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Tips for Finding a 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. Look for a dentist whose clinic is located close to your home or office. Information on the dentists’ credentials should be accessible online.

Qualifications

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 should pass national and state exams to get their license.

Specialties

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.

Hygienists

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 visiting a dentist for the first time, don’t think twice about asking few questions, like:

> 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 societies does is the dentist a member of?

> What types of emergency care does the dentist offer?

Fees

While you should never pick a dentist based on price alone, you have to make sure you understand the fees before you decide to proceed with 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 Can 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 go over his findings with you, as well as recommend a suitable treatment plan as needed.

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 instance, if periodontal disease is spotted, patients may require more than a routine mouth cleaning.

Source: Dentist Downtown Seattle