Finding a good dentist is a challenge many people face. Because dental insurance is typically separate from your health insurance, you will likely start your search for a dentist by first securing an insurance place. After that, you’ll be able to find dentists within your network. At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, we believe that patient education is the key to effective dentistry. Learn more about how to find a good dentist and other frequently asked questions before you schedule your first appointment.
1. How Do You Find a Good Dentist?
The first step to finding a good dentist is looking for a dentist within your insurance network and a dentist that is local to your area, as both of these factors will narrow down your search. From there, you will need to narrow down your potential dentistry provider based on the type of services you or your family needs.
For example, if you have children, then you will need to find a dentist that specializes in child dentistry. If you or your family members need orthodontic care, then you will need to find a dental expert who can take care of cosmetic concerns. And not all dentists can perform extractions, so if you think your teeth may need to be pulled because of excessive decay, then it’s important to verify all the services that are offered at the dental clinic.
2. Do All Dentists Offer the Same Services?
Family and general dentists typically have a certain degree of overlap. Adults can generally find a dentist that will serve all major preventative and treatment needs. Your dentist will likely offer services such as cleanings, fluoride treatments, basic fillings, and dental prosthetics like partial or full dentures.
That said, some dental offices do specialize in certain treatments, such as dental surgeons and orthodontists. You can always prick a primary dentist who can then refer you to specialty dentists should the need arise. Some specialties you may need a referral for include:
- Maxillofacial and oral surgeons
3. What Happens During Your Dental Visit?
If this is your first time seeing a new dentist, then you should expect your first treatment to involve both cleaning and an exam. During your dental visit, a dental hygienist will clean your teeth and gums, take X-rays of your teeth, and identify any obvious areas of concern. Then a dentist will examine your teeth, noting any areas that need attention due to cavities, gum disease, or other concerns.
Based on what your dentist finds during your exam, you may be scheduled for additional dental treatments, such as fillings for cavities or referrals to other specialists. For example, for adults, it’s common for wisdom teeth to cause problems that will need to be addressed and your regular dentist may not be able to extract these teeth so you might get a referral.
4. When Should Children See a Dentist?
To foster trust in dentistry and enthusiasm for dental hygiene at a young age, it’s important to start children young with dental appointments. Many experts agree that children should regularly see a dentist at least once or twice a year from the ages of three to five. These early appointments will be basic dental exams to keep an eye on how baby teeth are growing. By age five, children should have dental cleanings as well.
When children see dentists early in life, they can create healthier dental hygiene habits. This also gives dentists an opportunity to spot any potential dental issues or cosmetic concerns, particularly when adult teeth start growing during later childhood. Routine dental visits are good for overall dental health.
5. When Should you See a Dentist?
Adults should see a dentist at least once or twice a year for regular cleanings. Dental cleanings will scrape hard plaque off the teeth to prevent dental decay, treat the teeth with concentrated fluoride to strengthen the enamel, and correct early dental concerns before they progress. For example, identifying the start of serious dental concerns can prevent the need for procedures like a root canal.
6. What About Emergency Dentistry?
Even people who take very good care of their teeth may run into a situation where emergency or urgent dental care is necessary. Most dental offices offer some amount of emergency dental care for common concerns, including toothaches, broken teeth, cracked teeth, knocked out teeth, missing fillings, lost crowns, gum concerns, and more.
It’s important to seek dental care when you are experiencing heavy bleeding or excessive pain. Dental concerns can interfere with your ability to eat, communicate, and live your life peacefully. Untreated pain, swelling, bleeding, and abscesses can because further health complications, including infections. Seeking emergency or urgent dental care when you need it is an important part of staying healthy.
7. How Can You Take Care of Your Teeth At Home?
When it comes to your teeth, preventative care is the best policy. You should be sure to adopt healthy dental hygiene practices each day so you can have better oral health. If you stay on top of your dental hygiene, then your dental appointments will be smoother and you will spend less money on corrective treatments.
You should brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, particularly after eating and before bed. You can use mouthwash between brushing to keep teeth clean and bacteria-free. You may want to use products that support enamel health if you are a heavy coffee drinker or drink wine or colas frequently since the acids in these beverages can make enamel weak.
8. What Should You Do In Case of a Dental Emergency?
If you are having a dental emergency, then you should immediately contact your dental office to schedule an urgent appointment for care. While you are waiting for your appointment, there are some things you can do at home to reduce your discomfort. Based on your particular issue, you may need to take different steps – however, it’s generally safe to wash your mouth with lukewarm water, apply topical dental numbing creams, and take oral pain relievers like Tylenol.
If you have a broken tooth, cracked tooth, or missing filling, then you may be able to temporarily treat your concern by using dental cement until you can be seen by a dentist. Dental cement will keep everything in place so your dental emergency doesn’t get worse. Our office can give you more specific directions based on your dental emergency.
9. Should You Use an Electric Toothbrush?
Some people prefer to use an electric toothbrush for everyday dental hygiene instead of a traditional toothbrush. The fact of the matter is that electric toothbrushes do a better job of adequately cleaning the teeth of plaque and bacteria. However, just like a regular toothbrush, you will still need to replace the head of your electric toothbrush every three months for the best results.
Some people also like to use a waterpik instead of traditional flossing. Again, a waterpik is more effective than flossing, particularly for removing plaque. However, a waterpik may not be appropriate for people who have certain fillings or dental concerns. Always discuss the use of electric equipment with your dentist.
10. Can You Prevent Dental Concerns?
The best medicine is always prevention, so is there anything you can do to prevent common dental concerns? Aside from healthy dental hygiene practices like brushing and flossing, there are some things you may be able to do to improve your oral health. For many people, the biggest task is reducing cavity formation, and the key to that may be found in your diet.
A diet rich in calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, magnesium, and phosphorus is important to provide your body with enough resources to keep the minerals in your enamel strong. Likewise, avoiding sugary foods, drinks, and starches is also important – although if you do eat sugary foods, brushing your teeth afterward can be helpful.
Schedule Your Dentistry Appointment Today
Dentistry is an important part of maintaining your overall health. However, finding a dentist is usually easier said than done because of the way health insurance is organized. When you do find a dentist you like, it’s essential to make sure the dentist offers services that you or your family will need to maintain oral health. Please contact Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA today to schedule your first dental appointment.