The dental health industry is full of exciting new procedures and treatment options. With so many possibilities, understanding what’s available may seem daunting. Whether you’re in need of routine dental care or specialized treatment, an open discussion with your dentist can take some of the anxiety out of your next dental appointment. Below are five questions you should be sure to ask. 1. What are your credentials? Only licensed professionals should perform dental procedures. In order to practice general dentistry, dentists must hold a degree as either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). When you’re in need of more specialized treatment, such as orthodontics, ask if your dentist has had additional training and is a member of a professional association. For example, completion of an accredited orthodontic program is required to be an orthodontist. In addition, membership in a professional association—like the American Association of Orthodontists—indicates that a dentist has proven skills in this specialty. 2. How much experience do you have? An experienced dentist can help you feel more secure than a novice. Practice is often required to perfect certain techniques. Cosmetic procedures such as inlays, implants and dental veneers are permanent changes. Conditions like periodontal disease and TMJ symptoms are complex and require a professional with proven ability. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist how long he’s been in practice. Find out how many times he’s performed a particular procedure or treated other patients with a similar condition. If his experience is limited, you may want to ask for a referral to someone with a longer track record. 3. What are your patients saying about you? Look for patient testimonials on your dentist’s website and office brochures. Ask for references from other patients and—when you are considering more extensive procedures—before and after photos. Many dental offices gather data regarding patient satisfaction and can provide you with this information. 4. What should I expect during treatment? Fear of the unexpected can make going to the dentist stressful. Address pain medication, comfort concerns and the recovery process during your initial consultation. Find out if sedation will be needed for your treatment and also how many visits are typically required. This will not only help you with planning your care, it will also ease your mind. 5. How much will my treatment cost? Dental insurance plans vary, covering the cost of some dental treatments but not others. Routine care cost may be completely covered by insurance while dental braces cost may receive only partial reimbursement. Cosmetic dentistry cost is generally not covered at all. Find out about any out-of-pocket expenses you’ll incur and make financial arrangements prior to beginning treatment. Your first step to a brilliant smile is a consultation with a dental provider, such as a cosmetic dentist Toronto patients trust for orthodontist care, dental veneers and treatment for their TMJ symptoms. For a personal evaluation of your dental situation, contact a dentist and schedule a consultation.