What Do I Look for in a Good Dentist?

Dental ProcedureOur teeth our some of our most valuable assets. They help us eat, they help us speak, and they help us smile at our fellow human beings. Almost all of the respondents in a survey (over 99.5%) see a healthy smile as important to everyday life. So finding the right dentist for you and your whole family is a big decision. But how do you decide? Here are some things to keep in mind.

Finding a Dentist Near You
It may seem obvious, but location matters. While you may be willing to drive a certain distance for specialized care, your general dentist should be relatively close by. And don’t rely on signs and window labels — many dentistry signs are surprisingly low-key, and you may have passed by several without even knowing it. When the time comes to find a dentist, do a Google search for the nearest location. You might be surprised at what you can find nearby.

Finding a Dentist You Can Afford
Most dental insurance covers semi-annual dental exams and professional dental cleanings, but before you seek more specialized care, find out what portion (if any) of the procedure will be covered by your plan. Even orthodontic correction, which many consider to be more health-related than cosmetic, is very rarely covered by typical insurance. If you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket for the procedures you or your family needs, make sure you know your dentist’s prices up front. Many offices today offer flexible payment options and financing.

Finding a Dentist You Can Trust
A broad menu full of procedures and an office full of the most modern dental technologies are helpful… but if your dentist doesn’t inspire confidence and trust, you should find a new practitioner. Your teeth are too valuable an asset to settle for anything less than a competent, caring, and trustworthy dentist, who can treat not just you but your family with the utmost professionalism and care.
What do you look for in a good dentist? Please feel free to share your comments in the field below.

Think You Might Need a Dental Specialist?

Dental SpecialistsIn the dental field, as with any field, there are a number of specialists you can go to. There are restorative dentists, cosmetic dentists, endodontists, periodontists, orthodontists, prosthodontists, pedodontists and oral surgeons. It can be a bewildering search through the phonebook if you don’t know exactly the kind of specialist you need. So what do you do?

When in doubt, a family dentist is your best bet.

A family dentist can take care of your routine dental exams and dental cleanings, recommend treatments for common problems or conditions, and provide many dental procedures right in their office, such as fillings, x-rays, some whitening treatments, and some restorative techniques. But most importantly, they can tell you when and if you really do need to see a specialist.

Everyone should see a family dentist at least twice a year for routine checkups. With regular visits, your dentist can actually spot irregularities and incipient conditions before they ever become full-blown problems, which may make a trip to a specialist completely unnecessary. However, if you’ve been somewhat lax in your preventative dental care, a family dentist can still assess the situation in your mouth, and help you find a cosmetic dentist, orthodontist, or any of the specialists listed above that can give you the specific care you need.

Your teeth are, quite literally, the gateway to your body’s health. If you take good care of them, they’ll take good care of you. If you ever have dental questions or concerns, ask your dentist. That’s what they’re there for. And if you don’t yet have a regular dentist but think you might have a problem that needs investigating, don’t waste any more time. Open a phonebook, do an online search, or ask a friend for recommendations. The sooner you address the problem, the easier (and probably cheaper) it will be to fix.

Give Yourself Something to Smile About Again

Healthy smileHow do you feel about your smile? Over 99% of adult Americans believe that a healthy, straight, white smile is important to a successful life. However, misaligned teeth can be more than just a source of self-consciousness -— they can also delay speech development in young children, contribute to poor nutrition, and unevenly wear down your enamel.

  • Speech Development in Children. The language skills we develop as children are highly dependent on the alignment of our teeth. Improperly erupting adult teeth can hamper speech development from a very early age. The sooner these misalignments are corrected, the easier it will be for the proper language skills to develop. In addition to finding a dentist for dental exams and professional dental cleanings, make sure your children are examined by an orthodontist once they start to lose their baby teeth. Today’s dental technologies can spot and correct irregularities long before they become problems.
  • Proper Nutrition. Your mouth is the first step in the digestive process, and the more efficiently your teeth can break food into smaller pieces, the more efficiently your body will absorb the nutrients that food provides. A well-aligned bite pattern, with no appreciable spaces or gaps when the mouth is closed, is a vital link in the chain of your overall physical health.
  • Uneven Wear. Can a healthy mouth save you money? Absolutely. If your bite pattern is uneven, your enamel can wear down more in some spots than in others, which may make it easier for decay to form. This can lead to increased future trips to the dentist to repair the damage. Braces and proper home care can actually reduce the likelihood that you’ll need more elaborate cosmetic dental treatments down the road. And if you already know you’ll need a procedure done, make sure it’s sooner rather than later -— the longer you wait, the more extensive (and expensive) the procedure could be.

Recent advances in dental technologies are making corrections, adjustments, and cosmetic improvements easier than ever. And with the obvious benefits to your health, your appearance, and your overall quality of life, there’s never been a better time to give yourself something to smile about again.