5 Things to Pay Attention to When Choosing Your Family Dentist

There are many reasons for why you might be looking for a new family dentist. From your past one retiring, to moving to a new city, the hunt for a good dentist can be tough, especially when there are so many that aren’t accepting new patients. So once you limit your search to those that are available to take you on, it’s time to go through and evaluate your options according to the following five indicators: credentials, lifestyle compatibility, cost, communication, and quality of materials and technology.

  1. Credentials

Just like doctors of medicine, dentists go through a lot of schooling, from an undergraduate degree, to their professional dental degree. Then they have to pass an exam with the local board of dentists that allows them to practice in a certain location. Many dentists decide to do additional training and certifications that allow them to perform additional procedures and operate new machinery. Compare the credentials that the local dentists possess and prioritze how important those additional certifications are you to compared to the other considerations. Also, don’t be afraid to go all secret service and start searching for malpractice claims. It’s important for you to be confident in your dentist’s abilities.

  1. Lifestyle Compatibility

You know what your life is like, whether that means that you work shifts, have a few nervous kids, or work long hours every day of the week. Find a dentist that can accommodate your needs and hours, whether that means late evening appointments, a great approach to kids, or will be sensitive to your phobia of dental equipment. Having the dental practice close to your home or your work makes it more likely that you can make appointments on time or be able to pop out for emergency procedures without creating elaborate plans.

  1. Cost/Insurance

Some people have their dental bills subsidized by their insurance companies, while others have to pay out of pocket for everything. Ask about prices for services and don’t feel uncomfortable if extra things they are offering cost extra. Tell the receptionist or the dentist about your insurance situation and be clear about what you expect to spend on every visit. If you feel uncomfortable bringing it up or you see that the other side is responding strangely, it might not be the place for you.

  1. Communication

Yes, it’s important that your dentist takes good care of your teeth, but he or she should also be a skilled communicator. Though it’s natural that you might not understand the intimate details about the things that are going on in your mouth while the dentist is working on it, you should never feel like you have no idea of what just happened or it only becomes apparent once you get your bill. Show the dentist that you expect to be in the know, and understand what you can do to continue the care at home. You want a dentist you can talk to, learn from and feel good about visiting.

  1. Dental Materials and Technology

Just like in every industry, there are newer and older techniques and technology for dentistry. Look for dentists that are progressive in their approach to their trade and to their clients. It shows that they care and want to offer the best service for their patients. For some people, even having screens above the chairs is important to keep their mind off what is going on inside their mouths, for others knowing that all the imaging is done in house is enough. Now that’s a winner!

Choosing a dentist is not as easy at just choosing a random name from a business directory. If personal referrals do not give you a prize-winning candidate, these 5 considerations will get you as close as possible to the perfect dentist for you.

I Have Ovarian Cysts. Now What?

Having an ovarian cyst is a quite normal occurrence, and most women will at least have one in her lifetime. Yet knowing that is common doesn’t explain why it happens and what one is supposed to do about it. For a phenomenon that seems to affect almost 50% of the population at one point or another, we seem to have a poor understanding of ovarian cysts. Now it’s time to dispel the darkness and give women’s health the spotlight by answering a few questions that we have about cysts:

  1. What causes cysts?

There are different types of ovarian cysts though the most common type, called functional, is related to normal menstruation cycle functions. When your ovaries produce eggs, they do so in these little follicles. These burst as they release a mature egg during ovulation. In cases when something doesn’t go quite right, these don’t burst and continue to fill with fluid turning into a cyst. They usually go away themselves within a few months without any issues.  However, there are other types of cysts that mostly differ in the tissue that they develop from.

  1. Do they hurt?

Though most women won’t even realize that they have had ovarian cysts as they come and go painlessly. However, depending on the type, size, and location of the cyst it might cause discomfort or pain during intercourse, bowel movements and pressure on your bladder as you experience symptoms similar to ones in early pregnancy. If a cyst is near or has just burst you may experience sudden, sharp pain in your pelvic or abdominal area which might bring on a fever or vomiting. In this situation, get immediate medical attention.

