Choosing a Good Dentist
Picking the right dentist for you and the family is important. You want someone who makes you feel comfortable and is also well-trained trained to give you the dentistry you need. Find a dentist who works in an office that is convenient to your work or home. 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 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.
Dentists can also be board-certified as specialists in particular focused branches 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.
Dental hygienists or assistants are often the ones who perform 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 practice been around?
> How much training and experience does the dentist have with the procedure you want?
> Which dental associations is does the dentist belong to?
> What types of emergency care are offered by the dentist?
Though you must not choose a dentist based solely on price, you have to understand the fees before consenting to 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, 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 are needed to tell what type of cleaning is most clinically appropriate for your specific needs. If periodontal disease is detected, for example, a patient may need not just a routine mouth cleaning.
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