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How To Choose a Dentist


There are dentists who are general practitioners and there dentists who are specialists in particular areas. The dentist who you go to for general oral care and unexpected emergencies is known as a "General dentist" or "Family Dentist."

When looking at a new dentist, consider:

  •  Education.
  • Years of experience - particularly with the type of work you need.
  • Dental societies in which the dentist participates.
  • Whether there have been any complaints filed against the dentist. While it may be difficult to find out whether there have been complaints, it is worth contacting your state's dental board. To locate the board in your state, see:
  • The type of emergency care the doctor offers in case you have a problem in the middle of the night, on weekends or during holidays.
  • The type of equipment the dentist uses.
  • Is it the latest?
  • The type which is least likely to cause pain?
  • The various patient comforts the doctor offers. For example, music.
  • The dentist's charges and whether the dentist accepts payments over time if necessary. (Perhaps the dentist has an arrangement with a company that extends credit solely for dental work).
  • How convenient the dentist's office is to where you live or work.
  • The friendliness of the dentist's staff.  In addition to the receptionist, you will likely deal with dental hygienists or dental assistants. A dental hygienist is the person who does professional teeth cleaning. A dental assistant assists the dentist in various ways.  Both hygienists and assistants work under the supervision of a qualified dentist.

NOTE: For information about oral care, including during chemo or radiation treatment, click here. 

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