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. Information on the dentists’ credentials should be accessible online.
A qualified dentists is either a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) or a doctor of dental medicine (DMD). 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 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. Some of the more common recognized dental specialties include oral and maxillofacial surgery and pathology; prosthodontics or restorative treatments such as crowns, bridges and dentures; and pedodontics or pediatric dentistry.
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’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?
Though you must not choose a dentist based solely on price, you have to understand the fees before consenting to 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
The dentist as well as the office staff should be friendly and patient-centered. 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.
Most dentists would not want to schedule cleanings simultaneously with a new patient comprehensive 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.
Source: Seattle Dentist Downtown