?

Visiting the Dentist and Their Office

Once you have narrowed your search down to a few dentists that you are interested in, it is always a good idea to go check out the office. When visiting the office for the first time, it is important to be mindful of not only the dentist but the office atmosphere as well, prior to scheduling an appointment. Due to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, it is crucial to ensure that your chosen dental office is up to date in following the required sanitizing procedures. In addition to ensuring that your dental office is following the required sanitizing procedures, some other things to look out for prior to booking an appointment may include:

  • Does this dental office appear to be clean and well-kept?
  • Are the employees sterilizing the equipment, instruments, and chairs in between patients?
  • Are the employees (dentists, dental hygienists, administration) wearing masks or face-coverings?
  • Are the dentists and dental hygienists wearing the updated protective gear and gloves?
  • Is this office enforcing a limited capacity policy?
  • Did you feel comfortable interacting with the dentist and other office staff?

In summary, finding a dentist who motivates you to attend consistent dental check-ups is the key to maintaining your overall health. Whether you have recently relocated since graduating from college or are just in need of a new dentist, finding a new dentist doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think.