  1. Does this mean I have a greater risk for cancer?

There has been no research done that supports the claim that women who develop ovarian cysts are more likely to develop ovarian cancer. However, if you have a family history of cancer of this kind you might want to have your doctor monitor you more closely. Otherwise, tone down the anxiety and schedule an appointment to get all the answers you want, because it’s always better to be cautious.

  1. Is there anything I can do to minimize my cysts?

There is really nothing that a woman can do to minimize her existing cysts. However, there are some things that she can do to prevent new ones from forming. Some doctors prescribe birth control or other hormone-based medications to decrease the chance of forming new cysts. If you know that you are prone to developing cysts, it’s a good idea to regularly have pelvic exams to monitor the state of existing cysts and watch if new ones form.

  1. What happens if my cyst bursts?

In the extremely painful situation in which an ovarian cysts ruptures, it can cause internal bleeding. That’s why it’s extremely important to get immediate medical assistance if you suspect that your cyst has ruptured.

  1. How do cysts affect my menstrual cycle?

Depending on the physiology of the cyst you have, it may be causing irregular cycles. This has to do with the release (or retention) of the egg in the follicle and hormonal changes associated with it.

Though cysts are seemingly a normal part of being a woman, these are important questions you should ask your gynecologist. Depending on the answers you receive, you might have other questions, especially in certain situations like if you are fertility planning. Every woman is different and if you are experiencing any symptoms or irregularities associated with cysts, make an appointment with your primary medical care provider or your gynecologist.

Teeth Whitening: How the 3 Types Vary

Having bright white teeth is a great confidence booster. No one flaunts stained and yellow teeth. If you have dingy and unappealing teeth, there are now ways to fix it. Before you start considering ways to improve the overall appearance of your teeth, it is important to understand what causes discoloration.

Apart from natural tone of teeth, what you consume plays an active role in the discoloration. If you smoke and drink regularly, and consume a lot of sugary items, you are more likely to have stained teeth. In addition, as age increases the enamel breaks down and is unable to prevent discoloration.

Regular cleaning is recommended but that is not enough to help maintain desirable teeth color. Teeth whitening is one of the most common dental procedures today. Tooth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. There are many different options but they can be majorly classified into 3 main groups:

  • Natural Whitening
  • Laser Whitening
  • Home Whitening


Natural Whitening

Many people try to avoid the use of chemicals in general. Relying on natural remedies to whiten your teeth seems ideal if you are one of them. These techniques generally use solutions with organic or herbal compositions.

Some people complain that this alternative is not as effective as other methods available. While results vary for different people, and results may take the time to be visible, this method also poses less threat of damage to gums and teeth. It is advised to avoid natural solutions like lemon juice, which are made with bases with acidic properties.


Laser Whitening

Laser whitening is conducted by a professional in a dental office and has the highest success rate. The process is simple and you can see results immediately.

The doctor will cover your teeth in a peroxide gel and request you to sit with your mouth. He will then expose your teeth to argon. The light triggers a chemical reaction in the peroxide gel and results in teeth whitening. Laser whitening, also commonly called in-office teeth whitening, takes only about 1 hour but may cost between $500 to $1000.

Home Whitening

Because the aforementioned techniques are either less effective or too expensive, many people decide to opt for home whitening systems. This basically involves using over the counter products such as trays, strips, or brush on gels to whiten teeth. Companies have upgraded the formula of these products over the years and application is easier now. For example, strips which used to slide off easily now fit better. In fact, you can even drink while you have them on. You can customize trays according to your bite pattern. The brush on gels tastes better in general.

Possible Drawbacks of Each Type

There are drawbacks to all of the types of teeth whitening. Despite popular belief, natural teeth whitening can cause harm to teeth if acid based products are used. It requires frequent application and takes longer to show effect. Laser whitening is very expensive and may require touch-ups every 6 months. Even though home teeth whitening kits save a lot of time and money, but the same level of result cannot be expected.

Your decision to choose one of the aforementioned methods should depend on what level of whitening you need. Aggressive solutions are recommended if teeth are heavily stained. Non-professional whitening is recommended if the discoloration is not so serious. This may require frequent whitening but it is easier on the pocket. Before taking a decision, it is best to talk to your dentist and consider all the options. Only a professional will be able to suggest what method is best for your teeth.