February 3, 2010

Choosing a Dentist

Where to Look When Choosing a Dentist

The American Dental Association (ADA) offers a list of suggestions for people who are choosing a dentist. It recommends that patients check with friends and acquaintances, as well as family physicians, when seeking out a dental care provider. Those moving to a new location are encouraged to ask their present dentist for dentist recommendations in the area of their destination. The ADA also provides a Member Directory that lists dentists in different parts of the country. Another helpful source in choosing a dentist is the referral line of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), which is 1–877–2X-A-YEAR. The AGD referral line puts callers in touch with AGD member dentists in their area. Lastly, those choosing a dentist can consult their local or state dental society for informed suggestions.

Visit Different Dentists, Then Decide

Ideally, patients choosing a dentist should seek to get a few different recommendations, and then visit the offices of the suggested dentists. While there, it is wise to inquire about several topics. To begin with, patients should determine if the dentist is a member of a recognized dental society such as the American Dental Association or the Academy of General Dentistry. Membership in such professional organizations is one means of helping to ensure certain standards of professionalism among practicing dentists. In the case of the ADA, for example, all member dentists pledge to uphold the organization’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. Patients choosing a dentist should also ask about which dental procedures are performed at the dental office, and which procedures require off-site care. It is equally important for patients to know the office’s typical mode of managing dental emergencies.

What to Look for at Your First Dentist Appointment

Having inquired as to the above matters and settled on a given dentist’s office, the next step for the patient is to set up a dentist appointment. This should include a dental cleaning, a review of the patient’s medical history, as well as x-rays. The dentist appointment will give the patient an opportunity to determine both her level of comfort with the dentist in question and the quality of care provided by the dentist and his or her staff.