Relax – You're Going to the Dentist!
If that headline strikes you as a contradiction, you're certainly not alone. As friendly as we dentists like to think we are, studies prove that coming to visit us doesn't top many people's list of "favorite things to do". The good news is that local anesthetics and current technology can take care of the physical discomforts of dental treatments, while you can ease some of the mental anxiety you may have by trying these tips:
• Set aside a stress-free time for your appointment - don't try to squeeze it in-between other meetings you're rushing to get to.
• Avoid taking any stimulants - coffee or cola for instance - before your appointment. The last thing you need is for the caffeine to kick in just as you're sliding into the dental chair!
• Bring a Walkman or iPod and your favorite calming music to help distract you from the noise of the dental office.
• Try deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation or other relaxation methods taught in yoga.
For a completely relaxing dental experience, we also offer our patients the use of nitrous oxide (N20) mixed with oxygen, a pleasurable sedation tool often referred to as "laughing gas". You simply breathe the gas in while seated comfortably in our chair, to completely relax you before and during your dental procedure.
There are many advantages to using laughing gas, the top one of course being the degree of comfort you will experience during your dental visit. The depth of sedation is easy to control, so we can monitor and adjust it continuously throughout your visit. When your procedure is finished, we simply turn it off, and within minutes you're back to your old self!
Don't be afraid to discuss your fears or anxieties with us. Our dental team is here to help you have a positive dental experience, and we welcome talking to you about your individual situation in order to make your visit as comfortable as possible.
Protecting Your Child’s Teeth
Preventive dentistry is especially important for children. Instilling excellent oral hygiene practices and a good diet at an early age will better prepare your child for a lifetime of dental health.
Considering that children's permanent teeth are still forming, dentists take extra measures to ensure your child enjoys a healthy smile:
Fluoride Treatments -- Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. Fluoride treatments are provided in-office, and dentists recommend using fluoride toothpaste when brushing. The addition of fluoride to our public water supply has helped reduce dental caries by up to 40% over the last 60 years.
Dental Sealants - Dental sealants are a clear or white plastic coating placed over the back teeth to prevent dental plaque from forming on the surface.
Orthodontic Braces -- A malocclusion can make it difficult to eat or speak, and crooked teeth are hard to keep clean. Correcting a child's bite with dental braces limits the possibility of dental problems as an adult.
Mouthguards -- Ask your dentist about a dental mouthguard for your child to wear during sports activities. A custom-made mouthguard provides better fit and protection against a broken tooth than over the counter models. Mouthguards are also used as a treatment for bruxism, which is teeth grinding.
At-Home Care -- Children probably won't understand the long-term effects of bad oral habits. Parents should assist their children with brushing and flossing until they are able to do it on their own, and avoid putting their baby to bed with a bottle to prevent baby bottle tooth decay.
When practiced consistently, preventive dentistry can prevent pain, save money and prepare children to keep their teeth for a lifetime. And considering that oral health is linked to overall health, preventive dentistry can keep dental diseases from affecting your child’s well-being long after they’re grown. So if you don't already have an established preventive dentistry program, get started today -- it's never too late to improve your child’s dental health.
Oral Cancer Screening
As your dental office, it is our responsibility to be more than just your tooth doctor — we also want to contribute to your total body health.
That’s why we do a full oral cancer screening at every checkup. This quick and easy exam can catch oral cancer before it starts! Early detection, as with any cancer, is crucial in a positive outcome.
Some warning signs to look for:
- Bumps/sores in the mouth that bleed easily and don’t disappear on their own within 14 days
- Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
- Numbness in mouth/facial area
So don’t neglect your six-month checkup. Not only will we clean your teeth we’ll also make sure you’re cavity-free. We are committed to your overall health, because your health is our top priority.
More Root Canals for Smokers?
Looking for another reason to quit? Recent studies at Boston University’s Goldman School of Dental Medicine reveal that your gender, how much you smoke and how long you’ve been smoking can significantly multiply your need for root canal treatment. To sum up the findings, men and women are distinctly different when it comes to dental health.
Men, it turns out, have the odds stacked against them when it comes to cavities, gum disease and oral cancer. Smoking puts men at twice the risk for developing these dental problems than women. Men who smoke also need more root canals.
"Our study has shown that men have almost twice the risk of having root canal treatments if they smoke cigarettes, compared to men who never smoke," said Elizabeth Krall Kaye, author of the Boston University study and professor in the department of health policy and health services.
So does that mean women are in the clear? Not really, says Kaye. Historically, women haven't smoked as long or as much per day as men but Kaye believes that the risk associated with smoking and root canals still applies.
Although it might seem obvious, why smoking makes men and women more susceptible to dental problems is still somewhat of a mystery. Kaye and her associates think the answers lie in what smoking does to your overall health: It affects your ability to ward off infection, increases inflammation and damages your circulation system.
The good news is you can greatly reduce your need for root canals by quitting cigarette smoking and staying smoke-free. In fact, if you stay smoke-free for at least nine years, your chances of needing a root canal treatment can drop as low as a non-smoker's.