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TECHNOLOGIES IN THE DENTAL INDUSTRY – Reshaping how dentistry is done

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dental scansThe challenge most people have in seeking dental care is getting beyond their perceptions of it as being unpleasant and invasive.  So, advancements in dental technology focus on diagnostics and treatments that can offer modern technology solutions to traditional dental problems and help to eliminate or reduce discomfort and fear. This is the driving force behind research and development – the desire to provide leading edge dental treatment that combines efficient, effective, and comfort.

To most, it probably seems as though not much has changed in the practice of dental care –however, dental technologies have been experiencing continuous evolutions that have successfully helped to transform the field. All of the following technologies have been created with the intention of enhancing products and methodologies for use by your dentist to help prevent, diagnose and/or treat dental conditions and diseases early and effectively. Here we share some of the technologies now available to dental practitioners.

Laser Fluorescence Detectors are a new piece of gadgetry you may see in your dentist’s office.  This device is designed to assist in the early detection of dental cavities and it is estimated that one out of four dentists in the U.S. are using these new dental problem detection tools. This technology aims to achieve non-invasive dentistry as both a monitoring and diagnostic tool that helps to detect “iceberg” cavities that are out of sight and under the surface, where the traditional use of the dentist’s eyes, hands, and X-rays may miss them.

Air-Abrasion is an alternative to the traditional dental drill.  The system is primarily used to treat small cavities and preserves the existing healthy tooth structure while also eliminating the need to use a local anesthetic. It also enables your dentist to remove decay with precision as it offers a blast of pellets consisting of air and aluminum oxide. The air-abrasion technique can also be used to help repair old tooth restorations by accessing difficult areas such as those between the teeth.

Bone Replacement is increasingly popular for use with older patients as most have acquired some form of deterioration that has resulted in critical and uncomfortable bone loss.  To aid in eliminating the need for complete removal of the remaining tooth or teeth, there are now three types of bone replacement techniques:

  1. Autogenous Man Made Bone Replacement is a freeze-dried material made in a dental laboratory.
  2. Cadaver/Animal Bone Replacement is bone, which has been preserved, processed and sterilized from a deceased individual or animal source.
  3. Grafting Bone Replacement is the technique of taking bone from another area of the patients’ body, such as the iliac crest section of the pelvis.And, dentists can now use “platelet-rich growth factors” to help induce rapid bone growth and healing (platelets removed from the patient’s own blood that stimulate new cell growth and repair). This offers quicker healing time, making bone replacement performed by clinicians today more easy to assimilate into the existing bone structure.

 

And, dentists can now use “platelet-rich growth factors” to help induce rapid bone growth and healing (platelets removed from the patient’s own blood that stimulate new cell growth and repair). This offers quicker healing time, making bone replacement performed by clinicians today more easy to assimilate into the existing bone structure.

CAD/CAM is “computer assisted design/computer assisted manufacture” technology, which has actually been around for more than a decade and now allows for the fabrication of dental restorations. Your dentist may work with CAD/CAM in the office to complete tooth restorations in one visit that in the past may have required twice the time to complete.  Some examples of treatments that now may be completed in half the time are inlays, on-lays, porcelain veneers, dental crowns and dental bridges.

 

Caries Detection Solution is a red dye liquid that dentists apply over a tooth to detect and confirm if all tooth decay has been effectively removed from a previously affected area after it has been treated. This fluid is very similar to plaque disclosing tablets that are used after brushing to highlight any areas you missed or which haven’t been thoroughly cleaned.

 

CAT Scans are 3-D images used by Endodontists to diagnose infections and other problems that are not easily detectable on a regular 2-dimensional X-ray. Scans are very useful for surgical planning for root canal surgery (Apicoectomy) as well as for dental implant placement. Implantologists (dental specialists who only provide surgical and restorative implant services) use CAT Scans in examining and working on the jawbone or surrounding bone structure to produce more accurate results. This technology has become increasingly specialized for dentistry as implants, rather than dentures, are now the standard of care for tooth replacement and preferred to dentures.

 

Composite resin materials are now used in the development of some veneers and other restorations, to fill cavities and create “bonding” to be placed onto a tooth and thus, rebuild it. These resins offer a tooth-like solution and have grown in popularity over the years. They are always being improved upon to better replicate natural tooth colors and ease application and shaping. The handling of and the time associated with completing composite resins, coupled with the translucent qualities of the newer materials, has helped to produce beautiful natural looking results.

