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How to Change Dentists

A dentist is the primary caregiver for the teeth and gums and works to promote good oral hygiene. Whether you're moving to a new area, have a change in insurance coverage or want to change dentists for personal reasons, it is easy to make the switch. Learn how to change dentists and ensure a smooth transition.

Secure a new dentist before you leave the old dentist. Find a dentist with a practice that accommodates your lifestyle. Check the office hours, proximity to your home or workplace and philosophy of care.

Confirm that the new dentist is covered under your dental insurance to get the maximum benefits. Call your insurance provider and also double check with the new dentist to ensure he is contracted with your insurance carrier.

Call the new dentist and ask about the procedures for new patients. If the dentist wants your past dental records, you might have to go to the old dentist and sign a release form for your records. There may be a fee to get copies of your records.

Talk with the original dentist (if leaving on good terms) to thank him for his service and explain why you are leaving the practice, if you are comfortable doing so.


  • Be considerate--cancel any upcoming appointments you have scheduled with your original dentist upon leaving the practice.


  • If you switch dentists in the middle of special treatments, be prepared to pay the original dentist a portion of the fees for work already completed. Some insurance companies require that you let them know when you change dentists. Always check with your insurance company to avoid a loss of coverage. Confirm that the new dentist is willing to complete any unfinished work that the original dentist initiated.