The Internet is full of information on every subject imaginable, including dentistry. Unfortunately, it’s also full of a lot of misinformation, too, so it’s important to pick your sources carefully. Here are some of the places you can go to find reliable dental information online.
If you search for dental information online, you’ll probably be directed to WebMD. The information here is mostly accurate, but it’s often fairly basic and generic. As a result, it may be inaccurate because of omissions of important points. This is not a place where we would recommend you stop your search, but it’s a good place to start because it’s got articles on virtually everything. You can get a good primer here, then refine your search to find more detailed pieces on other sites. The articles are also inconsistent: some are much better than others.
California Dental Association (CDA) Fact Sheets
As much as a it pains a Texan to praise something from California, we have to admit that the CDA has done a pretty good job with its fact sheets. Like WebMD, these are very basic primers. But they’re consistent and they’ll give you a good, firm footing in the topic, enough to understand what your dentist is talking about when they describe your problems and treatments.
The Dental Economics family of magazines has a bit of the opposite problem of WebMD. Because the articles are written by dentists for dentists, they can be a bit dense. And they’re often focused on very specific topics that may or may not be relevant to your question. But the information is very accurate, detailed, and drawn from the experience of real dentists (or, in the case of RDH, real hygienists), so it’s very reliable. If you can find an article here that answers your question, you can generally rely on it.
RealSelf is a website that started out as a forum for plastic surgery patients to share their experience with a particular procedure, talk about the cost, and tell whether they thought the procedure was worth it or not. Since then, it’s expanded to cover cosmetic dentistry and other elective medical procedures as well. It allows people to ask questions and get answers back from real doctors and dentists.
Since dentists don’t want to talk costs on their websites or over the phone, the cost information at RealSelf is invaluable–you just can’t get that information anywhere else. People sharing their experiences are also invaluable, and they can help you see where things went well and hopefully avoid any pitfalls that might not be obvious before you start a treatment.
The answers from dentists can be hit-and-miss. Our own Woodlands cosmetic dentist Dr. Scott Young has contributed over 1000 answers to the community, and these are all, of course, good. But often doctors and dentists provide answers that are vague or off-topic. And there’s the problem that the dentists only have limited information to work with–they can’t be too specific or too detailed with what they have.
Nothing Replaces a Consultation
Of course, if you are looking for the most accurate information about your condition, there is simply no replacement for a consultation with a dentist. Here’s why:
- You know the information is coming from a dentist
- The information is customized to your situation and may be based on an examination of your teeth and mouth
- You can ask as many questions as you need to understand
- The dentist can ask you questions to make sure you understand
- The dentist can show you relevant examples from their experience
- You can get in touch with former patients with similar experience
As a result, the information you get will not only be comprehensive and detailed, it will be easy to understand, and you’ll get a better idea about what’s really going on in your mouth and what treatments can help you best.
This is especially recommended if you’re trying to get a second opinion. If you are unsure about your dentist’s recommendations, don’t go online for information–talk to another dentist.
If you are looking for accurate dental information in The Woodlands or Houston, please call (281) 367-5559 today for an appointment with Dr. Scott Young, Purveyor of Fine Dentistry.