Find a Local Family Dentist
Our teeth are meant to be permanent, but to keep them healthy we have to care for them regularly. And that means having regular checkups to spot problems before they become serious. Naturally we all want to think our family dentist is the best around–really, who would be happy thinking their dentist was the worst in town? But, you don’t just have to think it. There are ways of choosing a family dentist that assures you of their qualifications and competence.
How To Research A Family Dentist
The most common method of choosing a dentist is word of mouth. Most of us ask our friends if they would recommend their own dentists. But that may not always be enough information.
We tend to assume that our family dentist has the necessary training, credentials and licensing. But, let’s be honest. Someone had to graduate at the bottom of the class. Not every graduate has chosen the field best suited to his natural talents, and many are not happy with their profession. So, look for efforts that go beyond a degree and licensure. Find out about your prospective family dentist’s affiliations and professional record and whether that dentist is a member in good standing of professional associations such as the:
- American Dental Assoc., ADA
- American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, AACP
- Academy of General Dentistry, AGA
- Dental Organization of Conscious Sedation, DOCS
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, AACD
- International Assoc. of Comprehensive Aesthetic, IACA
- International College of Cranio Mandibular Orthopedic, ICCMO
- State or local Dental Association
Also find out:
- If this dentist is currently licensed and the license is in good standing (not inactive, pending a hearing, suspended, revoked, or licensed in another state only, etc.)
- Where they received their degree and if they attend continuing education programs beyond those required to maintain licensure.
- Has no history of lawsuits. If there are any, how many, what for and what were the settlements.
- Is an active member of community organizations. This indicates that he gives back to the community that supports his practice and livelihood.
- Is this family dentistry practice focused on preventative dental care as much as curative?
Check the websites of each family dentist you are considering. Compare their training, services and testimonials. Some dentists don’t have websites, so go to their offices and ask for any brochures they have, especially material that describes their practice (as compared to manufacturers’ promotional materials.)
Finally, if your dentist recommends expensive treatment, or treatment that you are not convinced is necessary, DO go to the expense of getting a second opinion from another dentist. Don’t let the second dentist know you are looking for a second opinion before he gives his. You want an objective opinion of the need for the procedure as well as cost comparison. You only get one set of permanent teeth. One they’ve been altered or removed, your options are limited and expensive. Make sure you get care when you need it, refuse care when you don’t and be wise enough to know the difference.