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dentist near me

dentist office near me

emergency dentist near me

best dentist near me

dental clinic near me

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When you are looking for a dentist, you are not just looking for someone who can help you keep your teeth clean. You are actually looking for someone who can help you avoid and solve your dental problems quickly and in the safest possible way. You need someone whom you can trust and come back whenever you need him/her. Therefore, you should never pick a dentist randomly from the list that your insurance company gave you or from the yellow pages. Rather you should do a thorough research and choose a dentist that makes you feel comfortable no matter what your dental problem is. If you are worried about how to find the best dentist near me, the team at Academic Association of Medicine is here to help you. Here is our pro guide on how to find the best dental clinic near me but first let’s look at how dentistry has evolved as a full-fledged medical science.

History of dentistry


 

The history of dentistry dates back to 7000 BC. (1) In ancient Greece, Aristotle and Hippocrates had written a lot about dentistry but the first book on this medical practice was officially written in 1530. Until 1700 dentistry was not considered as a separate profession and was treated as a part of mainstream medical science. But, soon people realized that it has a lot of potential to become a more defined profession. In 1723, Pierre Fauchard, for the first time, defined dentistry as a comprehensive science for treating all problems related to teeth. He is, therefore, known as the Father of Modern Dentistry. He had also published a book and had introduced the idea of dental fillings and use of prosthesis.

In 1839, the world’s first dental journal American Journal of Dental Science began its publication (2) and just two year after that in 1841, the first dental college; Baltimore College of Dental Surgery was opened. By then, dentistry has evolved into an independent medical science. Soon 26 dentists got united and created The American Dental Association in 1859. Colgate was the first company to manufacture and sell toothpastes and toothbrushes in 1873.

Even though dentistry had gained a lot of momentum in 1800 and 1900, it was mostly focused on treating dental issues. People still weren’t aware about dental hygiene. In 1913, Alfred C. Fones started Fones Clinic For Dental Hygienists in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the world’s first oral hygiene school and soon people learnt the right way of brushing and taking care of their teeth.

Now that we have learned how dentistry has evolved as a science, let’s look at the types of dentists near me and what they do.

Types of dentists


 

Dental care involves much more than plague removing, filling up the cavities and doing RCT. So, obviously the family dentist near me won’t be able to handle the all the different dental problems that you or your family members could suffer from. There are several types of dentists that specialize in different areas of dentistry and can deal with different dental problems. Below, we have listed down the various types of dentists near me and what they do (3):

General dentist


 

Also known as a family dentist, a general dentist is your primary dental care provider. Most dentist offices near me are family dentists. They majorly deal with preventive and restorative dentistry such as dental cleaning, gum care, artificial fillings, root canals, crowns, veneers, repairing cracked, chipped or missing teeth, etc. If you need an emergency dentist near me, you can reach out to a general dentist too, as they are qualified to offer you emergency treatment. A general dentist near me should hold a DDS (Doctor of dental surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of dental medicine) degree. Both the degrees are same; just that they are named differently by different dental schools. To become a general dentist, you need to do a 4 years course.

Orthodontist


 

They are the ones who can fix misaligned teeth, jaw bones, and other cosmetic issues such as crowded teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth, misaligned jaw bone, and much more. Orthodontist near me can improve the appearance of your teeth by using braces, mouthguards, headgear, retainers, and other oral hardware. Since they are responsible for cosmetic dentistry, they can treat both children as well as adults who want to improve their appearance and bite. Usually, a dental clinic near me would refer you to an orthodontist if he/she finds your teeth to be misaligned. You may, however, directly consult an orthodontist near me if you are sure you need alignment services. To become an orthodontist, a person has to do a specialized 2 years course after finishing dental school.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon


 

These types of dentists perform reconstructive facial surgeries. In most cases, the emergency dentist near me would probably be an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who would be able to provide immediate treatment to accident victims. They also treat victims who suffer from facial injuries and require a surgery around the jawline. Other than offering facial reconstructive surgeries, maxillofacial surgeons also perform surgeries of cleft palate and do biopsies for cancerous tissue extraction. To become an oral surgeon, a person has to complete a specialty residency program which can take up to 4 years after completing a DDS or DMD degree.

Periodontist


 

Periodontists specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating gum diseases, which are also known as periodontal diseases. A periodontist near me can treat inflammation and pain in gums and soft tissues. He/she can also perform deep pocket cleaning, bone grafting, soft tissue recontouring or removal, and implant placement. In short, these types of dentists near me can do anything that involves your gums. To become a Periodontist, a person has to complete a 3-year specialized training program after completing the regular dental study.

Prosthodontist


 

As the title suggests, prosthodontists are the ones who implant oral prostheses i.e. artificial teeth. If you want to replace your damaged, missing, or decayed teeth, you need to consult a prosthodontist near me. He / She will do a thorough examination and will suggest you the best possible option, which could include crown, bridges, dentures, implants, or veneers. Prosthodontists work closely with dental labs and ensure that you get completely customized prostheses that fit you correctly and help you improve your smile. A 3-year post-doctoral residency program in prosthodontics is required to become a qualified prosthodontist.

