If you live in Raleigh, NC and are trying to choose a new dentist, you could easily face a dilemma when you start trying to narrow the field to suit your own purposes. Most of the state is underserved when it comes to patient/dentist ratios. Not so for Raleigh, perhaps due to the presence of the nearby UNC Dental School. Ignoring for a moment the existence of clear subspecialties of dentistry (such as oral surgeons and periodontists), there are more than 250 general dentists in Raleigh from whom to choose!
Because there are so many general dentists in Raleigh, many choose to focus on a specific audience, such as children (pediatric dentistry). But you may become confused about what services other types of dentists are actually making available to you, especially if you read the promotional materials for Raleigh dentists. All of the categories that follow are merely areas of focus that, like pediatric dentistry, have to do with the type of people a Raleigh dental practice is trying to specifically serve. This is, after all, an age of specialization, and it just makes good sense for dentists in Raleigh to be responsive to needs of different types of patients. The same approach for choosing a dentist cannot be used successfully in many other areas of the state of North Carolina – especially rural areas, where one or just a few dentists may be trying to serve the needs of an entire county. (That’s why plans for a second dental school in the state were recently launched.) Warrenton Invisalign
To help you sort through your confusion if you live in Raleigh, the categories most often used by general dentists in the area are defined below. These definitions are provided to assist you in making the best choice possible for your circumstances. The definitions are informal; most being neither formally defined by the American Dental Association nor by the NC Dental Board. Except where indicated in the definitions, there are no specific regulations that govern them. The NC Dental Board requires that all general dentists meet certain guidelines, and general dentists in Raleigh may opt to call themselves any of the following (except where additional requirements apply and have been noted below). In Raleigh, using the first four categories – if they are applicable to your needs – is one of the quickest ways to narrow the field of 250 dentists significantly. If you have needs for Sedation Dentistry, you will narrow the field even more quickly. (Raleigh had only six NC Dental Board certified providers of Oral Conscious Sedation dentistry in June 2009.)
-Cosmetic Dentistry – Dentists who perform work that is primarily aesthetic in nature – in other words, they provide services that will enhance your smile.
-Sedation Dentistry – Dentists who provide additional sedation services (beyond the “standard” anesthetics used by most general dentists) to help manage anxiety and sensitivity to pain. Effective in 2009, the NC Dental Board now regulates the administration of sedation by general dentists – requiring both special training and experience for those who provide sedation services. There are different levels of sedation permits. Most patients who experience anxiety or have sensitivity to pain can be served by the level known as Oral Conscious Sedation.
-Implant Dentistry – Dentists who provide dental implants (replacements for your natural teeth), which are an alternative to dentures and bridges, or may be used in conjunction with them to provide greater stability and/or an improved, more natural appearance.
-Comprehensive Dentistry – Dentists who are interested in being full-service providers for their patients – sparing the patient/family from frequent referrals to specialists. Their services may include cosmetic and implant dentistry services, orthodontic services, and periodontal treatments – in addition of preventive dentistry services. These dentists may have more extensive training in order to offer the broader range of services. (Check the experience.) In addition to convenience, they offer an ongoing and full understanding of the patient (needs, preferences, expectations, general health) to make all aspects of dental care more customized and easier for patients. This is a relatively new type of practice in Raleigh, although rapidly gaining popularity.