Dentists inspire fear in many people. Before anaesthesia, fear of the dentist was well-warranted. Today, however, a trip to the dentist shouldn't make you feel like you're in Little Shop of Horrors: Dentists have a range of tools and anaesthetics to make your trip as comfortable as possible. Here are some things to consider when seeking out a dentist for a dental procedure.
Regular Dental Procedures
Insurance: Does your dentist accept your dental plan? Talk to your dentist to make sure that your dental plan (if you have one) will cover the treatment you need.
Location and Office Hours: If you will be visiting your dentist regularly, you will save a lot of time and hassle by making sure your dentist is nearby and has hours that suit your work schedule. There are many practices that stay open late to accommodate people with inflexible work hours.
Cost: The difference between the rates that dentists charge can vary quite significantly. Different dentists charge different rates, but many will also try to work with you if you don't have insurance or if money is tight. Be forthright about your financial situation with your dentist if it is a concern.
Emergency Care: If you slip and fall in your bathroom and chip a tooth in the middle of the night, will your dentist be willing to come to the office to help you? Inquiring about after-hours visits can save you a lot of pain later on, if worst comes to worst.
Products: While many companies are selling tooth-whitening products, like gums or toothpastes, the results achieved under a dentist's supervision are far greater than what you can get over the counter. Even the strongest over-the-counter whitening kits use peroxide (the chemical used to whiten teeth) concentrations of only 10%. Dentists, on the other hand, have access to much stronger solutions, ranging up to 40% concentration. Make sure the products your dentist uses match your goals.
Application: In some cases, tooth whitening has been linked to damage near the gum-line. The method of application that has the best long-term results for teeth is to use a custom-made tray for the bleach (which can be made by your dentist).
Delay: If you have missing teeth, making sure to move quickly to prevent bone loss is essential. Without the constant exercise of chewing, the jawbone begins to atrophy and shrink, and becomes brittle. If you spend too long with no teeth, your profile can change significantly, and your appearance can age decades. Finding a dentist to work with you quickly is of the essence.
Aftercare: Dental implants can require subsequent adjustment before they are truly comfortable. Finding a dentist who will adjust your implants for free (or a reasonable price, depending on the cost of the surgery) can make sure that your implants are comfortable for life.
Dentures: While some dentists may make dentures, most often you will need to go to a denturist. See if your dentist can provide these services, or if you will have to find another dental professional.