Pediatric Dentist or Pedodontists


 

As their title suggests, pedodontists specialize in dental care for children. They can treat children of all age groups i.e. from birth till adolescence. You might wonder why we need pedodontists when we have a dental clinic near me that can take care of all the basic dental care need. Dental problems in children are very different from that of adults and most of the diseases require a different, easy, and comfortable approach. Pediatric dentists near me are trained to take care of those unique dental needs and make the young patients feel comfortable and excited about the future visits. To get this training they have to complete a two-year training program after completing the regular dental course.

Endodontist


 

An endodontist has to undergo 2-year specialty training to treat the dental problems that involve the inner portion or the root of your teeth. They specialize in working with dental pulp. They can perform complicated root canal surgeries and remove the unhealthy pulp, fill it, and seal it to save the tooth.

Other than the above-mentioned titles, the dentist office near me could have an oral pathologist and oral radiologist.

What to look for in a dentist near you


 

Finding the right dentist for you and your family can be a taxing task. There are too many dental clinics near me, each claiming to be offering the most affordable and reliable services by a highly qualified dentist. However, not all of them are qualified to take care of your dental needs. Moreover, you may not feel comfortable with many of them and may not want to go for your next visits. So, you must take time to choose a dentist whom you can comfortably and confidently approach when you need help. Here are some tips that will help you find the best dentist near me:

Convenience


 

Yes, this should be the number one factor to consider. You obviously don’t want to choose a dentist whose office is far away from your home and you need a take a day off from work to visit him. You must choose a dentist office near me whom you can visit after or before work. The clinic should preferably be close to your home so that you can reach out to the dentist easily during emergencies. Other than location, make sure you find out their working hours and see if they are open at the time when you would usually want to schedule your appointments. Many dentist offices near me remain open after standard working hours and even during weekends to cater to the working population. However, there are still some dentists who are not very flexible with their timings. So, make sure you choose someone whom you can conveniently approach when needed.

Cost


 

Once you have filtered out the dentists near me, you need to further refine your search and find out the ones that accept your dental insurance. Not all the dentist offices near me would accept your insurance and paying out of your own pocket would be quite expensive. So, it is advisable to choose the ones that accept your insurance. You can also contact your insurance company to find out which dentist offices near me accept their insurance but, in that case, you will get only limited options.

Costs of dental treatments vary by case and practice and, in many cases, you will have to pay a part of the cost even if you have dental insurance. So, make sure you find out if the dentist offers multiple payment options including credit cards, checks, etc.

Qualification


 

Convenience and cost are important but you need to choose a dentist who is qualified to perform the dental procedures that you require. As mentioned above, not all dentists near me are qualified to perform complicated surgeries and treatments related to jaws, teeth, soft and hard tissues. For example; only orthodontists are trained to correct misaligned teeth and only maxillofacial surgeons are licensed to perform jaw restructuring surgeries. The dentist office near me probably would have only a general dentist who is licensed to perform the basic dental procedures, which is what we need in majority of the cases. When needed, the general dentist will directly refer you to the specialist who will be able to treat your dental issues. Still, you need to be careful while choosing a dentist. Before you visit a dental clinic near me, do a Google search and find out if the dentist has the required training, certification, and licenses to work on your teeth and gums. You can call the dentist office near me to get the information and, to double-check the accuracy you can contact your local dental society or insurance provider to obtain the information about a dentist's qualifications. (4)

Emergency care


 

Although emergency care isn’t an important factor, you would still want a dentist who is accessible when you are in trouble, especially when you have undergone a complicated dental procedure where chances of pain, bleeding, infection, etc. are high. Thankfully, in dentistry, emergency care doesn’t refer to a hospital emergency. It just refers to providing helpful information and care when needed. The best dentists near me, especially the ones who perform dental surgeries and complicated treatment procedures, are available on phone 24 X 7 and are willing to help you during an emergency. If the dentist you wish to choose doesn’t provide emergency care, you should ask him for recommendations for emergency dental care near me whom you can reach out when required.

Google reviews


 

If you have followed the above steps, by now you would probably be having only a few options to choose from. To further refine the search, you should take help of Google or Facebook. Although Facebook and Google reviews may not be 100% reliable, they will still help you make a better decision. Look for a dentist who is reliable and helpful. He should be someone who can go beyond treating your dental problems and help you maintain your overall health.

Do not look for reviews that sound too good to be true. Many of them may fake. On the other hand, do not reject a dentist based on a couple of negative reviews. The best way to get an unbiased opinion is to look at the average reviews. Read all the reviews to find out more about the issues people had such as lack of hygiene, poor infrastructure, rude behavior of the staff, difficulty getting an appointment, uncooperative dentist, etc. These are some of the issues that you probably wouldn’t want to deal with. So, if a lot of people are talking about these kinds of issues, you should look for some other dentist near me.

Verifying from state licensing board


 

This isn’t required but there is no harm in double-checking the doctor’s credentials and reliability. Make sure the dentist you choose is licensed and hasn’t ever had any criminal or disciplinary action taken against him. Most state dental boards have online tools on their websites that you can use to verify the credentials of the dentists that you have shortlisted. You can also find relevant information such as experience, degree, accreditation, etc. Further, if the board has ever taken any disciplinary action against any dentist, it will have the information on its website. You will not find such crucial information anywhere, so it is worth verifying from the state licensing board.

