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Dentists are healthcare professionals trained to help you care for your teeth, gums, and all of the soft tissues of your mouth. They have had several years of training in dental medicine. A dentist has 1 of 2 possible degrees: a DDS (doctor of dental surgery) or DMD (doctor of dental medicine) degree. There is no difference between the 2 degrees. The degree a dentist has depends on the school he or she attended.
Here are a few tips on finding a good dentist:
If you are looking for charitable or low-cost dental care, check with your state dental society to see if there are community health centers, assistance programs, or a dental school clinic in your area. Dental schools often have clinics that allow dental students to gain experience treating patients while providing very good care for a lower cost. Experienced, licensed dentists closely supervise the students. You can also contact your state or local health department to find out what services are offered in your area.
Look for a dentist in a location easy for you to get to, either from home or from work. Call the dentist's office and ask if they are taking new patients. Ask about office hours and appointments, payment policy, and insurance coverage. When you visit the office, check for neatness and cleanliness.
You and your dentist are partners in maintaining your oral health. Take the time to ask questions.
For more information, contact the American Dental Association at 1-800-621-8099, or visit their Web site at http://www.ada.org.