And why do I drive two hours to the town where I previously lived to see the dentist I started with in 1983? Because, if you manage to find one medical professional that you don't want to strangle you are very, very lucky and should reward that luck with fidelity.
First off, I speak from experience. I tried a local dentist. He installed a crown that is still sensitive to pressure four years later. Sooner or later I'll have to have the thing removed and replaced, at my expense. Another dentist stopped half way through a root canal on my husband and ejected him from the office with the explanation that he couldn't finish it and my husband needed to find an endodontist. Without even referring him to a specialist or another dentist. A real sweetie, that one. His current dentist can't seem to get the novocain injected in the right place to actually numb the tooth. Ever had a root canal without the proper anesthesia? You don't want to.
Physicians? Not much better. My last internist had the personality of a doorstop. He probably said three words to me during an entire physical exam. The doctor before that could get through a consultation and examination without once looking you in the eye. And that was after you finally got out of the waiting room, where there were always 15 or 20 people ahead of you. She never kept to any schedule, and I suspect she double-booked regularly. The one before that prescribed Zantac for two years without bothering to investigate what actually was causing my stomach pain (turns out, it was gallstones, but he never thought to check, I guess).
So when I stumbled on my current dentist (who happened to be located about 1/2 mile from my old house) and found he was competent, talented, up-to-date, innovative and kind to boot, then and there I decided unless I move to the West Coast or something, I'm sticking with him. The last three moves have taken me farther and farther from his office. It's a two hour drive now. But I still make the trip.
Now, the trick is to find a general practice doctor that lives up to my dentist's precedent. I have an appointment Thursday with my husband's GP, who seems to be an actual human being. The doctor doesn't know what a recommendation that is.