Finding a Dentist

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:

  • Calling your local dental society for a list of recommended dentists in your area. Your local dental society can be found in the Yellow Pages under "dentist."
  • Searching online for dentists in your area. More and more dentists have websites explaining their approach and treatment methods.

What Kind of Dentist Should I Look for?
General dentists 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:

  • Pediatric Dentists/Pedodontists specialize in pediatric (children's) dentistry.
  • Endodontists diagnose and treat diseased tooth pulp and perform root canal work (many general dentists also perform root canals).
  • Prosthodontists specialize in crowns, bridges and dentures.
  • Oral pathologists use laboratory procedures to diagnose diseases of the mouth. They also specialize in forensic dentistry.
  • Oral/Maxillofacial surgeons perform surgical treatments, such as removing cysts, tumours and teeth. They can correct fractures or other jaw problems that require surgery, including temporomandibular 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.
  • Periodontists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease.

How do You Become a Practicing Dentist?

A general practitioner or specialist can be degreed as either a D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine), depending on the school from which he/she graduated. The requirements for each degree are identical: four years of post-graduate study for general practice plus one to two years of advanced study for a particular specialty. A graduate must then pass a state licensing examination in order to begin practice.

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.

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What To Expect During a DENTAL VISIT

On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

  • A Thorough Ceaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

  • A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.

  • X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumours, and decay between the teeth.