Click below to listen to our Consumerpedia podcast episode on how to find a good dentist.

Chomping your favorite grub. Flashing your killer smile during a Zoom meeting or a get together. Opening plastic packaging that defies fingers. There are myriad reasons to keep our teeth feeling and looking good, including boosting your overall physical and mental health. If you don’t have a top dentist, finding one should be at the top of your healthcare agenda.

If you’re in the market for a new dentist, we can help you find a good one. In the articles below, we review points to keep in mind when choosing a dentist, dental diseases and how they can be treated, and how best to care for your own teeth. We also discuss how to keep down costs. You’ll want to check prices: We found that some dentists charge more than twice as much as others for the same procedures. Fortunately, using a dentist with low fees doesn’t mean you have to forsake quality. We found that many of the dentists who receive high ratings on our surveys of patients also charge below-average fees.

If you live in one of the seven metro where we survey consumers about local service providers, check out our ratings of dentists . For general dentists, we report patient reviews for dentists who received at least 10 ratings on our surveys of consumers. See a general care dentist for routine procedures (cleanings, most restorations), but consider a specialist for procedures such as oral or periodontal surgery, implants, extensive bridgework, and difficult root canals.

Since general care dentists may also provide these services, weigh the pros and cons of using your regular dentist versus a specialist for them. Our ratings of dental specialists report patient reviews plus indicate which were recommended most often by other dentists who we surveyed.

Be suspicious if a new dentist recommends far more treatment than your previous one did—for instance, if suddenly many silver fillings need to be replaced, several teeth need to be crowned, or your gums need extensive surgery. This is an area where we receive frequent complaints in our surveys of patients. It’s good practice for the dentist to provide a written treatment plan. If the proposed treatment is extensive, consider getting a second opinion.