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Dental Fear and Avoidance

daniel-frank-201417Are you afraid of going to the dentist? Have you ever skipped a dentist appointment because you were anxious about what might happen there? Have you tried to ignore tooth pain rather than seek treatment—only to have the problem worsen over time?

If any of this sounds like you, be assured that you’re not alone. In fact, many people suffer from fear of dental treatment. These fears can manifest in a variety of
ways—from a mild and reasonable anxiety experienced while undergoing a dental procedure for the first time, to full-blown panic attacks triggered by the very thought of going to the dentist. As a matter of fact, the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed (DSM-V) includes a phobia of visiting the dentist.

Granted, most individuals do not meet DSM-V criteria for a dental phobia, but even mild anxiety can be distressing. Just as problematic is that these fears may cause peter-kasprzyk-110926 (1)sufferers to delay treatments, skip appointments, or refuse to go to the dentist
altogether. The consequences go beyond poor oral hygiene; these individuals may suffer from depression and low self-esteem because of their inability to care for their own teeth properly, and they might experience harm to their personal and social lives—and even be unable to smile—due to embarrassment about the appearance of their teeth. The effects can truly be far-reaching.

Don’t allow fear and anxiety to control you. For those of you who are able to go to your appointments, have a discussion with your dentist about your fears. Try to pinpoint what exactly it is that you are fearful of. For some it might be of experiencing pain, perhaps due to a previous painful experience during a dental treatment. For others it could be the sense of losing control; in these cases, it might be helpful to talk through the procedure with your dentist first so that you know what to expect.

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Individuals with more severe anxiety—particularly those with dental phobia who completely avoid going to the dentist, may find it helpful to consult with a mental health professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy with or without pharmacological therapy can reduce anxiety and help patients regain normal function.

There are also some additional options that you might find beneficial. You can try bringing headphones and listening to calm, relaxing music before and during your appointment. Meditation techniques that focus on the breath may help you to center yourself and maintain control. Finally, ask your dentist if nitrous oxide gas or IV sedation are available.

When Teeth are Sensitive to Hot and Cold

food-ice-creamHave you ever taken a sip of your hot morning coffee or tea then grimaced as your teeth began to hurt? Or maybe at some point you stopped putting ice in your water glass or stopped eating ice cream to avoid aching teeth from the cold?

This kind of sensitivity to cold or hot foods and beverages can be frustrating and may even impact your quality of life. There are several dental conditions that can cause your teeth to become sensitive. Continue reading “When Teeth are Sensitive to Hot and Cold”

When Should My Baby Go To The Dentist For The First Time?

Babies grow up fast and so do their teeth, take them to the dentist at the sign of their first tooth.

Your baby’s gummy smile is beginning to erupt with tiny, pearl-white teeth. It’s a sure sign that you baby is growing up – and a good time to set up your kid’s very first dental appointment. If you’re like many parents, you might procrastinate that first visit. Continue reading “When Should My Baby Go To The Dentist For The First Time?”

Why Do My Teeth Hurt? The Most Common Reasons For Tooth Pain

The Most Common Reasons For Tooth Pain

Mysterious tooth pain is sure to put a damper on your day. Going to the dentist wasn’t on your agenda – it never seems to come at a good time. You might think you can just ignore it until it goes away, but you can’t stop thinking about it.

The good news is, there’s a few common causes of tooth pain that can help you narrow down what might be bothering you. You’ll still need to see a professional, but once you do, you’ll be on your way to feeling much better. Continue reading “Why Do My Teeth Hurt? The Most Common Reasons For Tooth Pain”

The Benefits of Good Flossing Technique

Good Flossing Technique is Key in Oral Health

Every person who has ever visited the dentist has been asked, “have you been flossing” by either their dental hygienist or dentist, and according to the American Dental Association, 20% of adults never floss. Is flossing really that important? Continue reading “The Benefits of Good Flossing Technique”

Can you Weaken your Teeth Through Whitening?

Are you really hurting your teeth by trying to get that perfect white smile?

When it comes to a healthy looking smile, the general consensus is that whiter is better. As such, whitening strips are available to help gain the look one desires.  While there is little debate over the effectiveness of the strips, there has been some concern as to the overall effects the whitening strips may have upon your teeth. To debunk some of the misconceptions about whitening we have addressed some of the issues below. Continue reading “Can you Weaken your Teeth Through Whitening?”

How your Gums can Affect your Heart

How your Gums can Affect your Heart
A true story that could have been prevented

A few years back, I spoke with a man who was going in for open heart surgery. What made this strange was that the man I was talking to ate properly, exercised regularly, and would at the surface not appear to have any reason to have heart problems. Yet, for about 6 months the man had seen an increase in chest pains. It started as what he perceived to be heartburn and built in intensity until he had to go see a cardiologist. He stated that there was bacteria buildup around one of the main cavities and that they would have to go in and remove the buildup of the bacteria. Continue reading “How your Gums can Affect your Heart”

Halloween Tips From Your Dentist

tooth-witch-halloweenHalloween is almost here and as dentists we understand that it means candies and costumes. While we would prefer if you ate an apple rather than a candy bar, we’re realistic and understand that you can’t say no to candy forever, especially at Halloween.

Here are our tips for having a great Halloween WITH candy, but still keeping your teeth, gums and mouth healthy.

Continue reading “Halloween Tips From Your Dentist”

Toddler Dental Issues

How do I take care of my toddler’s teeth?

Dental problems in infancy and toddlerhood can impact a child’s oral care journey for the rest of his or her life. The best way to start your child down the right path is to establish healthy oral care habits even before their first teeth come in. This will help prevent dental issues for your infant and will benefit him or her in the long term. Let’s look at two of the major dental issues that can affect toddlers teeth and oral health – and how to avoid them.
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Continue reading “Toddler Dental Issues”