January 2015 Entries


Getting Over the Fear of Going to the Dentist


As if it were programmed into our genes, it seems as though many of us have this fear of going to the dentist.  Maybe it is because of media influence; television movies, or maybe you had a bad experience as a child.  Nonetheless, many people suffer from the fear of going to the dentist and thus delay a visit, or outright refuse to go to the dentist unless absolutely necessary.


By not going to the dentist, or going sparingly, you put both your dental health as well as your overall health at serious risk.  Thus, it is essential that we overcome our fears and phobias and, as they say, “grow a pair” because we can’t grow a new set of teeth once they’re gone!


So, in order to get over our fears of going to the dentist there are a few tips to remember, of which we will explore below


Tip #1 – Do your homework before picking the right dentist

 It is essential to find a dentist whom you feel comfortable with.  Utilize the internet to find dentists with reviews on Angie’s list, Yelp, and ZocDoc.  You may find a recurring theme among reviewers on how good, or bad a particular dentist is.  Beyond the internet you can ask to speak with previous patients on how good or bad the dentist was.  Bedside manner plays a key factor in finding a dentist you feel comfortable with so be sure to ask your peers which dentist had the best.


Tip#2 – Try Meditation and Deep Bretahing Exercises

Sometimes feeling comfortable with a dentist isn’t enough and you will need to take it a step further.  Try meditation.   Meditation is used by famous athletes, musicians, and many others before gearing up for a big event so why not you?  Meditation will calm your mind and psyche yourself up for your visit to the dentist.  Practice deep breathing and self-talk to instill confidence in yourself.


Tip#3 – Block It Out!

The dentist drill is a shrill sound that is the single biggest fear factor for many people when you are at the dentist.   So, block it out!  Bring your favorite tunes on an iPod and put your headphones in to make sure you don’t have to listen to that drill.  Lowering your anxiety when you’re at the dentist will make for a much better visit psychologically.


Tip#4 – Know Before You Go

Once you have made the decision to visit the dentist ask for an over the phone consultation with the dentist or the dental assistant on exactly what will happen during your visit.  Sometimes the fear of the unknown is greater than the fear of knowing what will happen.  Eliminate that and you will have one less thing to fear.  You can prep yourself beforehand, utilize your meditation techniques and be strong for your actual visit.


As with everything else in life, getting over your fear of the dentist will take time.  But practice and patience will go a long way in helping you overcome and prevail.  Utilize the tips above and your venture will be a lot easier to deal with.

Choosing the Right Dentist For Your Child


So you have a dentist you’ve been going to for most of your adult life.  The dentist seems nice enough and you’ve had your occasional cavities filled with minimal issue.    Now, later in your life, you’re fortunate enough to have a child who also needs dental care.  Now think back to when you were a kid.  Did you like the dentist your parents took you to?  Chances are you can’t even remember the dentist’s name you went to as a 5 year old!  What was different about your experience than and now?  Will the dentist you currently go to be the right choice for your child? 


Children have different dental needs than adults.  Thus you should consider exploring dentists with expertise working with children.  In some cases you may even have to resort to a pediatric dentist.  Here are some things to consider when thinking about choosing a dentist for your child:


Prevention is Key

The major difference in finding the right dentist for your child is the emphasis a dentist places on prevention.  While adults have a firm sense of how to care for their teeth, children are still formulating their ideas on how to approach dental hygiene.  Thus their dentist will play a key role in guiding their hand in proper care.  The dentist must know how to communicate well with children on the proper prevention of cavities and tooth decay, guidance on how to brush and floss, and what foods should and should not be eaten or eaten in moderation. 


Focus on Development

Children have growth and development concerns that a good dentist will know how to care for.  Your child will one day outgrow their baby teeth and transition to adult teeth.  Complications may arise during this growth phase and the dentist you choose should be well versed in the care and comfort of your child.  A special emphasis should be placed on the dentist with care in the sedation of children to eliminate any risks from office visits or surgery.


Calming the Child’s Nerves

Your child may have an innate fear of going to the dentist, or any doctor for that matter.  It could be the result of a fear of strangers, or of unkown things to come form their visit. That’s why choosing a dentist with an emphasis on child treatment is essential.  A good bedside manner might be just the thing to help ease your child’s fears.  Also, a dentist’s office with a children’s area, or separate tables and chairs and coloring books and toys for children may be enough to quell their fears long enough and distract them from what’s to come.



Pediatric Dentist vs General Dentist


A pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in the care of children.  They have at least two years of training after dental school requirements.  They focus on the development of children’s teeth more exclusively.  Alternatively, a general dentist can still treat children and adults of any age and will most likely be the dentist of choice from childhood to adulthood. 


