The Basics You Need To Know Before Visiting A Dentist

Forming a long-term relationship with a dentist is a good way to take care of your oral health. Many people, though, merely think of a dentist as a tooth doctor. There's a lot more to the job, and it's worth learning more about the profession before you visit a dentist.

Finding a Dentist

There are four major professional organizations in the U.S. that accredit dentists, and the American Dental Association is easily the biggest. The National Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, and American Academy of Periodontics also provide accreditation. When looking at a dentist's website, it's good to check on their career profile to see what their accreditations are and what their educational background is.


Not all dentists handle the same tasks. Some are comfortable, for example, with handling root canals, while others may send you to a specialist. The same is the case with oral surgeries, especially major ones such as complex wisdom teeth extractions or dental implant procedures. When you first consult with a dentist, it's a good idea to ask them which specialists they prefer to refer clients to when they can't handle a problem. This will permit you a chance to then check out those specialists long before you might need to visit one of them.

Knowing When to See the Dentist

First, you should make a point of scheduling regular checkups with a dentist and a dental hygienist. That said, there will be other times when you'll need to get an appointment.

Some cases are obvious, such as having a loose tooth, especially one that you can't explain. Dental sensitivity of any kind is also worth a trip to the dentist just to see if there's anything going on. An instance many people don't think about is when they have sporting needs, particularly obtaining mouth guards. A custom mouth guard may allow an athlete to breathe better.

Things Dentists Deal With Besides Teeth

The dentist is often the first person with experience providing medical diagnoses who gets a chance to see a wide range of problems in a patient. For example, the link between gum disease and heart disease means that your dentist may be able to spot indicators that you're at heightened risk for a stroke. Dentists also help patients address problems like sleep apnea, and they can even check for facial injuries that are only noticeable when a person bites down.