Coastal Ear, Nose and Throat
What is an ENT?
Ear, nose, and throat doctors are clinically known as otolaryngologists. They are physicians specializing in the treatment of diseases and conditions of the ear, nose, throat region and related areas of the head and neck.
Specifically, ENTs deal with hearing and balance, sinus and allergy, sleep and breathing, as well as speech and swallowing. ENT specialists are medical doctors and surgeons. To become an ENT requires five to eight years of intensive, post-graduate training beyond medical school.
When should I see an ENT doctor?
Otolaryngology is a wide-ranging medical specialty focused on health problems of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck. Frequently a primary care provider will refer you to a specialist if you have specific issues in this region. Since the ENTs at Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat provide both medical and surgical care, if surgery is necessary the patient does not need to be referred elsewhere.
Do I need a referral to see an ENT doctor?
This depends on your insurance. If your insurance allows you to “self-refer” you can come see a specialist at Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat for conditions as wide ranging as sinus infections to balance disorders to tonsil infections. If your carrier requires a referral, you’ll need to have your family doctor or primary care physician provide a referral.
What conditions does an ENT doctor treat?
Pretty much anything involving the ears, nose, throat, and head and neck region is within our expertise at Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat. These can be as simple as treating an ear infection or as complex as skull base surgery. Here are examples to demonstrate the scope of conditions we deal with, although this list is far from complete:
- Ear (otology/neurotology) — Ear infections; hearing loss; inner ear damage, balance, dizziness; ringing in the ears (tinnitus); ear, face, or neck pain
- Nose (rhinology) — Rhinitis, sinusitis, sinus headaches, migraines, deviated septum, nasal obstruction, nasal surgery, allergies
- Throat (laryngology) — Vocal cord disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) sore throat, hoarseness, throat tumors, airway disorders
- Head and Neck/Thyroid — Cancers of the head and neck, neck masses, Grave’s disease, enlarged thyroid glands, pituitary gland tumors, salivary disorders
- Sleep — Sleep apnea, nasal and airway obstruction, snoring, sleep-disordered breathing
- Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery — Cleft palates, drooping eyelids, ear deformities, facial paralysis, trauma and cancer reconstruction
- Pediatrics — Birth defects of the head and neck, developmental delays, ear infection, tonsil and adenoid infection, airway problems, asthma, allergies
How do I choose an ENT doctor?
As with all doctors, these are personal decisions, but there are some general tips for choosing the correct ENT to fit your needs.
- Get referrals — Ask your primary care physician, family, friends, and other healthcare providers for referrals.
- Research the credentials — Look for board certification, as this details a higher level of training, skill, and experience. Read reviews on sites such as Healthgrades.com.
- Consider experience — Does the ENT doctor have subspecialty training in the area of your diagnosis? How many patients have he or she treated/operated on for this condition? What have been the complication rates?
- Is gender important — Certain patients prefer a same sex ENT. Some ENTs perform subtly varying treatments depending on the patient’s sex.
- Communication style — Is your potential ENT doctor engaged and intent on answering all of your questions? Do you feel comfortable with the potential doctor?
- Surgical facilities — If surgery may be necessary, are the facilities the state-of-the-art? What are the accreditations? What about new technology?
- Insurance coverage — Of course, you need to be sure your potential ENT doctor is covered under your insurance’s plan.
What can I expect from my first appointment?
When you come in for your first appointment with the team at Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat you’ll know you’re in the finest hands. Our physicians come from high-level training programs, with extensive experience treating both common and complex problems in both children and adults. It is our mission to provide you with a unique level of compassion and care. All of our physicians are board certified in Pediatric and Adult Otolaryngology. We also have fellowship-trained surgeons that specialized in pediatrics, head and neck cancer, rhinology/anterior skull base surgery, laryngology/voice and neurotology/lateral skull base surgery.
Your first appointment is a time for a thorough back-and-forth flow of information. We need to get to know you and your medical history, along with the specifics of the problem you’ve brought to us. You need to get to know us and to ask all the questions you may have.
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