Next time, we’ll cover even more new dental technologies that are in use and on the horizon.

The History of Dentistry

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Let’s just say right from the start that dentistry has come a long way! Substantial scientific advancements have been made in the field, many of which have been somewhat underpublicized and overlooked. Treating problems with the teeth goes back to 7000 BC, a Bronze age civilization in the area of current Pakistan. They actually used woodworking tools, drill type tools, to work on decayed teeth.

For a long time, from 5000 BC through the 1700’s, there was an accepted belief that tiny tooth worms got in your mouth and bored holes in your teeth, causing the “cavities”. Many cultures including the Japanese, Egyptian, and the Chinese believed in these worms but alas, they were just a myth. It was in ancient Greece that they began extracting teeth when there was tooth pain, and this lead to pulling teeth for treatment of other illnesses as well. This went on into the Middle Ages.

So who do you suppose performed these teeth extractions way back then? Not the medical community. No, the barbers of their day were the teeth-pullers! They used a tool called a “Dental Key” to extract teeth, the precursor to modern day forceps.

Somewhere between the mid 1600’s and start of the 1800’s, actual dentistry as we recognize it got its start. A French physician named Pierre Fauchard is credited with founding dentistry, and he practiced in the 17th century. It is he who came up with dental fillings, and he is credited with many procedures still in use today. Amazingly, he recognized that sugar contributed to decay, and was the first to educate others about this. In 1723, he published “The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth” that actually described a system for caring for and treating teeth. And so he became recognized over time as the father of modern dentistry.

Another doctor, Dr. John Harris, later contributed significantly to furthering the industry. He opened the world’s first dental school, which was located in Bainbridge, Ohio. He promoted dentistry as a true health profession and his school opened in 1828. It’s now a museum. In 1840, the first dental college opened in the U.S. This was the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, in Baltimore Maryland. The government began to observe and oversee what was being taught at the college, and this lead to regulation of the practice of dentistry, which then eventually lead to the formation of the American Dental Association.

The dentists of this time period can’t take credit for the development of toothpaste, however. Ancient civilizations would crush up dried fruit, shells of nuts, dried flowers, and talc. They sometimes used various parts of animals bodies as well, and rubbed these odd mixtures on their teeth. Not exactly minty fresh!

We’ll share the history of toothpastes, mouthwashes and dental instruments in an upcoming article.

DEALING WITH A DENTAL EMERGENCY

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If you have a dental emergency, your dentist should be the first person you call. It is smart to keep your Dentist’s after hours phone number handy at all times, because seeing a dentist in a timely manner can make the difference between losing or saving a tooth. But, until you get the appropriate treatment, the following information will help you.

First, ask yourself if it is a Dental Emergency.

If you are not sure, answer the following questions:

•Are you bleeding from the mouth?

•Are you in severe pain?

•Do you have any loose teeth?

•Have you been hit in the face or mouth?

•Do you have any swelling in the mouth or facial area?

•Do you have any bulges, swelling or knots on your gums?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, call your dentist immediately. It’s important to describe exactly what happened and what you are feeling. If your dentist can’t be reached, seek hospital emergency room care.

Here’s what you can do until you get to your dentist.

•Take acetaminophen. Take ibuprofen or Tylenol but avoid aspirin for a dental emergency because it is an anticoagulant, which can cause excessive bleeding.

•Clean your mouth out by gently rinsing thoroughly with warm water.

•Apply a cold compress to the area to minimize any swelling.

•Try drinking ice water if you are experiencing extreme pain caused by hot or warm foods or beverages. It might relieve the pain.

•Breathe through your nose if you are having a sensitivity to cold or if it causes pain to breathe air into your mouth, avoid cold foods and beverages.

•Never apply a painkiller to the gum because it can burn the gum tissue despite what the product recommendations are.

When a tooth has been knocked out.

When you have lost a tooth and you still have it, pick up the tooth by the top (crown) of the tooth and be careful not to scrub it, rub it or remove any tissue. Do not touch the root(s) of the tooth. Then, rinse the tooth off very gently to ensure that it’s clean. If you can, gently place the tooth back in the socket and bite down. If you can’t safely insert it back into the socket for safe-keeping you can put the tooth in a small container or in a cup of milk (the latter is preferable) and take it to your dentist or the ER immediately. It is possible to sometimes reconnect a knocked-out tooth.

