How To Choose A Dentist
It can be hard to muster up the courage to visit the dentist. It can be even harder deciding which of the many in the phone book to go to. Although there is no perfect dentist for every person, knowing what your needs are and what to look for in a good dentist can help you decide which one will suit you.
Dentists are required to be licensed and hold one of two equivalent doctorates: a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) degree or a doctor of dental medicine (DMD) degree. Dentists must complete two years of pre-dental college work followed by four years of dental school. However, the majority of dental students actually have a baccalaureate degree. Because of all the training required to become a dentist and the costs associated with that, there are many dentists out there that are driven by the money they can make rather than the quality of work they can produce and the health of their patients.
There are some specific things that you should look for in a dentist in order to determine if he / she has your health and best interests at heart. Some of the things that should be characteristics of a good dentist are:
o They show a genuine interest in you and your health.
o They focus a lot on prevention.
o They take x-rays without suitable films are available from your previous dentist.
o They perform a thorough dental examination that includes inspection of the teeth, gums, tongue, lips, inside of the cheek, palate, and the skin of the face and neck. This also includes a feeling of the neck for abnormal lymph nodes and enlargement of the thyroid gland. In adults a periodontal probe should be inserted between the gums and teeth to detect abnormally large crevices.
o They chart their findings in detail.
o They send reminders out to let you know when your next appointment is.
o They take time to make sure the job is done right and meticulous attention is spent on details of your dental work. Dental work is not meant to be done like you are part of an assembly line, rather each situation is different and should be treated as such. Remember that high-quality dental work will last a long time, whereas low-quality work may fall out or decide in a few years.
Regular check-ups are the key to preventative oral hygiene. Everyone should have routine tooth cleanings, bite assessments, periodontal exams, early interventions, and fluoride treatments in order to avoid costly repairs. Depending on your specific situation, you may need to have more frequent maintenance than the average person. For example, if during your assessment it is determined that you have cavities, you may need to schedule appointments over the next few months to get them treated. However, once your treatment is completed, your dentist should place you on a recall schedule to be informed when your next checkup is due, usually every six months.
Make sure you know what results you want to see before embarking on any treatment. This will help you to determine how well you like his dentist and his / her work. Also, consider treatment options, because there may be more than one way to accomplish a goal.
Along with things to look for in a good dentist, there are also warning signs for things to beware of in poor dentist or poor dental practices. Although these signs may not indicate that a dentist is bad, they are things you will want to look into before committing to any type of treatment. Some of these include:
o Flamboyant advertising. This may signify an emphasis on mass production rather than quality care.
o Advertising that overemphasizes cosmetic dentistry or one-visit comprehensive treatments, because they may not be interested in long-term maintenance care that does not generate high income.
o Low fees charged per service can sometimes mean that the number of services performed is high which results in a higher overall cost.
In summary, take care to learn what is actually important to your dentist. The best dentists out there are concerned about your dental health, not making a quick buck off of you.