Find a Dentist Tips

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How do you filter the good dentists out of the huge number of dentists around?

Visit the Dentist Before Making an Appointment

Finding dentists these days is really easy using the Internet. There are dozens of both national and local directories of dentists and dental health care specialists online. In addition, your dental health care provider may provide a list of dentists in your area that will treat patients covered by your policy.

With a sizable group of potential dental health care professionals to choose from, the difficult question to ask these days isn't how to find a dentist, but rather how to find a good dentist. Unfortunately, there is no reliable common peer review or customer review resource available, so your best bet is probably still word-of-mouth recommendations.

Therefore, when you move to a new area, ask your neighbors if they have a found a good dentist, or, failing that, visit some dentists conveniently located to where you live, meet them in person, and check out their offices. If you see scythes, pliers, tables with straps, and hear loud screams, you should probably move on until you find an environment that is more to your liking.

Even with a good recommendation, there is no substitute for checking out a dental practice personally before committing. If a dentist won't even talk to you, then you should forget him and find someone friendlier.

What is tartar?

The Truth About Tartar

Think dental plaque is nasty? Well, tarter is much worse, as it is actually hardened plaque formed from dead bacteria, saliva, food particles, and minerals. What's more, it looks disgusting, carrying a yellow-brown hue and forming around the gum line of your teeth.

Unlike plaque, which can be removed daily with a good brushing, once tartar forms it can only be removed with a full dental cleaning by a dental hygienist. Furthermore, once it forms initially, tartar tends to spread very quickly and can cause severe damage to your teeth and gums quickly.

Cleaning your teeth regularly can prevent tartar from forming in the first place, but if you do notice a crusty yellow or brown residue forming anywhere around your gumline that is not removed by a good brushing, you should find a dentist immediately to fix the situation before it gets worse.

What bad habits really affect teeth?

Your Lifestyle and Your Teeth

Participating in random street brawls with any frequency poses a clear risk to your teeth. Although you might brush, floss, rinse, and visit your dentist regularly, you still might be doing irreversible damage to your teeth through your living-on-the-edge lifestyle. In addition to the danger of having a tooth knocked out in the occasional street brawl, there are several less obvious ways you might be putting your dental health at risk.

Tobacco use
Hormonal changes (puberty, etc.)
Clenching and grinding teeth, including during sleep
Some medications that lessen the flow of saliva (consult your doctor regarding such side effects of any medication you might be taking)
Poor nutrition makes it difficult for your body to fight infections, such as gum disease
Illnesses, similarly, can make it difficult for your body to take on additional bacteria in your mouth

Some of these living conditions, such as illnesses or hormonal change, you might have very little control over. Others, such as poor nutrition and tobacco smoking, are clearly in your ability to fix, otherwise you should figure out how to find a good dentist.

For the ones that lie in between these two camps, there are various branches of medicine that can help you deal with issues such as stress and clenching and grinding your teeth, both habitually and during your sleep. If you find yourself ticking off a bunch of the items in that list, you should consult your health professional to see how to lessen the impact on your health and on your teeth.

What can I do to ease a toothache?

Tips for Toothaches

A toothache is not reason enough to run out and find a dentist immediately, as not all are caused by cavities. Even those that are may not be dealt with by a professional for some time, depending on both your and your dentist's schedules. Fortunately, there are a number of tricks to ease your toothache in the meantime.

Some toothaches are caused by small bits of food being lodged uncomfortably between your teeth or in your gum line. In these cases, rinsing vigorously with warm (as in body temperature) water or flossing can relieve the ache almost immediately.

In more persistent cases, rinsing with whisky or warm, salt water will often ease the pain. You might also try massaging your gums around the aching tooth with either your fingers or with an ice cube. Aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relief medication can also help ease many toothaches.

Do not, however, apply heat to the tooth's area, because, in the event that the ache is due to an infection, you could actually make the infection worse.

How do I find a good family dentist?