Be prepared for a Dental Emergency.
Because a dental emergency can happen at any time and place, the best thing to do is be on the ready and don’t panic. If you are an active person, involved in recreational activities and/or sports, it is wise to pack and keep with you a small dental first aid kit containing the following:

•Small container with a lid

•Name and phone number of your dentist

•Take ibuprofen or Tylenol (not aspirin because it can act as a blood thinner and cause excessive bleeding during a dental emergency).

•Gauze

•Handkerchief

The best plan to avoid a Dental Emergency.
The smartest thing you can do is to commit to making your dental health care a priority. Brush, floss, and rinse as directed and visit your dentist for regular check ups. Don’t let a dental problem go until it is severe.

The Anatomy of a Tooth – and how it decays

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Understanding a root canal or any dental procedure is more easily done when you understand the anatomy of our teeth. The outside of your tooth is covered by a very hard, white enamel. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and it takes a beating from biting and chewing, not to mention the extreme temperatures of hot and cold beverages and foods. When you think about it, it’s surprising it doesn’t wear down and decay more frequently!

The enamel is very hard for good reason – it protects the soft, sensitive insides of the tooth. The layer immediately under the enamel is called dentin, and it too is fairly hard. But under that is the pulp – very soft and sensitive. The pulp is what can become infected or inflamed. Infection and inflammation can come from a number of causes – a crack in the enamel, a chip in a tooth, decay from cavities, or a faulty filling or crown.

Obviously, if infected or inflamed pulp is left untreated, it will lead to pain for the individual. This is why at the first sign of mild pain or discomfort in a tooth, you should see your dentist. When decay has spread up into the root of the tooth, you may receive a root canal from an Endodontist. Endodontists such as those here at 5th Avenue work specifically on the inside of teeth. We are “teeth interior specialists”.

The roots of the teeth reach up into your gums. They anchor your teeth and keep them in place, and are an essential part of a healthy mouth. Decay travels, so it can get into the roots.

Endodontists save millions of teeth each year, by performing root canals and avoiding the entire tooth being ruined. Saving a tooth is always preferable to losing a tooth. These days, a root canal treatment is very similar to receiving a filling. Gone are the days of root canals being a highly painful dental procedure. They’ve become routine with modern products and equipment. Endodontic treatment will save the tooth and reduce the need for further, future dental work.

However, nothing beats good old prevention. You don’t want the exposed part of your teeth to become decayed, which is why brushing and flossing regularly is encouraged. You don’t want to eat lots of sugary foods either, as sugar contributes to decay (and it’s not good for us, anyway!). Untreated decayed teeth can lead to an abscess, and you don’t want that, as it will be painful when it develops.

Luckily, roots can be cleaned out, filled and healed by skilled endodontists whose goal is to see everyone have a healthy smile. If you have questions about your teeth or gums, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Why is oral health important?

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What would we do without our mouth? We eat and talk with them, even breathe with them. They play a vital role in our ability to live and communicate. Why then do some people neglect their teeth and mouths? Lack of good oral care doesn’t just cause bad breath.  There are a variety of unpleasant conditions that can come about if the mouth is not cared for properly.

Let’s talk about oral health. Not something you think of or concern yourself with every day – but nonetheless, something to consider.  Not only does your oral health give you clues about your overall health, but also, oral problems can and do have an affect on your entire body.  How you chew and swallow your food even effects the amount of nutrients you absorb  (can you hear Mom saying, “Chew your food!” ?)

First let’s consider the high amount of bacteria present in your mouth. Your mouth is loaded with bacteria but the majority of it is not harmful at all. Your body’s own natural defenses, combined with good oral care (daily brushing and flossing) combine to keep bacteria from causing a problem. But without proper oral care, your mouth could develop tooth decay, root/nerve decay,  gum disease,  and oral infections. Periodontis is the term for severe gum disease that is painful and makes eating difficult. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.

That all sounds pretty undesirable, right? That’s why your mom always told you to “brush your teeth!” If you develop an oral condition like any of those listed above, and you also have an illness that lowers your body’s immunity (like HIV or diabetes), your oral  condition will be worse/ more intense. Especially if you or someone you know has diabetes, you should take good care of your mouth. Gum disease is more common and more advanced/severe in people with diabetes.

