Considerations When Choosing a Dentist
Children seeing a dentist for the first time today, don’t share the unhealthy fears many of us have about this particular profession. Many of the amenities and procedures they use now make an appointment with the dentist seem like a walk in the park. When I was growing up, I didn’t have choices like pre-medication or nitrous oxide, heating pads, and even choices of music to listen to while being worked on. This would have made me much more comfortable. Some dentists even use dental lasers as an alternative to dental tools such as the tooth drills and picks that I remember so well.
I’ve put together a checklist that will hopefully simplify the process Dentalnews of choosing a dentist for you or your family in this day and age.
o It is important that your dentist has experience in the many of the fields of dentistry that you may need or at least be able to refer you to an appropriate specialist. Oral Hygiene Day 2019 India There are generally eight recognized specialties. How many of these do your dentists have or what kind of referral process does he/she have in place?
1) Dental Public Health (for the prevention and control of dental disease).
2) Endodontics (root canal therapy)
3) Oral and maxillofacial pathology (diagnosis of tumors and/or injuries to the head and neck.
4) Oral and maxillofacial surgery (tooth extractions or surgical treatment of diseases or outright defects of the mouth, jaw or face).
5) Orthodontics (corrections of tooth irregularities).
6) Pediatric dentistry (dental care for infants and children).
7) Periodontics (treatment for gum diseases).
8) Prosthodontics (treatment through the use of crowns, bridges, dentures, etc).
o The dentist is a licensed practitioner with at least a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree (D.M.D.) but preferably a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree (D.D.S.). Finding out how long they have been practicing will also give you an idea of their experience level.
o They perform a complete examination of not only the teeth but of the gums, inside of the cheeks, tongue, lips and even examine the neck for abnormal lymph nodes or enlargement of the thyroid gland.
o Use full-mouth x-rays.
o What amenities are offered like nitrous oxide, heating pads, comforting music, lasers, etc?
o Find out if the office provides emergency care after hours or on weekends/holidays.
o If you need cosmetic work ask if it’s possible to see before-and-after photos of previous patients.
o Always determine dental costs before you receive treatment. Also, make sure that the dental office will work with your dental insurance (if you’re lucky enough to have it). We know that the cleanings and exams are usually fully covered, where procedures like fillings, crowns and bridges have less coverage. It is always good to have an idea of what your out-of-pocket expenses will look like.
There is one last thing I want to mention about your choice of a dentist. Checklists are great but when all is said and done you have to be comfortable with the person you select. I know for myself I want to choose a dentist I can stay with for years to come. I need him/her to be friendly, courteous, and empathetic to my fears and needs. This is important for their entire staff as well. Let’s face it, sometimes we spend more time with the receptionist or hygienist than we do with the dentist themselves. I want them to take a personal interest in my experience at their office. Who knows, if I’ve made the right choice for me, I may be able to remove that old cliché “as difficult as pulling teeth” from my vocabulary.