How to Find the Right Dentist
It is important to choose the right dentist for you and your family. 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 oroffice. The dentists’ credentials should be available on the web.
Qualified dentists may be doctors of dental surgery (DDS) or doctors of dental medicine (DMD). 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.
As well, dentists can be board-certified as specialists in particular areas of dentistry. Becoming a specialist means the dentist has to take up advanced training and schooling for at least two more 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.
A dental hygienist or assistant usually performs routine cleanings. The hygienist have a designation of 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 come and see a new dentist, never hesitate to ask questions, such as:
> How long has the dentist been in practice?
> How trained and experienced is the dentist in terms of the type of procedure you need?
> Which dental associations is 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 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 Can 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 instance, if periodontal disease is spotted, patients may require more than a routine mouth cleaning.