Here’s another startling fact – germs and bacteria from your mouth can spread through your bloodstream and end up elsewhere. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart that typically develops from these types of traveling germs.

There are several other health conditions that have been linked to oral conditions. These include Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Cardiovascular disease. We know that everything in our bodies are connected. We are a walking, talking, highly complex system – and taking the best care possible of every aspect of that system is our best chance for maintaining good health.

Always tell your Dentist or Endodontist if you are experiencing any mouth symptoms at all – from dry mouth to painful bums to small sores on the tongue or cheek lining. Nothing is too small to point out – because you may be nipping a bigger problem in the bud!

Your dental professionals at Fifth Avenue Endodontics are happy to give you a guide to oral care, or answer any questions you have about oral health.

Protecting Teeth During Sporting Events

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Sports are alive and well in society today…more popular than ever before. Adults and children alike participate in all sorts of sporting and recreational activities – from mountain bike riding and skateboarding to playing soccer, baseball, volleyball and other team sports. We do these things without ever thinking about our teeth.

BUT…

Approximately 3 million teeth will be knocked out during sporting events this year in the U.S.A. and that’s just in people under age 18.  It might be wise to get a mouth guard for your child or teen. They are made of soft, flexible plastic. And while some can be uncomfortable, they’ve come a long way. Many can be worn with minimal or even no discomfort at all. Your dental professional can talk to you about mouth guards and explain their use.  Mouth guards also protect the gums – and protect the inside of the mouth
from getting torn/bitten by the teeth.

Mouth guards, also known as night guards, gum guards, or a mouthpiece, greatly reduce mouth injury and the chance of a tooth coming out if the mouth is hit by an object – or a body in motion! Interestingly, their inventor is unknown. They were first used in the sport of boxing, when boxers would put tape, material strips, and other items in their mouth to save their teeth.

You can purchase pre-made, over the counter mouth guards or you can order one from your dentist that is custom-fitted.  The ones you  buy at the drug store, ready to wear, are inexpensive. There is also a “boil and bite” type of mouth guard that is made of thermoplastic material and adheres a bit better to your teeth, fitting a little more comfortably. Mouth guards are normally worn only on the upper teeth but in some cases, your dentist may recommend protecting the lower teeth as well.  A custom-made guard, ordered at your dentist’s office, will fit and feel the best, at a higher cost.

Taking it one step further, a facemask prevents any items (like balls, bats, and hockey pucks) from hitting the mouth area.  Talk to your coach (or your favorite sports enthusiast) about mouthpieces and facemasks to see what’s right for you or your child.

Note that when a tooth IS knocked out, the best thing to do is gently nestle it back in and rush to the dentist. In some cases (about 10 to 15 %) the tooth can be re-implanted. Another interesting fact:  A tooth begins to die about 15 minutes after it falls out of the mouth. Without “nourishment” it becomes dead and hardens.

Mouth guards also help save wear on your teeth caused by teeth grinding, which wears down the tooth enamel. Many people who grind their teeth while they sleep purchase and wear mouth guards.

Bad breath – causes and prevention

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Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can be embarrassing if you know you have it, and it’s probably worse if you have it and don’t realize it. Nobody wants to be face to face with someone who has bad breath. It’s no surprise that stores heavily stock shelves with a huge variety of breath-related products: gum, mints, mouthwashes, breath strips and rinses aimed at fighting bad breath. But before starting the battle against bad breath, it’s a good idea to learn the causes of halitosis.

Bad breath is most commonly attributed to the foods you eat. All the food you eat basically begins to break down in your mouth. As foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, the elements of the food ultimately get carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. Brushing, flossing, and even use of mouthwash are only temporary solutions that cover up the smell of foods with strong odors. Until these foods have passed through your body, the odor will not completely go away.

Halitosis can also be the result of poor dental health habits. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily, food particles remain in your mouth. This allows bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on your tongue. This bacteria can give off an unpleasant odor. Do you wear dentures? If so, you need to be even more careful. Bacteria and food particles can also cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned. Do you smoke? Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products not only causes bad breath, but also stains teeth, reduces your ability to taste food, and irritates your gums.

