Is it just me, or do you try to do your homework ahead of time when making a decision about where you want to go for dinner? Or perhaps you’re trying to find a new hairdresser or barber because unfortunately yours has moved away or retired. More importantly, are you doing your research when it comes to selecting a primary care physician, an eye doctor, or your dentist? I think it’s safe to assume that we probably have different taste buds and hairstyle preferences, so I’ll leave those decisions up to you, however, I would like to help you out with that last one: finding the right dental home.

What is most important to you when it comes to the care you receive in a healthcare setting? Perhaps a few of the following components come to mind:

  • that you feel comfortable, heard, and are free from judgement
  • that you are well-informed about your health and are treated with care and compassion
  • that you can ask questions freely

It is well-known among the dental community that a large majority of the population doesn’t enjoy going to the dentist. In fact, studies suggest that approximately 80% of the American population suffers from some form of dental anxiety, which in many cases prevents individuals from going to the dentist if at all.

In order for a patient to feel comfortable and well cared for in their dental home, there are a few basic factors to be considered for a solid foundation of trust to be established. Here are the Top 10 Factors to consider when choosing the right dental office for you —

  1. Credibility
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Caring
  4. Integrity
  5. Comfortable
  6. Reputable
  7. Community Involvement
  8. Passionate
  9. Patient-centered
  10. Comprehensive


In accordance with the law, your dentist and dental hygienist should be licensed appropriately for the services they are providing to you. These credentials should be displayed publicly for patients to see on a wall within the office.


Just as you’d have the expectation for a 5-star restaurant bathroom or a top of the line hotel room to be immaculate, you should look for the same standard in your dental office. Not only is presentation important, but when being treated with your mouth wide open, proper sanitation and sterilization is crucial to prevent the transmission of bacteria.


When branding cattle, each one may be seen as a number, but that should not be the case when it comes to human beings (in ANY setting!). Patients should not be viewed as a walking wallet, but rather an individual with a unique personality, history and set of needs. The job of the dental healthcare professional should then become caring for that person in a way that is sensitive, compassionate, and understanding.


Between the two, which individual would you be more likely to trust? Person (A) who is deceitful and manipulative for their own self-gain or Person (B) who is transparent and demonstrates humility? Trust can be a delicate thing, and weighs heavily in the decision-making process when it comes to choosing who you’re going to trust with your health, your time, and your finances. Ultimately, you want those taking care of you to have your best interest at heart, and to have a sound moral compass.


As mentioned before, dental anxiety is a real and common thing — comfort is typically at the top of one’s list when visiting the dentist. A welcoming environment is favorable when it comes to calming the nerves of an apprehensive patient. Even better, comfort items that are made available can go a long way, such as noise-cancelling headphones, a neck pillow, a blanket, tinted sunglasses, etc.


Word of mouth goes a long way, sure. But we live in such a technologically-driven society now that what’s being said online accounts for a large percentage of influence. Social media, blogs, Google and Yelp reviews — all of these platforms offer different insights into the businesses that surround us and can mean the difference when it comes down to deciding to give your service to one over another. Having a quality reputation and a positive impact among the community matters, and you’d be well off to know what others are saying about the dental office you’re considering doing business with.

Community Involvement

Speaking of community, it’s important for a business to get involved with theirs; to give back, to set an example, and to be seen as a leader. Looking into the involvement that a particular dental practice has within their community says a lot about where their heart is and where their priorities lie.


I believe it is a far more enjoyable experience to be on the receiving end of an interaction with someone who genuinely enjoys their job and loves what they do, no matter the line of work. Wouldn’t you agree? There should be no exception when it comes to spending an hour or two at the dentist. Within even just the first few minutes it should become clear whether or not your doctor or hygienist sincerely likes what they do for a living. This perceived sense of enjoyment shouldn’t be limited to just the clinical staff either — it should seem as though it radiates off of all other team members in the office. Being somewhere you are surrounded by a unified group of like-minded people who love coming to “work” and exude positivity is the kind of place you want to be receiving care.


It is important for the common shared goal of the dental team to be patient-centric, meaning the needs of the patient come first. The patient should feel engaged, respected, and as though they have been treated fairly and comprehensively. Remember that as a patient you have every right to ask questions and ensure that you are being properly cared for.


Lastly, seeing as the mouth contributes to and is linked to your overall systemic health, you should be treated accordingly, with your dental healthcare providers considering you as a whole when making recommendations and creating your treatment plan. Conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes are bi-directionally affected when it comes to oral health. Other elements that may alter a patient’s ability to maintain optimal oral health, and share value when weighed into the patient’s examination are the medications being taken by the patient, environmental and dietary influences, as well as their genetics. Comprehensive care extends beyond seeing what is just in front of you and diving deeper into exploring all of the information in order to connect the dots; this is the kind of care you should be seeking to receive.

I happen to know of an office that checks all of the boxes . . .

Luckily for you, Sala Family Dentistry just so happens to be a family-owned dental practice. Our patient-centric office is modeled after this very simple, yet powerful concept – we are “Caring People, Caring for People.” Proof of all licensure and additional certifications are posted on several walls of our office. We pride ourselves on keeping our building and workspaces tidy and presentable. Our team exercises ethical judgment and works earnestly to inform, educate, and guide our patients in making decisions and taking action on improving and maintaining stability of their oral health.

Among other items available on our comfort menu, our office also offers sedation dentistry and nitrous oxide to ease the nerves and anxiety that tend to build when in office.
If you take a little stroll over to Google, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a countless number of reviews containing words of praise and gratitude when describing the care that patients received at Sala Family Dentistry. I’m confident that our office’s positive reputation precedes it long before patients are seen for the first time.

Sala Family Dentistry finds great joy in getting involved with the community of Reno. Sending supplies to local schools, sponsoring high school baseball teams, and donating an entire day of free dentistry to veterans are only a few examples of how our office gives back. Having the privilege of being an employee of this office, I cannot rave enough about the flourishing culture. I truly look forward to going to work each day because I get to work alongside fun, caring, and selfless people who have my back and who share the same vision as me; to provide the highest standard of care to our patients. Our doctors and hygienists are well-trained, highly-skilled, and personable. I trust everyone here with not only my own oral healthcare and needs, but that of my family and friends, as well.

If you happen to be in the market for a new dental office to call home, I recommend taking these 10 factors into consideration when doing your research. I’d encourage you not to make this decision lightly and to make sure that it is just the right fit for you. Sala Family Dentistry is always accepting new patients and would love to welcome you into our patient family.

— Destinee Caves, BS, RDH



Mon - Fri 7:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday 7:00am - 3:00pm
Sunday Closed