Different Dentists for Different Folks

You've just moved your 2.5 kids, suburban assault vehicle, and full set of lawn furniture to a new house in a new town. Of course your first concern, after your riding mower gets unloaded, is to find a dentist for your family.

If you are asking how to find a good dentist for your family, you might be asking the wrong question. These days, different dentists have different specialties and age groups that they might see most often. A small child would be better off seen by a pediatric dentist, and your soon-to-be-live-in mother-in-law would be better off with a geriatric dentist.

So instead of committing to one dentist for your entire family's variety of needs, consider finding a couple of dentists that are better suited for each member.

How do you find a dentist that will work with your dental health plan?

Finding Dentists that Accept Your Dental Coverage

One day you wake up to find yourself in a new town, with a new job, new dental insurance, and a toothache. How do you find a dentist?

Even if you know someone in the area who can recommend a good, friendly, gentle dentist, he or she may not service teeth that are covered by your dental health plan. Many plans, such as PPO insurance policies or HMOs, may provide a list of practitioners who accept your policy. These lists are rarely comprehensive, so when trying to find a dentist, the only way to know for sure if one will accept your dental health plan is to ask.

How do you find a dentist that is actually good?

Finding a Good Dentist

When faced with the prospect of a guy waving a drill spinning at more than 800,000 RPMs in your mouth, you really want to know that he's good at what he does.

The question of how to find a good dentist is one that most people grapple with at some point. With the Internet, it is easy to get a near inexhaustible list of dentists in your area, and your dental insurance policy might also offer a list of dentists that is less comprehensive. With so many to choose from, deciding which dentist has the steady, clean hand for your mouth is not easy.

Unfortunately, it is still hard to beat good old word-of-mouth recommendations regarding good dentists however, if you're new in an area, such recommendations might be hard to come by. Without such recommendations, you are probably better off picking a dentist that is not a managed care practitioner, such as a dentist that primarily sees patients covered by HMOs. Those dentists, in general, have been criticized for trying to handle way too many patients at a time simply to make ends meet.

Are your teeth sensitive to cold or hot temperatures?

Tooth Hypersensitivity

Are your teeth sensitive to cold or hot temperatures? You're not alone. Tooth hypersensitivity affects more than 45 million Americans, 10 million of those chronically.

Tooth sensitivity isn't itself a reason to find a dentist immediately, though it may be a warning sign that you are causing unnecessary hardship to your gums. The pain itself is most often caused by a receding of your gum line, which is often related to brushing too hard (2 out of 3 Americans brush too hard) or using a brush with hard bristles.

To avoid receding gum lines and the discomfort associated with them, don't brush as hard as you do now and switch to a toothbrush with softer bristles. Of course, there are other factors which can cause gum lines to recede, so consult your dentist with any further questions.

Are you afraid to go to the dentist?

Dental Phobia

Whether from watching the dentist scene Little Shop of Horrors one too many times, from hearing nightmarish stories from friends and family about trips to the dentist, or maybe even from personal experience, many people have developed a fear of visiting a dentist for even a routine cleaning.

Ironically, those with dental anxiety are among the most likely to develop serious oral conditions that require the most painful and expensive treatments, since dental health care is most effective when it is preventative. If you see a dentist regularly, he or she is likely to catch any problems with your teeth or gums in their early stages, before they become serious. For this reason, overcoming your dental anxiety is extremely important in terms of your overall dental health, especially if you haven't seen a dentist for a long period of time.

The most important step in overcoming your fear is to find a dentist with whom you're comfortable communicating, as communication is the key. You need to feel comfortable explaining your fears and he or she has to be able to answer all of your questions in a reassuring way, as well as to tell you exactly what is being done every moment that he or she is in and around your mouth.

Unfortunately, there is no quick guide on how to find a good dentist, especially one who will help reassure you during your visits, so you may have to visit several until you find one with whom you're comfortable.

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Jerry Mayo