Halitosis can be prevented with some simple dental hygiene steps. First, practice healthy oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste removes food debris and plaque. Brush teeth after you eat and don’t forget about your tongue. Remember to replace your toothbrush every two to three months (old brushes are worn and less  effective), and use floss to remove food particles and plaque between teeth once a day.

Secondly, see your dentist regularly. At least twice a year your dentist should conduct an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning. Your dentist will be able to identify and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems associated with common causes of bad breath.

Drink plenty of water. Water not only keeps you hydrated but also keeps your mouth moist. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candy promotes the production of saliva. A moist mouth helps wash away food particles and bacteria.

Lastly, if you have bad breath, keep a food log of what you eat. If you think a certain food may be causing bad breath, ask your dentist for their feedback of your food log. If need be, there are some medications that have some impact on mouth odors.

Remember, mouthwash alone is not the answer. Mouthwashes claim to eliminate bad breath. However, remember that mouthwashes are only a temporary solution that just masks the odor, and this wears off. In addition to mouthwashes, consider antiseptic mouth rinses. Instead of only masking bad breath, antiseptic mouth rinses kill the germs that cause bad breath. If self-care tips don’t work to stop your bad breath, see your dentist or doctor and have a conversation about it. Occasionally, bad breath is a sign of a more serious problem, such as an infection, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease.

All About Endodontists

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A lot has changed in dental technology over the years, and root canal procedures are no exception. There are now lasers and other advanced techniques to make the process easier for patients and dentists. But while root canal therapy has come a long way, not all types of root canals can be performed by all dentists, and that’s where Endodontists come in.

An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in problems with the inside of the tooth, specifically the pulp, which consists of nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissues. Endodontists can perform many types of procedures. They may be asked to treat cracked and broken teeth, diagnose and treat problems with the roots, and replant or replace teeth have been knocked out or extracted. An endodontist may also have hospital privileges which allow them to be called in to examine patients with dental and facial trauma. But the
majority of their work centers on root canal therapy. Just like general dentists, Endodontists attend dental school for four years, but Endodontists have an additional two to three years of training or residency in their specialty.

To best understand what an Endodontist does, one must know a little something about root canals. When an infection similar to a cavity reaches the roots of a tooth, it infects the pulp and nerves and in time, if left untreated, kills the tooth. Endodontic therapy is often
the only option to save the tooth from a tooth extraction.

Endodontic treatment is used to extract the infected pulp and nerves from the canals in the tooth’s roots. During root canal treatment, the Endodontist uses small files to clean the pulp from the chamber and shape the canals. The canals are then filled to seal the chamber off from infection. A dental crown is typically placed on the tooth to restore and
protect it from further damage.

It’s important for all of the infection to be removed to avoid a tooth abscess or relapse. If the canals are oddly shaped orcurved, there is a greater risk of leaving infection behind. If  the filling doesn’t go far enough into the canal or breaks down gradually, bacteria may reappear in the root canal and re-infect the area. Narrow canals put a person at risk of
the files getting trapped or not fitting, and blocked canals suggest an Endodontist may not be able to do the treatment at all. Some canals are hard to distinguish and may be overlooked during treatment. All of these are reasons why a specialist is more suited to perform this procedure. An endodontist, who has a higher level of root canal experience, can lessen these risks, which is why some patients may choose an endodontist over a general dentist for their procedure.

Endodontic treatment is a very detailed procedure. But whether an endodontist is needed depends on the complexity of the procedure, and the affected tooth itself. A general dentist may refer clients to an Endodontist if their practice does not offer endodontic services, or if a case is past their expertise, or if endodontic retreatment or surgery is
recommended.

Dental Tools & Instruments

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Going to the dentist can be a little bit scary for some people. Maybe they feel uncomfortable in the dentist’s chair, or they don’t want to hear the teeth cleaning lectures. But is it possible that some of the anxiety brought on by the dentist’s office could
come from those bright, shiny, dental instruments that are found on the dentist’s tray? Well worry no more, because we are going to explain to you just what those instruments are, and how they help you.

Mouth mirrors and probes are the most common dental examination instruments used. A mouth mirror is a small, round mirror at the end of a metal grip. It allows the dentist to examine a person’s teeth and gums from various angles. A simple looking instrument, it’s actually quite ingenious.

