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Finding a Dentist: Your Essential Guide

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How Do I Look for a Dentist?

A good place to start is by asking for a referral from people you trust — your friends, family, acquaintances, work associates, pharmacist or family doctor. Ask them how long they've gone to their dentist, how comfortable they feel asking questions, what type of dentist they go to (general or specialist). It is important that you find a dentist with whom you feel comfortable.

Other ways to find a dentist include:

  • Contacting the British / Irish Dental Association for a list of dentists in your area.
  • Contacting your local health centre for a list of local NHS / Health Board dentists.

What Kind of Dentist Should I Look for?

General dental practitioners are trained to do all types of treatment. If you have difficult or unusual problems, your dentist may refer you to one of the following specialists:

  • Endodontists deal with problems with the tissues and nerves inside each tooth and provide root canal treatment.
  • Oral/Maxillofacial surgeons perform surgical treatments, such as removing cysts, tumors, and teeth. They can correct fractures or other jaw problems that require surgery, including temperomandibular joint (TMJ). They also use methods similar to those of plastic surgery to treat cosmetic problems of the jaw and face.
  • Orthodontists correct improperly positioned teeth, using braces and other appliances to move teeth into a better position.
  • Paedodontists have had further training in dealing with all aspects of dentistry for children.

Periodontists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.