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Fear of Dental Visits: Best Methods to Alleviate Anxiety

Most people are a little apprehensive about a visit to the dentist, while others are just downright frightened.

People who don’t see a dentist regularly admit that fear is the overriding issue. The fear can be so severe that some individuals will put up with gum infections, pain, or even broken and unsightly teeth, rather than make a dental appointment.


5 Ways to Help Alleviate Fear

Identify your causes of anxiety and phobia. Pain is the major concern. Other concerns include loss of control, feeling of helplessness, embarrassment over condition of teeth and gums, and negative past experiences.

Communicate fears prior to appointment. Before you set an appointment, be vocal about your apprehensions, fears and anxiety. This gives the dentist a way to gauge the situation and create an action plan suited for your needs. In most cases, dentists will devise cues and signals.

Use distractions. This helps divert attention during treatment. Try listening to music, fiddling with a stress ball or counting to yourself. Prior to appointment, watch a funny video or a feel-good clip to help you relax.

Are sedatives helpful? Sedation can help reduce anxiety and keep a patient calm and relaxed during treatment. Sedatives include nitrous oxide, and oral or IV sedation. Discuss with your dentist which one might work best for you.

Practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation exercises can help someone stay calm during treatment. The tactics include breathing, which involves taking a deep breath and letting it out very slowly. This will help relax the muscles and slow down heart rate.

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My Perio Protect Journey, Part 3
I was at my Western Dental office again, this time to pick up my Perio Protect trays and get started on the road to perio health. My original anxiety was gone, replaced with anticipation about a new oral hygiene routine. I arrived a few minutes late, but the front desk greeted me with a smile and asked me to check in at the kiosk. A few minutes later, Ben the hygienist welcomed me back. Ben asked if I was glad to be picking up my trays. I suppose I was, but I could tell he was more excited, even though I was one of many Perio Protect patients that day. I guess if dental hygiene is your career, you’re going to be enthusiastic about any product that will improve the gum health of your patients. And any time a patient gets serious about oral hygiene, you’re going to give them your full support. While I sat in the chair, Ben opened the box containing my trays, a large tube of Perio Gel, a small brush – and a compact case to hold it all. There they were, the upper and lower trays, custom fit to my teeth. He handed them to me and asked me to place them on my teeth to check the fit. They were snug and comfortable (that was good), but they seemed to be a little rough in one area. Ben took them back to his station to gently smooth them out. After a couple of adjustments, they fit like a glove. I received instructions on proper daily use: After brushing and flossing, squeeze a small amount of Perio Gel along the inside of the tray, then use the small Perio Brush to spread the gel evenly. Use only a small amount (a little goes a long way). Firmly place the trays on your teeth, and if the gel seems to overflow from the trays, you’ve used too much. I’d get the hang of it after a couple of uses. Ben told me to keep the trays in for about 10-15 minutes, twice a day to start, then I could go to once a day. I was to come back to the office after about a month, to check my progress. . . . I’ve used Perio Protect for a couple of weeks now, and already notice a difference. In fact, each 15-minute Perio Protect treatment is like a trip to the hygienist! My teeth and gums feel squeaky clean, and the cool mint-flavored gel gives a pleasant tingling sensation. It’s a feeling that tells me I’m on my way to perfect gum health!
How to deal with dental problems while on vacation
Summer will soon come to a close, but there’s still time to slip away for some much-needed vacation time. Whether you’re loading up the kids for a road trip over a long weekend, taking a flight to an exotic destination, or simply enjoying a sunny day at the beach, an unexpected problem in your mouth can become a major dilemma. What happens if you break or chip a tooth, lose a filling, or begin to suffer from the pain of a never-ending toothache, and you have no immediate access to your regular dentist? There are a few things – temporary solutions – that you can do immediately to address the problem and help ease the pain, at least until you return home: • Toothache: Rinse mouth with warm water and use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If swelling appears, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin against the gums or on the sore tooth, because it may burn the gum tissue.• Chipped or broken tooth: Rinse mouth and any broken pieces with warm water. If bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek to reduce swelling and ease pain.• Lost filling: Stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement.• Lost crown: If in pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the tooth. Try to slip the crown back over the tooth. Before putting the crown back in place, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste or denture adhesive to help hold it in place. Never use super glue! • Broken braces wire: If a wire breaks or sticks out and is poking you, use the eraser end of a pencil to move the wire. If that is not working, use orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball or a piece of gauze to cover the wire tip. Don’t cut the wire, because you risk swallowing it. • Knocked-out tooth: Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth) and rinse with warm water. Using no force, try to replace the tooth facing the right way. If that’s not possible, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or a cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt). A tooth that has been knocked out has the highest chance of being saved when it is returned to the socket within one hour. These tips can help get you through an emergency, they’re no substitute for a visit to a professional. If you have dental problems while you’re away, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as you get home. That way, your dental emergency will become a distant memory.
August Is Dental Sealants Month at Western Dental
It may be Dental Sealants Month at every Western Dental office, but sealants will help reduce cavities all year long. If you’re a parent, you know that getting your child to brush after every meal can be a challenge. Even so, while brushing is key, it’s not always possible to reach every nook and cranny, especially back molars, where food particles and cavity-causing bacteria can hide. That’s why dental sealants, a clear, thin protective coating, can be a key treatment in reducing and preventing cavities. In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child's dental health since, according to a report issued by the Center for Disease Control, "school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants." (October 2016) Early intervention for children is key (although adults can benefit from sealants, too). First molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Applying sealants to new molars can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run. Applying sealants is an easy and painless process. Your dentist preps the surface of your tooth by applying a gel so that a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant. Sealant is then applied onto the grooves of your tooth and hardened under a special blue light. Sealants dry to a clear, invisible coating. Your dentist will insure the sealants are effectively protecting your teeth each time you come in for your appointment. Sealants will often last for several years. Your dentist can advise you if sealants are an option for you, and how often you might need to reapply them.