Zocdoc is a new service for finding local dentists and booking appointments for times that work with your schedule. It's aim is to replace the often aggravating process of trying to find a local dentist through the overwhelming, and often non-user-friendly directories provided by insurance companies.
Just plug in your city or ZIP code, and Zocdoc will pull up a list of local dentists, along with their daily appointment openings and insurance options. You can sort open appointment times by the type of service you're looking for--e.g., cleanings, Invisalign, or the hallowed root canal. If you find an appointment that sounds good, Zocdoc has an appointment request system that forwards your request to the selected dentist's office.
You can also check out a dentist's online profile, which includes important information like their specialties, education, languages spoken, and affiliations with professional organizations. Each dentist profile page includes a map and a list of user-submitted patient reviews. Think of it being like a background check before your date with the drill.
This is a great concept, although out of personal experience, I'm pretty happy sleuthing results on Yahoo Local and Yelp. The obvious missing piece here is an appointment scheduling system and a way to sort by insurance, which seems like something both services could add. Zocdoc launched this morning at the TechCrunch40 conference, and is currently limited to 2 percent of dentists in the Manhattan area with plans for expansion into other cities and the inclusion of medical listings for local doctors.