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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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How to choose the right Halloween candy
It’s October and time for Halloween! It's great fun for children, trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, collecting candy, coming home to admire their haul, and sometimes stockpiling it for months. But dentists aren’t nearly as enamored with Halloween, because they know the possible ramifications of eating candy: not only damage to the teeth and gums but also possibly to a child's overall health. You already know that having healthy teeth and gums has an impact that goes far beyond the mouth. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities, periodontal disease and infection, which can impact a patient's heart, lungs, and entire body. Dr. John Luther, Chief Dental Officer at Western Dental & Orthodontics, has five tips on candy for patients of all ages: 1. Choose candy carefully. Avoid hard candy, such as lollipops, and other sweets that stay in the mouth for a long time. These candies increase the risk for tooth decay. 2. Avoid chewy candy. Chewy, sticky treats, such as caramels or gummies, are particularly damaging as they are high in sugar, spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth, and are more difficult for saliva to break down. 3. Chocolate is preferable. Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth and can be eaten easily, decreasing the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. 4. Eat Halloween candy only after mealtime. Parents should avoid letting their kids snack on candy throughout the day. Saliva production increases during meals, helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles. 5. Take preventive steps. Drinking water intermittently helps to keep the sugar from resting in the grooves of their teeth. And while you might be tired of hearing it, brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly before going to bed are crucial. By exercising good common sense, you’ll maintain a bright smile and healthy gums throughout the Halloween season and beyond. Happy Halloween!