When making your choice for your child’s dentist take into account all of the above tips.  If you feel comfortable with the dentist you currently use and you feel that they will have a good rapport with your child then it may not matter whether they are a pediatric dentist or not.  Once you have followed these tips always remember to follow your instincts. 

Dentists Save Lives


Think about the people who come to mind when you think about saving lives: firemen, policemen, emergency room physicians.  But did you know that dentists can also save your life?  Your dentist knows a lot more about your overall health than you may think.  By interpreting signs and symptoms appearing in your mouth your dentist can pinpoint serious medical conditions such as heart and kidney disease, diabetes, and even cancer. 


 In order to spot these potentially deadly diseases your dentist will do well to investigate your mouth for the following signs:


Bleeding and/or Inflamed Gums

If a dentist notices that your gums are bright red and/or inflamed it can be related to two very serious illnesses, Heart Disease and Diabetes.  While singular cases of inflammation or bleeding aren’t enough to warrant this type of diagnosis, chronic cases are a sure sign.  By visiting the dentist regularly your dentist can check for these signs as well as instruct you on prevention.


Ammonia Breath and Metal Mouth

If your breath starts to smell like ammonia or you begin to have a metallic taste in your mouth you may have kidney disease, an often life threating disease. Speak to your dentist to rule out other possibilities.  Your dentist may recommend you seek further medical attention. 


Chronic Mouth Sores

Sores in the mouth can be annoying and may be caused by a variety of reasons.  However, if your mouth sores are frequent and take a long time to heal this may be the cause of a certain type of cancer: leukemia.  Leukemia is a life threatening type of cancer which is treatable but must be treated immediately.  


White Patches on the Gums

If your dentist notices clusters of white spots on your gums this may be a sign of oral cancer.  As with all types of cancer the quicker it can be treated the better the odds of survival.  Make sure to ask your dentist what to look for when conducting at home self examinations.


Trouble Breathing When Lying Down

If your dentist notices that you have trouble breathing while laying back in his chair he may say that this may be a sign of sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea in most cases is not fatal.  However, in rare cases, it may become so severe, that the decreased flow of oxygen can cause a stroke.  This is only increased with the coupling of high blood pressure and heart disease.


So the next time you see your dentist, thank them for being a potential life saver!

Is It Essential To See My Regular Dentist Before My Cosmetic Dentist?


If you have a cosmetic dentistry procedure coming up it may be essential that you go and visit your general dentist first to ensure that your cosmetic dentist is able to perform the cosmetic dental procedure.  By visiting your general dentist, he may be able to eliminate certain risk factors that would likely alleviate your cosmetic dentist’s concerns.


While at your general dentist, you may even be surprised to find that he or she may even be able to perform the cosmetic dental procedure themselves and usually at a reduced price-tag.   You will have to make that determination for yourself.  Make sure to read up on the general dentist you see, speak to current and former patients and schedule a consultation with your general dentist to find out some key points:

1) If they have ever performed the cosmetic procedure prior

2) How many times they have performed the cosmetic procedure.


Still, if you feel more confident going with a dental professional who specializes in cosmetic dentistry a visit to your general dentist may be essential, especially if it has been a long time since your last visit. 


Call for an appointment with your general dentist to make sure that you do not have any cavities, excessive plaque, cracked teeth, gum disease, inflamed gums, or any other symptoms that may hinder your cosmetic dental procedure.  If you have one or any of these symptoms and you show up for your visit with your cosmetic dentist, your cosmetic dentist may not be able to perform the procedure.  Or, he will have to remedy those issues first and charge you likely more so than what your general dentist will.  They may even have you go see your general dentist anyway before performing the procedure, wasting time and money!


While you are at your general dentist, you may want to consult with him on minor cosmetic dental procedures such teeth replacement, whitening of teeth or fixing broken teeth.  Chances are that they will be able to help you with that issue.  The biggest cosmetic procedure that most general dentists will not attempt is teeth straightening.  However, your general dentist will be able to consult with you the necessary steps leading up to that type of procedure and recommend you a good cosmetic dentist who can perform that type of procedure. 


Many adults do not stick to the recommended twice a year visit to their dentist.  But if you are one of them and you are in good health then you will probably not need to see your general dentist prior to cosmetic dentist.  However, you may want to just either call or visit  them for the reasons outlined above.


Finally, if you feel comfortable enough with your cosmetic dentist and they tell you that it is not necessary to see your general dentist than use your discretion.  They may not want to lose you as a client but they may also be saving you an unnecessary trip!