For starters, he isn’t who you think he is. Meaning, your dentist probably isn’t the right person for you or your teeth. I know this may seem hard to believe, but before we dive into that subject, let me start by introducing myself.
Hi, I’m Dr. Jeff Khoury… A Lebanese male in my 30s and I’m very pleased to be writing to you.
You’re probably wondering why a dentist would think of starting a blog. Well the truth is, every day that goes by, I realize that there is very little awareness when it comes to the average person’s knowledge of the world of Dentistry. So I felt the need to jump right in there and speak directly to you, so I can help guide and put you on the right track.
You may think you don’t need guidance or advice, but trust me… you do!
Some things you should know
Something as basic as choosing your dentist, or more specifically, choosing the right dentist, seems easy enough, no? You’ve probably asked your friends who their dentist is, if he’s good, if he’s cute, old, young, etc. Then you have probably made your decision to go to them based on whatever answers you’ve been given. And if your friend or family member says “Oh, he’s an EXCELLENT dentist!”, that makes it even better and you should definitely go to him, right?
As I stated in the opening line of this blog, not many people know who their dentists actually are, what they really do, nor what their specialty is.
A basic surgery, such as the removal of a wisdom tooth can be the most traumatizing experience for a patient when it shouldn’t be. Patients will complain about the long duration of the surgery, how painful it was, and how terrible the swelling was afterwards. When I would ask the patient why they did their surgery with a dentist who was a General Practitioner and not a specialist, they would answer that they went to him because he was a surgeon, simply because “Dental Surgeon” or “Chirurgien Dentiste” was written on his sign. And this is where the biggest misunderstanding lies.
It is imperative for you all to know that any Doctor that studies Dentistry for 5 years earns the title of “Dental Surgeon”, but that doesn’t actually mean that he/she is a surgeon. On the contrary, most dentists usually have very little surgical experience, unless they specialized in oral surgery.
My case as an example
After graduation, I specialized in Periodontics, commonly known as Periodontal Plastic Surgery. In normal English, that stands for the study of everything to do with teeth such as gum, bone and dental implants as well as diseases and conditions that affect them. In even more basic English, that means that if something is wrong with your gums & bones (inflamed, bleeding, bone resorption), if your teeth are moving, or if you need to replace your missing teeth with dental implants, you come to me.
Since my father is also a Periodontist, I was able to learn from him, watch him, study his work and gain my experience through the process of practice and observation. That’s how I knew what I wanted to do. Because I loved every minute of it.
Find out who your doctor is
You need to be aware that nowadays, there are about 10 specialties when it comes to dentistry.
In Lebanon, there are two ways to find out what your dentist’s specialty is:
1- Ask him or her directly what their specialty is. (Seems obvious but you would be surprised how few people actually think about that or are too shy to ask!)
Be very cautious of dentists who claim to do everything from A to Z, because they may know all the general and basic stuff, but they won’t be up to date with the specifics and ways in which techniques and machines may have evolved and developed.
I know most of you are probably used to going to the same dentist, or you may feel disloyal going to someone else, but trust me when I tell you, your dentist is the only person in your life you are allowed to cheat on. Doctor’s orders! :)