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Choosing a Dentist

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Choosing a Dentist

Selecting a dentist can be a frightening experience, especially considering most people dread a visit to the dentist more than just about anything else in the world. It is important to keep in mind; however, when choosing a dentist that there are several factors worth considering. Read on for more tips to help you know what you should look for when selecting a new dentist.

First, be aware that when you selecting a new dentist, when you first call the office, you will generally speak with a receptionist. Under most circumstances you won’t be able to actually speak to the dentist until you have actually become a patient. Still, you should be able to find out some basic information from speaking with the receptionist that can help you begin to narrow down your choices somewhat.

Another option would be to schedule an appointment with the dentists who have made your short list to act as a sort of interview. You can do this before you actually commit to treatment with the dentist. After all, if someone is going to have their fingers in your mouth, you certainly want to know it’s someone you feel comfortable with before you actually proceed. This appointment will give you an opportunity to make sure you are both comfortable with the dentist as well as to find out some other critical information that can help to guide you in your choice.

Factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a dentist include the training the dentist has had. While all dentists are required to have at least two years of college education before being admitted to dental school, there can be some difference in the course of study they participate in once there. Most dental schools offer a course of study that lasts four years. During the first two years the students focus on basic dental and medical studies. The last two years focuses on clinical aspects. When the student graduates, he or she will either be a Doctor of Dental Surgery, which is a D.D.S or a Doctor of Dental Medicine, a D.M.D. If the dentist wishes to specialize they will need additional training. If you need special work done, you need to make sure that the dentist you select has received the training necessary to complete that work.

Be aware that there are a wide variety of dentists. Some are general practitioners, much like family doctors, who specialize in filling cavities, cleaning teeth, etc. Specialty dentists include those who work with children, pediatric dentists, as well as though who specifically treat diseased teeth; known as endodontists. If you need missing or damaged teeth replaced, you may need a prosthodontist. For diseases of the teeth, gum tissue and bone you might require a periodontist. If surgery is required to remove tumors, wisdom teeth or cysts, an oral surgeon may be needed. In other cases, it may be necessary to call in a cosmetic dentist to repair problems of the jaw. Finally, an orthodontist corrects problems associated with improperly positioned teeth.

Of course, you also want to make sure that the dentist is licensed to practice in the state in which you reside or which you are seeking care. In addition to passing a state and national exam to practice dental medicine, dentists must also complete continuing education every two years in order for their licenses to be renewed. You can verify this information by checking with your state dental board. This entity can also tell you whether the dentist(s) you are considering have every had any investigations or complaints lodged against them.