How To Pick The Best Dentist In Bakersfield, California 

How To Pick The Best Dentist In Bakersfield, California 

Finding the right Bakersfield dentist for yourself and your family will put you on track to enjoy years of good oral health and solutions to any dental problems you have now. It’s important to make this decision carefully to ensure you feel comfortable under your dentist’s care and look forward to appointments rather than putting them off.

If you are currently in great pain and need immediate attention, look for a reputable dental office or dentistry school that offers 24/7 emergency dental services. Otherwise, invest some time thinking about what is important for you in a dentist, create a short list of potential candidates, and whittle down your list until you find a dentist to whom you’re happy to entrust your dental care.

The following are good factors to consider when choosing a dentist in Bakersfield.

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What Kind Of Dental Care Are You Looking For?

The nature of the dental care you are looking for will determine the kind of dentist you need. Dental implants need to be handled by an experienced implant dentist rather than a general dentist. For example, dental implant specialist Dimitri Salin, DDS is a member of the American Dental Association and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and specializes in dental implants. A more generalized service like oral health examinations and teeth cleanings can be found at any dental office. 

Consider the following dental specialties:

  • Reconstructive dentist
  • Cosmetic dentist
  • Pediatric dentist
  • Geriatric dentist
  • Sleep dentist
  • Endodontist
  • Periodontist
  • Orthodontist
  • Prosthodontist
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
  • Oral and maxillofacial radiologist
  • Oral and maxillofacial pathologist
  • Orofacial pain specialist
  • Sleep dental specialist

All of these specialists offer services that are tailored to certain needs. Research the specialties that may be relevant to your oral health needs before starting to look for a dentist in Bakersfield.

Consider Your Dental Insurance Coverage

92.2% of the population of Bakersfield, CA has health coverage (which may or may not include dental coverage, depending on the plan). This means that insurance coverage will be an important factor for many Bakersfield residents when choosing a dentist. 

Dental insurance providers typically have “in-network” dentists who offer lower rates to policyholders and may also provide an option to claim up to a certain amount spent on necessary dental work with any ADA-certified dentist. In addition to the eligibility of the dentist, be sure to check that your policy covers the dental work you intend to have done and whether there are any limitations or waiting periods.

Consider The Dentist’s Location And Hours

It’s important to choose a dentist who is located near your home or work and who opens at times when you are available. It would be inefficient to travel all the way to Gosford if you live in West Park Community and there’s a good clinic nearby. Likewise, if you are free in the early morning, look for a dental office that is open at that time rather than one that only opens in the afternoon.

What Is Your General Approach To Healthcare?

Patients, like medical professionals, have a wide range of preferences and approaches when it comes to healthcare. It’s important to look for a dentist who shares or comes close to your basic outlook on health. Think about whether you:

  • Wish to take a preventative or primarily “after-the-fact” approach to your dental health
  • Wish to support your oral health through nutrition as well as oral hygiene and restorations
  • Wish to take a more conservative or aggressive approach to issues like tooth decay
  • Want to work with a dentist who is more “mainstream,” one who specializes in alternative and complementary medicine, or one who offers a blend of both

Do You Have Fear Or Anxiety About Going To The Dentist?

People with dental anxiety should look for a dentist who is patient, compassionate, comforting, and uses comfort-promoting techniques such as twilight sedation. A 2017 study showed that more than 20% of people with dental anxiety avoid visiting the dentist regularly and around 9 to 15% don’t go at all. The right dentist will help you feel at ease so that you are happy to go for routine preventative dental care visits and have any issues treated before they become worse.

How To Find Eligible Bakersfield Dentists

To find an excellent dentist in Bakersfield:

  1. Identify which kind of dental professional you need. Use the list provided above to work out which kind of dentist or dental specialist you need. This will narrow down the field considerably and help you find the right dentist faster.
  2. Prepare a short list of questions to ask a prospective dentist. These questions should be based on your needs and preferences as outlined above. You can ask prospective dentists these questions either in an email or in person and will quickly get a feel for the candidates that are best suited to your needs.
  • Ask family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations. The best way to find an excellent dentist in your neighborhood is usually to ask other people who live there. Some of your family members, friends, and neighbors will almost certainly have required dental care at some point (or know someone who did) and can tell you which local dental professionals provided the best experience.
  • Ask a medical professional for a referral. Physicians and pharmacists will often be able to refer you to a top dentist based on their personal experience or their knowledge of medical professionals who practice in the area.
  • Search community-based databases. Yellow Pages,,, Birdeye, and Google are great places to find a dentist near you., Birdeye,, and Google Reviews additionally provide independent ratings and reviews from other patients who have had experience with each dentist on the list.
  • Search dental association databases. Each dental association (the American Dental Association and others) should have a list of its members that you can search for dentists located in Bakersfield. 
  • Check your dental insurance network’s list. Your dental insurance provider will have a list of in-network dentists that you can search for a dentist in your area.
  • Perform a Google search. Search for “best dentist in bakersfield” or simply “dentists in bakersfield” in Google and you should see a list of review sites, directories, and professional websites of dentists in Bakersfield. You can also search for “best dentist near me” and you will see a list of local dentists with their locations marked on a map.
  • Browse individual dentists’ websites and ask questions. Dentist websites typically provide information about the general and specialty services each dentist offers in addition to their overall approach to oral health. You can often write to individual dentists through their websites to ask questions before making an appointment to go in person.
  • Double-check the dentist’s accreditations, board certification, and licensure. Once you have shortlisted a few potential dentists, check their accreditations and board certification. You can check dental accreditations by searching for the dentist’s name in the relevant dental association databases. You can verify board certification on the American Board of Dental Specialties (ABDS) website.
  • Go to the dental office in person. The final step when choosing a dentist in Bakersfield is to go to his or her dental office in person. See how comfortable you feel in the space and take note of the way the dentists and support staff treat you. The right dentist will be patient, empathetic, and more than happy to explain procedures and treatment options in detail to put you at ease. 

Red Flags To Look Out For

Just as there are signs that indicate an excellent dentist, there are warning signs that can help you avoid a bad experience. Reject a potential dentist if:

  • The dental office is dirty or disorganized.
  • The dentist or support staff are unhelpful, impatient, or rude.
  • The dentist indicates the need for much more extensive or invasive treatments than you expected and cannot provide evidence to show that they are truly necessary.
  • The dentist discourages you from seeking out a second opinion.
  • The dentist provides no evidence of active professional accreditation.
  • The dentist cannot provide references or testimonials from other patients.
  • The dentist does not consider or respect other points of view.
  • You feel uncomfortable with the dentist.

Due Diligence Sets You Up For Success

Choosing a dentist is an important decision and one that can have a significant impact on your long-term oral health. Begin by defining what you need in a dentist and use the tips above to generate a list of potential candidates that you can narrow down with questions and in-person visits.

If the dentist you ultimately choose turns out to be different from what you expected or if your dental care needs change, don’t be afraid to try someone new. The most important thing is that your dental needs are well taken care of and that you feel comfortable and happy with the care you receive.