The mirrors allow light, making it easier for the dentist to see, and they also magnify whatever the dentist is examining.

Probes are the metal handle with a small hook at the end, used to check for cavities
and issues within the teeth and gums. The most basic probe with a hook shaped
pick is known as the “explorer”. Another type of probe is the periodontal probe, which is used to measure the depth of the pocket in the gum and around the tooth to check for periodontal disease. The dentist can also use a periodontal probe to scrape beneath the gums to prevent periodontal disease from occurring. The periodontal scaler is used to remove buildup such as accumulated stains and plaque from the teeth. The sharp ends can also be used to poke and pry crowns or fillings and remove them for work to be done on the tooth.

Retractors and saliva ejectors are also used, so the patient does not get in the way of
the dentist. The most common retractor is a mouth prop or bite block. The mouth
prop is a wedge-shaped device used with patients who have a hard time keeping
their mouths open wide and still. They are typically ridged and use the back
teeth to hold the item in place during procedures. Mouth props come in several
different sizes ranging from pediatric to adult. Since patients are often
forced to keep their mouths open for long periods of time during procedures, a
lot of saliva can form. A saliva ejector is a curved tube placed inside the
patient’s mouth to vacuum saliva out.  Besides saliva ejectors, dentists can also use more basic absorbent substances, like cotton balls.

Another piece of equipment that is valuable to a dentist in exposing problems is the X-ray machine. X-ray equipment helps the dentist identify problematic spots and conditions in the patient’s teeth or gums that may not be noticeable in a standard examination. X-rays can help detect tooth decay long before it becomes visible to the dentist’s eye during an exam.

Probably the least popular instrument in a dentist’s office is the bur, commonly called the drill. The bur is used to prepare the space where a cavity was, to clean out, smooth, and polish a patient’s tooth. Because this can be somewhat painful, a numbing agent, what we commonly call Novocain, is administered into the gums by needle. To make it less uncomfortable, a numbing gel is applied to the gum first. If you close your eyes, all you’ll feel is a pinch and mild sting. It’s really not so bad!

There is no reason for uncertainty at the dentist. Always ask questions if you have
them. Being able to put a name and function to the dental instruments you’ve
seen for years should ease the anxiety associated with the next trip to the
dentist office. The industry has come a long way, and advances have made dental
procedures much easier to tolerate, and often there is no discomfort at all.

Finding a Dentist / Rating your Dentist

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Maybe you just moved to a new area and so you are looking for a dentist. Or maybe you wish to leave your current dentist and make a change to someone else. Either way, here are some things to consider to help you “find the right dentist”.

 

Like anything else, a little research or ‘digging’ is required to enable you to make an informed decision about your new dental office. Start by asking around – ask your neighbors or coworkers if they have a good dentist that they like, who is in your area. Or post a Facebook query and see your friends’ responses.

Once you have a couple of names – go online! Search both the name of the dentist AND the name of the business / office. Look for reviews and testimonials. What do others have to say about this dentist?

If you have a dentist and aren’t sure how he or she stacks up, you can ‘rate’ your dentist by researching him or her online and comparing his or her bio and reviews to other dentists you identify online. See how your dentist’s client satisfaction and experience stacks up to others in the area. Find out if there are any complaints about him or her.

Look for a Bio (biography) which should be on your dentist’s website. You want to see some experience, and look for any specialty areas. For example, are they an endodontist – someone who specializes in root canals? Or do they have an endodontist in their office? If there is nothing online, don’t hesitate to ask any dental professional for their credentials. They should be happy to email you their Biography or resume’ – or even give you some names and numbers of references you can call.

Pay attention to the validity of the site you are on. Some online review sites are more “legit” than others. Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, and Chambers of Commerce member directories are all good places to find reputable, upstanding health providers of any type, including dentists. You can also check with the American Dental Association and find an ADA member dentist, at ada.org.

You should also feel free to ask your current dentist any question – if you are ‘rating’ your current dentist and they answer questions too quickly or only partially, that’s a sign that it might be time to look into someone new. You can also call any potential new dentist and ask any questions you have. Again – they and their staff should be happy to answer, and do so to your satisfaction.

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to drive a few miles. The best dentist for you may be in a different part of town and not right next door. But a courteous, well trained, caring dentist is worth the trip.