Choosing a Good Dentist
Picking the right dentist for you and the family is important. You’d like it to be someone you are comfortable with and also properly trained to offer you the type of dentistry you require. Look for a dentist whose clinic is located close to your home or office. The dentists’ credentials must be available on the Internet.
Qualified dentists may be doctors of dental medicine (DMD) or doctors of dental surgery (DDS). The two are equivalent: they both require at least two years of pre-dental college work plus by four years of dental proper. Dentists need to pass national and state exams prior to being licensed.
As well, dentists can be board-certified as specialists in particular areas of dentistry. To become a specialist, a dentist has to take two or more years of training and schooling. 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.
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’s tasks could include assisting a dentist during a procedure, taking x-rays, setting up anesthesia and doing other general tasks.
Questions to Ask
When you come and see a new dentist, never hesitate to ask questions, such as:
> How long has the dental practice been in existence?
> How trained and experienced is the dentist in terms of the type of procedure you need?
> What dental societies does the dentist belong to?
> What types of emergency care does the dentist offer?
Definitely, you should not pick a dentist because of price alone, but you do have to understand the costs prior to getting treatment. If you are insured, let the office help you in terms of sorting out what your plan covers and what your out-of-pocket expenses may be.
What You Should Expect
Not just the office staff but especially the dentist must be friendly and considerate. They should be concerned about preventive care, advising you for such things as comprehensive dental exams, routine cleanings, x-rays, periodontal exams, etc., all of which are helpful in keeping you from getting pricey repair procedures later on. The dentist must discuss his findings with you and provide recommendations as needed.
Several dentists would rather not schedule cleanings at the same time as a new patient complete 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. If periodontal disease is detected, for example, a patient may need not just a routine mouth cleaning.
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