For more helpful tips on how to select the best dentist near me, you can refer the four-step guide created by American Dental Association. (5)

How to find the best dentist near you


 

Now that you know what to look for while selecting a dentist, let’s find out how you can find the best dentist near me.

Ask your primary healthcare provider


 

Your primary healthcare provider is the most reliable person when it comes to getting recommendations for a dentist near me. They meet hundreds of patients every week and would probably have heard about the dentists in your area. They are often aware of the local dentists and their credibility in the medical community. Further, if you are moving to a new state or locality, it would be a good idea to get recommendations from your current dentist. They keep meeting each other at seminars, conferences, etc. and are aware of the other person’s capabilities. So, do not hesitate to seek recommendations from your primary healthcare provider.

Ask your family and friends


 

It is always a good idea to get recommendations from people you know. If you have already shortlisted a dentist, you can probably ask your friends, family members, and neighbors if they know him/her and if they have used his/her services. This is a great way to get an honest, unbiased review.   If you haven’t yet shortlisted a dentist near me, you can ask them about their dentist. While getting recommendations, make sure you ask them about these points:

  • Does the dentist explain the treatment options well? Does he suggest all possible options?

  • Is he concerned only about the treatment or does he suggest preventive measures as well?

  • How comfortable is it to schedule an appointment?

  • How well does dental clinic near me handle emergencies?

  • How long do they have to sit in the waiting room?

  • Do they feel comfortable with the dentist?

  • Does the dentist willingly answers all their questions?


If the answer to all the above points is positive, the dentist near me is worth visiting.

Contact your state dental society


 

If you are new to an area and don’t know how to find a dental clinic near me, you can contact your state dental society. American Dental Association has a list of local and state dental societies on its website. You can also find the address and telephone number of your local dental societies in your telephone directory. ADA also has an online search tool (6) that helps you find an ADA member dentist in your area. ADA membership is voluntary and it doesn’t guarantee any specific quality care that you won’t get elsewhere. So, if your family or friend has referred a dentist to you and he is not a member of ADA, don’t reject him/her.

Contact your local health department or dental school


 

If you don’t have any health insurance or if a specific treatment is not covered by your insurance company, you can contact your local health department or dental school for affordable dental services. The assistance programs vary from state to state but they are still quite affordable, as compared to paying a dentist on your own. Generally, dental schools charge only for the cost of the material or for the equipment and yet, they provide great services. Here is a list of helpful resources where you can get affordable and yet, reliable dental services.

Things to note while going for your first dental visit


 

If you have followed the above instructions, you would probably have found a doctor whom you are confident about. However, in a few cases, patients do not feel comfortable working with a dentist, even though he is highly qualified and experienced. A visit to the dentist office near me will help you judge if you would like to seek treatment from him/her or not. Here are a few things that you must note while going for your first visit to a dentist near me.

  • Was it easy to schedule an appointment? Did the office staff answer your phone promptly and helped you schedule an appointment at a suitable time? Was the doctor available on time? How much time did you wait to see the doctor? Convenience and availability are crucial factors, as no one wants to see a dentist who is frequently unavailable or doesn’t stick to his/her appointments.

  • Is the staff cooperative? Did they assist you when you needed?

  • Was the dentist only interested in treating the issue? Did he guide you on how to avoid such problems in future?

  • Were you comfortable asking questions to the dentist as well as the staff? Did he/she answer all your questions? Did he justify the procedure he has suggested for treating your dental problem?

  • Did the dentist use sterilized equipment? Most dentists use heat sterilization to ensure that the infection and germs are not passed on to the next patients. The staff is usually responsible for sterilizing the equipment. While it may sound uncomfortable to ask about the sterilization part, you should still inquire about it and make sure the dentist near me adheres to safe practice standards. (7)

  • When you walk out of the dentist office near me, do you feel like coming back again for future appointments? Always choose a dentist with whom you feel comfortable or else you won’t feel like continuing the treatment.


We hope the above-mentioned tips will help you find the right dentist near me. Remember to trust your instinct. No matter how qualified the doctor is or who referred him/her, if you don’t feel comfortable, find someone else. Keep reading our blog for more such helpful information.

References and Citations

  1. History of dentistry. Adea.org. https://www.adea.org/GoDental/Health_Professions_Advisors/History_of_Dentistry.aspx.

  2. History of Dentistry Timeline. Ada.org. https://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-history-and-presidents-of-the-ada/ada-history-of-dentistry-timeline.

  3. The Various Oral Health Care Providers. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-health-care-providers#1.

  4. org.au. https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Younger-Adults-18-30/Choosing-a-Dentist.

  5. How to Find a Dentist - American Dental Association. Mouthhealthy.org. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/how-to-choose-a-dentist.

  6. Find A Dentist – American Dental Association. Findadentist.ada.org. https://findadentist.ada.org/.

  7. 9 questions you’re not asking your dentist ― but should be. Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/06/11/questions-should-be-asking-your-dentist.html.