If you are moving to Raleigh, North Carolina or the Research Triangle Park area, this information can help you find the best dentist to provide the most appropriate level of care for you and your family.
How accessible are dentists in Raleigh?
In Raleigh, dental care is much more accessible than in many other parts of North Carolina. Raleigh is located in Wake County, which is one of North Carolina’s eight counties with a dentist-to-patient ratio that exceeds the national average. Sadly, the state of North Carolina is ranked 47th in the nation in terms of dentist to patient ratio. While the state ranks low in the availability of dental care, Raleigh residents have excellent access compared to the rest of the United States. By combining the June 2009 figures from the North Carolina Dental Board with the Raleigh census figures from 2008, it can be extrapolated that there is a ratio of approximately one dentist for every 1,350 residents.
What kind of quality can I expect?
The quality of care (as well as the number of dental providers) in Raleigh is influenced by the nearby University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Raleigh, the Research Triangle Park area, and neighboring cities and counties have exceptional access to dental care, thanks in large part to the presence of graduates from this school.
Founded in 1954, the UNC School of Dentistry has a national reputation for both research and education. Each year the school admits around 80 students into its DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) program, and about 80% of them are in-state admissions. In the United States, dental schools, unlike medical and law schools, do not have official classifications. However, UNC is usually one of the top contenders on unofficial lists. National respect for the UNC School of Dentistry program helps validate the quality of dental services that graduates of that school provide in Raleigh.
The North Carolina Dental Board is the regulatory body for dental service providers in North Carolina. Its mission is to ensure that the dental profession deserves and receives the trust of the public and that only qualified individuals are allowed to practice dentistry and dental hygiene in the state of North Carolina.
What types of dental service providers are there?
While the North Carolina Dental Board is the regulatory body, the North Carolina Dental Society is a professional organization that promotes the improvement of the oral health of the public and the art and science of dentistry. It encourages the maintenance of high standards of practice and competence, and represents the interests of members of the dental profession and the public it serves. While membership in the professional organization is not required, the North Carolina Dental Society provides figures that give an idea of the distribution of different types of dental care providers in Raleigh. Raleigh members include dental providers in these commonly used categories: General Practice (142), Orthodontists (17), Oral / Maxillofacial Surgery (11), Endodontists (9), Pediatrics (8), Periodontists (7). June 2009 figures from the North Carolina Dental Board indicated that 264 dentists in Raleigh were licensed to practice General Dentistry. The combination of these two sets of numbers should allow a rough extrapolation of the number of specialty providers.
What are the emerging trends in dental care?
In Raleigh, dental service delivery is beginning to change, thanks to the forward thinking of some dentists. This change means making a broader range of dental care services available under one roof. General dentists willing to invest in proper training can offer a broader range of dental care services, a concept sometimes referred to as Comprehensive Dentistry. Some also include cosmetic dentistry services. Having services provided under one roof also eliminates the need to obtain consents and transfer dental records from one practice to another.
This emerging model of dental care in Raleigh has several advantages, one of which is that the dentist most familiar with the patient’s dental care and preferences can provide most, if not all, of the services needed in a familiar setting. A familiar environment can help reduce the anxiety that some patients experience when they have to see a (new) specialist for necessary services. (Rest assured, general dentists who provide a broader range of dental services refer very complex cases to the appropriate dental care specialists who focus on a single, very specific dental care problem and whose skills may be required in those situations. individuals).
Since specialists in Raleigh are not as accessible as general dentists (see figures above), general dentists who offer a broader range of services can help provide more timely treatment for many “non-routine” dental needs (eg. . Eg, Wisdom teeth extraction, treatments, orthodontics). Ask any prospective dental care provider in Raleigh to explain the range of services the office makes available to you, as well as the specific credentials of the dentists. You can also ask if the practice is accredited by the state of North Carolina to perform sedation dentistry, because the state recently enacted guidelines and an accreditation process to ensure public safety in the administration of sedation in dental practices.