Choosing a dentist shouldn't be like choosing a restaurant to go to. Its a very personal decision. Many younger patients with dental insurance are choosing their dentists by first going to their insurance websites and finding dentists in their zipcode and then trying to research the various choices available based on their websites, photos of their offices and online patient reviews. Although this is one way of finding your dentist, other options may be better. As has been well documented, online patient reviews can be faked, and most people are actually unable to tell which are real and which are faked. Photos of brand new dental offices attest to the money spent by a dental practice on their office, but in no way is representative of the actual quality of their dentistry. A better option is actually knowing someone who has personally gone to the dental office in question. A patient or another doctor who has gone to that office who personally recommends an office is a good source of information.
Most successful dental practices will stand the test of time and develop good word of mouth, but the absolute amount of advertising dollars spent by a dental practice is not a predictor of the quality of the dentistry provided, The best dentists care about keeping up with their continuing education, their patients well being, and should offer services that they would be proud to show to other colleagues.
Dentistry certainly is a business, but it also is a health profession where practitioners are primarily responsible for helping insure that their patients maintain the health of their mouths and not just be dispensers of dental services.