Choosing a General Dentist

Maybe you’ve moved, or perhaps you didn’t like your last dentist and are searching for a new one. If you find yourself in need of a general dentist, there are several things to consider when making your selection.

Gather the Facts
The recommendation of family and friends.
This is certainly an important consideration since your family and friends may have direct experience with a dentist, and therefore would be able to share their experiences with you. If they have had good experiences, you will likely have good experiences too.

What type of practice are you looking for? Despite what some may believe, dentistry is not a commodity. Dentists and dental practices are as different as the people who work in them.  Do the dentist and staff take the time to answer all of your questions completely? Do you feel well treated during your visit? Some dental practices have a very homey feel, while others are set in professional office buildings. Some offices are bustling, while others have a small, boutique feel.  Where will you be most comfortable?

Is the office clean and up-to-date?  An office that appears cluttered and outdated in the front office and reception area is likely to be cluttered and outdated in the clinical areas. An office that appears neat and modern in the front will likely be neat and modern in the clinical areas, as well.

Are the dentist and hygienist thorough? Every dental examination should be thorough and include an oral cancer screening, examination of the teeth for dental decay, evaluation of current dental restorations, and a periodontal examination. If your dentist or hygienist is not regularly performing a periodontal examination, find another office!

Recommendation of Dental Specialists. Dental specialists routinely work with many dental practices and are familiar with their work. If you are under the care of a dental specialist, ask for his or her opinion. If they know you and what you are looking for in a dental practice, they can match you with an office best suited to your dental needs.  The best dentists have relationships with the best dental specialists (and this is the BEST treatment).

All dentists are licensed to practice dentistry by their state dental board. This means that before the dentist can practice dentistry, he or she had to pass written and clinical examinations in order to demonstrate their competence as a dentist. Nevertheless, dentists vary widely with regard to their clinical expertise in any given area of dentistry.  As in all endeavors, some excel in particular areas. Some dentists are particularly adept in cosmetic dentistry, while others have expertise in crown and bridge dentistry or dental implants.


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