According to Florida Health there are 13,000 licensed dentists looking after the oral health needs of the 20 million strong population in warm and sunny Florida. Of that population base, 800,000 live in Jacksonville, and are well protected by three professional bodies: the Florida Dental Association, the Jacksonville Dental Society and the American Dental Association. All respectable dentists are members of these associations.
Why does professional membership matter?
One of the reasons to choose a dentist that is a member of a professional body is the security of knowing this means your oral health professional is staying up to date in new legislation, new techniques and educated in new advances in dentistry. They are also covered by insurance and participate in community services.
Looking after the teeth of the Jacksonville population is not something that is taken lightly. Most dentists work as part of a team in order to provide a consistent quality of care. This not only provides cover in case of illness but allows for specialists to be constantly feed from internal sources, creating a continuous flow of care for the clients. Working as a team also means that a dental practice can provide care for an entire family, from paediatric dental care, braces and teen oral health right through to crowns or dentures and elder care. If you look around you can find a dentist’s office that is able to take multiple appointments simultaneously, so you can arrange a single trip and take the whole family in one sitting. Particularly if you just need your annual clean and check-up. An example of a dental practice that is able to look after your entire family is Farnham Dentistry https://www.farnhamdentistry.com.
Many practices now offer a “Gentle Dental” service. What this means is dentists that are compassionate, putting the needs of their clients first, particularly able to look after clients that may be fearful about aspects of dentistry. The aim of a gentle dental practice is to provide oral care in a painless manner. This may include using a numbing gel then using a local anaesthetic, before any dental work is undertaken. First and foremost is listening to the patient and discussing what the procedure will entail. This allows the dentist to understand any fears or difficulties, to work through any potential problems and create a strategy that makes the dentist visit a pleasant experience. For some clients this may mean in-depth explanations of what will happen, for others this may require work to be completed in very short bursts, or even something as simple as turning on music. Most dentists will also come up with a signal that patients can use when they need to take a break (including just to swallow!).
Your dentist should be able to provide you with a clear indication of what treatment you need, both short term and long term. Your dentist may say you only need to continue with the annual check-up and clean, may be able to see a need for future work (particularly in the case of younger patients), or may suggest an immediate need.
A qualified dentist will have not only spent time at university earning a bachelor’s degree, but then followed on earning a specialist qualification in dentistry (either a DDS – Doctor of Dental Surgery or DMD – Doctor of Dental Medicine). From here the dentists is still unable to practice until they have passed the National Board Dental Examinations, which is made up of a written exam as well as a practical exam. To know more about National Board Dental Examinations, click here.
The final requirement before being able to practice dentistry is to obtain a license from the state in which the dentist wishes to practice. Some states also require the dentist to have additional qualifications like a first aid certificate. In Jacksonville licenses are obtained through the Florida Board of Dentistry. Not only do dentists need to be qualified and licensed, but also dental hygienists. In order to maintain a practicing licence in Florida there is also a requirement for approved continuing education. This ensures that you can be confident if you are being treated by a licenced dentist in Jacksonville you are receiving care from someone who is competent and uses the best techniques available.