While dentists in Jacksonville, Florida are aplenty, only a handful are true experts in their trade. Finding the best cosmetic dentist can be an even trickier endeavor but no matter what kind of work you find yourself needing, there are definitely things to look for when searching for the best dentists in Jacksonville.
Indeed, finding the right dentist for you and your family can be as taxing as finding a parking space in a crowded shopping center…while this comparison may at first seem extreme, it is important to note that there are copious amounts of dentists practicing all over the Jacksonville area with their own specializations, specific locations and office hours. How do you narrow your search down to that one dentist who’s right for you?
To make matters even more confusing, some dentists’ names conclude with “DDS” (doctor of dental surgery) and others with “DMD” (doctor of dental medicine). What’s the difference? Luckily, these references are really just semantics; both DMDs and DDs studied under the same roofs and earned the same degrees. These titles basically inform you, the patient, that the dentist has had the proper training to perform dental treatment as a general dentist.
- Step One: Know What You Need – Often practicing under the monikers of “cosmetic dentist” or “family dentistry” to indicate that they offer cosmetic dental treatments – or can treat their patients’ entire families – general dentists aren’t officially recognized dental specialists. The specialists recognized by the American Dental Association include pedodontists (also known as pediatric dentists), endodontists (root canal specialists), oral and maxillofacial surgeons (tooth extraction and oral surgery), prosthodontists (restorative specialists), periodontists (gum disease treatment specialists) and, for dental braces, an orthodontist (bite specialist).
When you suffer from symptoms such as a severe headache, recurring jaw pain or bleeding gums, it can be instinctual to assume you need to see a dental specialist – and while you could be right, most dental specialists require that you first visit a general dentist for a comprehensive exam.
- Step Two: Know What Questions to Ask – It’s important to ask the right questions when choosing the best dentist for you and your family. Part of this is finding out key information about the dentist’s office such as:
– Dentist’s training
– Office location
– Office hours and emergency care
– Patient comfort protocols
– Fees and payment plans
– How long the practice has been in operation
– Referral process
– Procedure options; the pros and cons of each
– Types of professional dental societies the dentist participates in
– The use of dental lasers as an alternative to traditional dental tools such as tooth drilling and scalpels
- Step Three: Consider the American Dental Association’s Suggestions – When searching for a dentist in Jacksonville, the ADA offers these tips:
– Ask family, friends, neighbors or co-workers for their recommendations
– Ask your family doctor or local pharmacist
– If you’re moving to Jacksonville, ask your current dentist to make a recommendation
– Contact a Florida state dental society, found on ADA’s website at www.ada.org.
You and your Jacksonville dentist will be long-term oral health partners…you should find someone you can be comfortable with.