Do you like your dentist? How do you know he or she is really looking out for you?
It's a question you may ask if you're new to an area.
It's also a question that should come up if you're handed an expensive treatment plan out of the blue.
Choosing a competent dentist begins at, well, the beginning.
Kevin Earle says "it's important to know who is going to put their hands in your mouth."
He's Executive Director of the Arizona Dental Association .
Earle says if you use a dental practice with numerous dentists, find out which one you're going to see.
Then check the name with the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners for licensing, education and any disciplinary issues.
Once hired, check your dentist for possible red flags. They include urgent procedures like needing most of your silver fillings replaced.
Or it could be a new dentist advising extensive treatments when you've had no problems.
Earle says he hears of issues involving some dentists doing extensive crown, bridge work and implants.
If any of these apply, get a second opinion and X-rays from the first dentist should be transferred for free.
Earle says you need to make a written request for those X-rays and they must be supplied in 14 days.
So, how often do you need X-rays? Well, it depends.
BUT, experts say if you don't have dental issues, x-rays may be necessary for adults every three years.
It would be 18-24 months for children and adolescents with younger children needing them more often.
And remember, that's without dental issues.
If you have concerns, you will likely need X-rays more often.
Finally, compare costs.
Go to Healthcare Bluebook , put in your zip code, the dental procedure and it will show an average cost for your area.