You know you should have seen a dentist, but you just haven’t had the time. We all know the feeling- the dread when you take a bite out of your lunch and the tooth that has previously only been an annoying irritant is now a shooting flare of pain. Now you have no choice but make an appointment, but you haven’t seen a dentist in years. How do you determine what kind of dentist you need to see? Can’t a general dentist do everything?
Type of Procedure
Before scheduling an appointment, it’s import to know what kind of practitioner you are seeing.
General Dentist: Performs cleanings, takes x-rays of the teeth and gums and conducts tooth fillings in areas of decay. Many general dentists are well trained to perform services like root canals, dentures, dental crowns and gum cleanings so that you may not have to seek an additional specialist.
Periodontist: Experts in the area of gum disease, periodontists are the people to see when in need of scaling (deep cleaning of the gums) due to infection or inflammation. Some periodontists can also perform dental implants.
Endodontist: Perform root canals when dental decay has become serious enough to infect the core of the tooth, where the nerve is stored. Root canals involve removing the infected pulp at the center of the tooth and replacing it with a filling material inside the tooth.
Prosthodontist: Perform teeth restoration and replacement through dentures, bridges, implants, crowns and veneers.
Orthodontist: Perform cosmetic dentistry by correcting gaps, over, under and cross-bites and straightening crooked teeth by applied braces and retainers.
Narrow down the search
Now that you’ve determined which type of dental specialist to see, these helpful considerations will assist you in making your decision.
Credentials: It’s good to know how long a dental practice has been in operation and how long the dentist has been practicing. Many dentists display their degree and school on their website, and you can even read other patients’ reviews of their experiences.
Location of dental office: Consider, how close is the dentist to where you live or work? Will it be difficult to get to them or will you spend more time driving that actually seeing the dentist?
Availability: Determine the dentist’s hours. If you work, could you make an early morning appointment or do they provide appointments on Saturdays?
Acceptance of Insurance: Especially if you hold a certain type of coverage, make sure that the dentist or specialist will accept your form of insurance or payment. Consider whether the cost will be more to you without insurance and whether you required to be in a certain network.
Discount Dental Plans: There are several dental plans available as a dental insurance alternative. These low-cost plans will provide discounted rates on visits and procedures to patients and their families. It’s quick and easy to find an in-network dentist close to you with the provider search. The best part is, the plan is one low price for an entire year!
Free Dental Finder: Many patients avoid the dentist because they don’t have insurance or fear they won’t be able to afford care. There are options for the uninsured. Free dental clinics typically operate on a volunteer basis, with dentists and hygienists volunteering some of their free time outside of their usual work hours. Some of these dental clinics are free and some offer discounted dental care, typically based on a patient’s income, age or other factors. Most low-cost or free dental clinics provide cleanings, and many also offer treatments like root canals or dentures.