Almost half of all Americans do not have a family dentist. Because of this, many people just avoid getting regular checkups. Not getting regular dental care may mean that small issues do not get proper care. This can cause very big problems down the road.
If you aren’t getting regular dental care because you don’t know of any good dentists in your area, you can do some research to find a good one. Doing this is called getting a referral. Asking your friends and family is a good way to get reliable referrals. You know that you can trust your family and friends.
However, it may not be enough. You may want to go with your friends and family for their appointment in order to talk to the doctor. You may also want to schedule an appointment with the doctor or just drop by the office to speak to the staff.
Some dentists have a lot of patients. You may need to wait for a long time just to schedule routine care. In this case, you may want to look for another dentist.
Assess Your Dentist’s Skills
Dentists should keep up to date on all the latest developments in the field. You may want to check up on the dentist’s schooling or ask about the latest workshop he or she has taken. Some dentists publish newsletters to keep patients informed about the latest developments in the field of dentistry. You should definitely sign up for the newsletter if your dentist offers such information.
Adults or Children?
Some dentists specialize in treating children while other dentists just see adults. Other dentists advertise themselves as “family dentists”. This means that they see both children and adults. However, a family dentist may not always be very comfortable with children. If you sense that your dentist is not comfortable with your children or vice versa, you should definitely reconsider your options.
Proper Oral Hygiene
Two dental checkups each year are recommended by the ADA to keep your teeth clean and prevent tooth decay. Routine visits to the family dentist are considered to be preventative in nature, and decrease the likelihood of you requiring more serious procedures like root canals and crowns in the future. Regularly having these checkups will lead to reduced tooth decay, minimal plaque formation, and early detection of any serious issue like gingivitis or abscess. It will also lead to earlier detection of cavities, when they can be treated more easily.
Family dentists must meet several qualifications to practice. First, they must take and pass a dental admission test upon graduating with their undergraduate degrees. Then dental school must be completed, with such programs varying between 3 and 5 years in length. Lastly, candidates must sit for the NBDE exam to receive their credentials and become licensed dentists. This is not an easy education to complete, but once these criteria are met dentists are awarded a Doctorate in Dental Medicine or Dental Surgery.
Now that you are so well informed, finding the right dentist should be quite a bit easier.