What To Do – And Especially What NOT To Do, If You Need a New Dentist

by Dr. Max Zaslavsky

When you are new to an area, unsatisfied with your current dentist, or have to find a new dentist for any other reason, the task can be daunting. Does this one accept my dental insurance? Does that one work well with children? It seems like there are a lot of things to take into consideration. While there are many factors to go over when picking the best dentist for you, two very important things to consider are training and specialty.

In order to practice dentistry, a student must complete 3-4 years of undergraduate classes (usually a bachelor’s degree) followed by 4 years of school at an ADA (American Dental Association) approved dental school. Successful completion of this school will result in being awarded a degree of DDS or DMD which stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine respectfully. Both degrees are equal and basically mean the same thing so do not assume they are different kinds of dentists. After obtaining the education required, a potential dentist must pass the state’s requirements for licensing before they can practice. The states specifications vary, but all require passing the National Board Dental Exams.

At this point a dentist can begin practicing as a general dentist doing most dental procedures. This includes crowns, bridges, braces, dentures, extractions, etc. This means that as a patient, you don’t have to go to an “orthodontist” for braces. You can go to a licensed dentist. Of course, this depends on whether or not they want to do this work. A general dentist who has been out of school for many years will probably have lost a lot of knowledge in these off-shoot areas of dentistry. So it’s important the dentist is active in professional development and continuing education courses every year to ensure his or her patients get the most advanced techniques modern dentistry has to offer.

If a dentist chooses to go on and become specialized in any area, they will receive extensive training as well as certification in that area. Some of the specialized areas are orthodontics, pediatrics, endodontic, etc. So while any licensed dentist can perform most things you will need as a patient, a Fort Lauderdale dentist with a specialization in the area will be more up to date on new technology and education, and probably have more logged hours in the specific procedures than a general dentist.

Though there are different specializations, neither cosmetic nor family is considered a specialization by the ADA. There is no extra training available for a “cosmetic dentist” or a “family dentist”. If you are looking for dental work done simply for looks purposes, most dentists can perform procedures such as whitening, tooth re-shaping, or bridges to give you a better smile. If you are looking for a “family dentist” to treat all members of your family, your best bet is to see a Ft. Lauderdale general dentist or send your children only to a dentist with a specialization in pediatrics.

To choose which dentist is best for you, check specialization, and training along with other categories like insurance and location that are important to you… And whatever you do, don’t let a friend work on your mouth no matter how much your tooth hurts.

Dr. Max Zaslavsky is a dentist in Fort Lauderdale. His office accepts emergencies and is equipped with the latest technology to provide a better patient experience. When Dr. Max is not working with patients, or continuing his professional development, he enjoys watching a Marlins game, going to the gym and attending live music events in the South Florida area.

Dr. Max Zaslavsky – who has written posts on Dentist Fort Lauderdale FL – Dr. Max Zaslavsky, DMD.


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Max Zaslavsky DMD

Dentist in Fort Lauderdale
6451 N. Federal Highway, Ste. 129 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
Latitude: 26.2075996 Longitude: -80.10801679999997
Phone: (954) 491-3544