Tips for Finding a Dentist
Selecting the right dentist for you and the family is a very important task. 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). These two are equivalent in that they are both completed within a minimum of two years of preparatory dental college work, followed by four years of dental proper. Dentists should pass national and state exams to get their license.
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. Some common recognized dental specialties are pedodontics or pediatric dentistry; oral and maxillofacial surgery and pathology; and endodontics or root canal therapy.
A dental hygienist or assistant usually performs routine cleanings. The designation of the hygienist could be RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist) or RDHEF (Registered Dental Hygienist with Extended Functions). A dental assistant usually assists a dentist in an ongoing procedure, take x-rays, set up anesthesia, and do other general tasks.
Questions to Ask
When you visit a new dentist, don’t shy away from asking questions, like:
> How long has the dentist been in practice?
> How much and what type of training and experience does the dentist have with the exact procedure you need?
> Which dental societies does is the dentist a member of?
> Does the dentist offer emergency care?
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 dental insurance, ask the office to explain what will be covered or not, and what out-of-pocket expenses might 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 should explain his findings and recommend an appropriate plan or treatment as necessary.
A lot of dentists don’t want to schedule cleanings with a new patient comprehensive exam. This is due to the fact that x-rays and a complete exam are needed for determining what type of cleaning is most clinically advisable for your particular needs. For example, should periodontal disease be detected, the patient may require far more than a regular mouth cleaning.