Dentist provide treatment with help from dental hygienists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist
performs professional dental cleanings. The hygienist’s designation may be RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist), or
RDHEF (Registered Dental Hygienist with Extended Functions).
A dental assistant may assist a dentist during a procedure, set up anesthesia, expose and develop
radiographs or perform other general tasks. In accordance with U.S. law, dental hygienists and dental
assistants must work under the supervision of a dentist.
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12 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dentist
When selecting a dentist and corresponding dental practice based on a need for cosmetic dentistry
procedures (teeth whitening, porcelain veneers) or restorative procedures (dental fillings, dental crowns),
it is important to consider the following factors:
Find out how long the practice has been in operation.Ask about the extent of the dentist’s training and
clinical experience in performing the specific procedure you may require. For example, not all dentists are trained in specific cosmetic dentistry procedures.
In addition, certain procedures, such as an anterior porcelain veneer, may serve both an
esthetic and functional need. A procedure that satisfies both needs might be the better option when compared with
a standard functional restoration offering no esthetic benefit, but you will need to investigate which dentists
have the training and experience to perform the procedure that best meets your needs.
If the dentist does not perform certain procedures, ask about his referral process.
Before committing yourself to a dentist, identify all the procedure options that would solve your cosmetic
dental concern. Ask about the pros and cons of each option.
Ask about the types of professional dental societies the dentist participates in. Some societies require dentists
to take continuing education classes to keep them up- to-date on the latest procedures and technological
advances in the field.
Ask about the type of emergency dental care offered. For example, is the dentist available
after hours and on weekends?
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