How to Find the Right Dentist

Selecting the right dentist for you and the family is a very important task. You’ll need somebody you can be comfortable with, and one who can provide to provide the type of dentistry you require. Find a dentist who is affiliated with a reputable office located conveniently with respect to your home or work. The dentists’ credentials should be available on the web.

Qualifications

Qualified dentists may be doctors of dental medicine (DMD) or doctors of dental surgery (DDS). The two degrees are equivalent – they both require no less than two years of pre-dental college work, and then four years of dental school. Dentists have to pass national and state exams before they are licensed.

Specialties

Dentists could also be board-certified as specialists in specific branches of dentistry. Dentists, to become specialists, have to take up advanced training and schoolwork for two additional years. Among the most common and recognized dental specialties are periodontics or gum treatment; and orthodontics, pedodontics or pediatric dentistry; and endodontics or root canal therapy.

Hygienists

Dental hygienists or assistants are often the ones who perform routine cleanings. The hygienist may have a designation as an RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist) or RDHEF (Registered Dental Hygienist with Extended Functions). A dental assistant usually provides assistance while a dentist is performing a procedure, sets up anesthesia, takes x-rays and does all other general tasks in the office.

Questions to Ask

When you visit a new dentist, don’t shy away from asking questions, like:

> How long has the practice been around?

> How trained and experienced is the dentist in terms of the type of procedure you need?

> Which dental societies does is the dentist a member of?

> What types of emergency care does the dentist offer?

Fees

While you should never pick a dentist based on price alone, you have to make sure you understand the fees before you decide to proceed with treatment. If you have insurance, ask the office for help in determining what is covered and what’s not, and what your out-of-pocket expenses will be.

What You Should Expect

Your dentist and the entire office staff must be kind and considerate. They should be concerned about preventive care, requiring such things as thorough dental exams, routine cleanings, periodontal exams, x-rays and the like, all of which help you avoid costly repair work later on. The dentist must discuss his findings with you and provide recommendations as needed.

A lot of dentists don’t want to schedule cleanings with a new patient comprehensive exam. That’s because x-rays and a thorough exam will be needed to tell what kind of cleaning is most clinically suitable for your specific oral care needs. For example, should periodontal disease be detected, the patient may require far more than a regular mouth cleaning.

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