Finding a dentist can be a daunting task. Sure, Google can get you a hundred names of dentists near you who can easily handle your dental exams and professional dental cleanings… but that’s usually not the only reason people are picky when it comes to their dental health. Here are some common questions when looking for a dentist.
“How do I find a dentist for my kids’ teeth?”
Most dentist’s offices will have at least one certified pedodontist (children’s dentist), so you may be able to consolidate your and your kids’ appointments into one trip. Very occasionally, a general dentist will also specialize in children’s teeth (this can happen more often in smaller towns), but if you’re looking for a one-stop shop, you’ll likely have to schedule with two different dentists for you and your children.
“Is it possible to find a dentist who does regular exams and cosmetic procedures?
There’s usually a distinction between “general” dentists and “cosmetic” dentists. That being said, many general dentists now provide a few basic cosmetic services. Chemical whitening, for instance, is a fairly straightforward procedure using a peroxide-based mixture to oxidize stains away from your teeth. Over the past five years, as more and more general dentists add whitening to their menu of services, the amount of procedures performed has gone up 300%.
“How do I know what kind of dentist I really need?
With all the specialties out there, confusion is understandable. Orthodontists deal primarily with misaligned teeth, and can help patients avoid gum disease, tooth loss, and unnecessary wear on their enamel. Periodontists deal with the gums specifically. Oral surgeons specialize in reconstruction and complicated cosmetic work. Endodontists deal with the inside of the tooth (the root and the pulp).
“How can I find a dentist I can trust?”
For many, this is the most important question of all. After all, your teeth are the gateway to your overall health — the healthier your teeth, the healthier your body and its various systems. As such, don’t be afraid to ask any potential dentists questions (like if they offer emergency services, or how large their referral network is). It’s okay to interview your dentist to see if it’s going to be a good fit. And never, ever be reluctant to switch dentists if you don’t feel you’re getting the best possible care at all times.