Finding a great dentist in Oregon may not seem difficult. After all, a dentist is a dentist, right? Wrong! The truth is, not all dentists are created equal.

If you want to maintain a healthy smile for years to come, there are important skills and knowledge your dentist should have. Equally important is a dentist who genuinely cares about your health and provides a personalized approach.

Keep reading for a guide on how to identify a great dentist. You’ll learn what constitutes a “great dentist,” important questions to ask when evaluating a dentist, and why having a highly trained dentist is vital to your health.

The Importance of Choosing a Great Dentist

The first step in understanding how to identify the best dentist is learning why it’s so important.

  • Low-quality dental work is detrimental to not just your oral health, but your overall health.
  • Dental Issues could go undetected with a dentist who does not employ the latest technology.
  • With a great dentist you’ll feel more comfortable, and are more likely to visit regularly. This will incentivize you to take better care of your teeth at home, too.

What to Look for in a Dentist

A Holistic Approach to Treatment

Dentistry isn’t and shouldn’t just be about filling cavities. This old-school “drill and fill” mindset doesn’t belong anywhere in a modern dental office. Instead, you want to choose a dentist who takes a more comprehensive approach to your dental health, focusing on your overall health and preventative care.

A dentist who takes this long-term and minimally invasive approach will be committed to helping you keep your natural teeth and maximizing your dental health. When visiting a new dentist, ask them about their approach to treatment.

Training & Continuing Education

Every dentist receives a basic dental education while in dental school. However, you should work with a dentist who continues to learn new dental skills and technology. This type of dentist is qualified to provide the best possible care to their patients.

Signs a dentist takes lifelong learning seriously:

  • The dentist is constantly expanding his or her knowledge base with certified dental continuing education courses.
  • The dentist was selected for a general practice residency program following dental school. The selection for these programs is competitive– only those who graduated at the top of their dental school class are considered– and involves additional training in specific areas of care. Residency programs may focus on: implants, cosmetic restorations, or conscious sedation.
  • The dentist has proven years of experience and keeps up on the latest techniques and technology. Or if a dentist is more recently out of dental school, make sure he/she is being mentored by an experienced and highly trained dentist.


Is the dentist committed to using the best high-tech advancements in dental care? Using quality technology ensures you’ll receive state-of-the-art treatment, and allows for early detection of critical gum and tooth issues. Pain is the last symptom that a tooth is unhealthy and detecting problems early can make the difference between saving or losing a tooth.

A dentist who is proactive in offering the latest proven technology and understands how and when to use it has your best interests in mind. Without this technology, severe dental issues may go undetected until it’s too late.

Review a dentist’s website to find out what specialized, high-tech treatments are provided. Here are a few revolutionary technologies your dentist should provide:

  • CEREC Single Visit Crowns– This technology allows you to receive a beautiful crown in just a single visit to the dentist. It’s the safest, most effective method for restoring your teeth.
  • Digital X-Rays and 3D CBCT Imaging– Advanced x-ray technology allows for early detection of serious dental issues and is a highly versatile and useful diagnostic tool.
  • Dental Lasers– Dental lasers allow for minimally invasive dental treatments. Lasers help you experience less bleeding, swelling, and numbness.
  • Mercury-Free Restorations– There are better and safer options available than mercury fillings. Composite fillings offer many advantages over traditional mercury fillings.

A Supportive and Comfortable Environment

Good service is appreciated in every field, but especially so in dentistry. You deserve top-notch care from the first moment you walk into the dental office. A good dentist not only cares about the health of your teeth but also your overall comfort.

For many people, going to the dentist can be nerve-wracking and anxiety-laden. A dentist who goes the extra mile to provide a comfortable experience is one who truly cares about you and your dental health.

Look for a dental practice that puts patients first by providing:

  • A friendly, high-touch team
  • An inviting reception area with patient amenities
  • Payment plan options
  • One-on-one personal care from your dentist

When determining how a dental practice treats its patients, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are people saying about the practice online on sites like Yelp or Google?
  • Are they welcoming? (Is it easy to navigate the website, find patient information forms, reach the practice by phone?)
  • How am I treated by the front desk staff over the phone?
  • Does the dentist offer complimentary consultations? What about free second opinions?
  • What other special patient-focused features does the practice provide?

Specialized Dental Services

Your dentist should offer a range of specialized dental services. This is important in order to receive comprehensive and knowledgeable dental treatment. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your dentist can expertly guide you through any dental health issues.

As you evaluate a dentist, ensure the dentist offers specialized dentistry services in these four major categories:

  1. General Dentistry– Includes fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, sedation, and sleep apnea treatments
  2. Cosmetic Dentistry– Includes teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, cosmetic bonding, and CEREC single visit crowns
  3. Implant Dentistry– A natural looking, undetectable replacement for missing teeth
  4. Preventative Dentistry– Includes cleanings and exams, x-rays/imaging, laser treatments, early cavity detection, and oral cancer screenings

Although not required for good dental care, also look for a dentist involved in giving back to his or her community by partnering with local non-profits. This will give you confidence knowing your dentist is committed to your local community.

A High-Touch, High-Tech Dentist You Can Trust

At Timberhill Dental, we use advanced dental technology combined with a personalized and relaxed style. Dr. Black and the rest of the Timberhill Dental staff are committed to maximizing your comfort while providing minimally invasive dental treatments with top-notch results.

If you’re searching for a new dentist in Corvallis, Oregon or the surrounding area, give us a call at (541) 754-0144. We would be happy to answer any of your questions, schedule you for a free consultation or second opinion, or get you set up for your New Patient appointment.