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Overcoming Dental Anxiety

coltitle="Dental Fear Central" href="" target="_blank">Dental Anxiety - Abnormal fear or dread of visiting the dentist for preventive care or follow up treatment and extreme anxiety over dental procedures.

Let’s face it, not many people truly enjoy going to the dentist. There are plenty who do, but most do not. We know it is good for our dental and overall health, so we go for that reason. For some, an irrational fear takes over, leaving them paralyzed with fear, and without the dental care they need to enjoy their lives fully.  According to a 2009 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) almost 50% of adults skip dental visits due to coltitle="Redheads Feel More Dental Anxiety and Dental Pain?" href="" target="_blank">dental anxiety.

Psychology of Dental Anxiety

Many dental related fears are developed when you are young and impressionable. Sometimes the coltitle="Are You Affected By Dental Phobia?" href="" target="_blank">dental fear is transferred from parents to their children. When a parent is highly anxious, they oftentimes elaborate on pain, needles, drilling, and tooth removal, causing the child to believe that this will happen to them also. For some, a bad dental experience can traumatize them for the future. Feeling pain, gagging, losing control, not knowing what is going on, or having unexpected procedure you were not prepared for can be very difficult to get over. Prior to modern dentistry, dentists and their instruments were given a bad reputation in real life, movies and TV shows . The instruments and techniques used to mask discomfort were less than ideal. In modern dentistry, the coltitle="Contact Marielaina Perrone DDS" href="" target="_blank">dentist is more in tune to patients coltitle="Common Pediatric Dentistry Procedures" href="" target="_blank">dental anxiety and coltitle="Losing Teeth: Causes and Effects" href="" target="_blank">dental fears. These dental anxieties can be overcome with a concerted effort by the patient, loved ones, and dentist.

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Overcoming dental anxiety can take as little as one visit, or it can take months to years. It all depends on the level of anxiety or phobia a patient might have. The following are someltips to help overcome dental anxiety:

1) Find the “right” coltitle="About Marielaina Perrone DDS" href="" target="_blank">dentist. Not all dentists have the same educational training, techniques, or patience when it comes to patients with dental anxiety. Do your research, use the Internet or ask friends and loved ones for recommendations. A good dentist is one, who is able to communicate effectively with you, and put you at ease. Most patients feel better when they know whats going on and how its going to happen. Understanding what will happen in the appointment, and having a signal to stop whenever you need to, gives back control to the patient and takes the surprise out of the situation. You and your dentist will figure out what specific things elevate your dental anxiety, and find ways to work around them. Ask your dentist their policy on emergencies after hours. Many dentists do not return calls after hours while others personally answer calls after hours and even open the office if the situation is necessary.

2) Distraction. Oftentimes, redirecting your mind can set you at ease. Meditation can be taught to you by your dentist. Music can help if the noises of dentistry affect you, bring your ipod or mp3 player with your favorite music and listen during the treatment to distract your mind and relieve your dental anxiety. A soft “squeezy ball” can help, and give that comforting feeling of squeezing someones hand.

3) Take Breaks when Needed. This goes back to communication. Take the time out during procedures to compose yourself as needed. Have a predetermined hand signal to stop the procedure as often as needed. Some patients with dental anxiety feel claustrophobic after awhile and may need to walk around a bit, catch their breath, ask a question, etc. before finishing the dental procedure.

4) Be Open and Honest. Tell your dentist what bothers you most about the dental experience, or past problems that have increased your dental anxiety. For some, the loud pitched noises may be very difficult, for others it might be the smells of the dental office, and for others it might be a past painful experience. These issues can be addressed in order to make your experience more acceptable. In dentistry today, there are many techniques to deliver a more comfortable and comforting experience.

5) Consider Medication. For some of us with more extreme dental anxiety, a mild form of sedation may be necessary to get you through. Taking a medication such as Valium prior to your appointment can help you sleep the night before, and allow for you to actually get to your appointment. Generally, such medications relax your entire body, decreasing the sweats, heart racing, and panic attacks that might otherwise disable you. This is a wonderful way to acclimate yourself to your new dentist, and the dental experience. Over time, the dosage can be reduced as you gain confidence in your dentist and your own coping abilities.  Plenty of patients, with time, can learn the techniques necessary to have dental treatment without medication.

Dental Anxiety Conclusion

Dental anxiety can be truly crippling. What we have to remember is, that if we want good health, dental treatment is necessary.  Recent studies have shown definite links between our dental health and our general health. This means it makes our dental health doubly important for us to lead healthy, happy lives. Dental anxiety CAN be overcome and defeated with a concerted effort by dentist and patient. If you are suffering from dental anxiety, take that first step, and make an appointment to meet with a dentist well versed in treating dental anxiety and coltitle="7 Ways To Overcome Dental Fear" href="" target="_blank">dental phobia.


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Redheads Feel More Dental Pain and Dental Anxiety?

Did you know that a redheads genetic makeup may lead to a need for increased local anesthetic and have higher dental anxiety? A recent study by the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) shows that people with a specific gene tend to experience increased dental anxiety during routine dental treatment. This gene occurs more often in redheads than the general population. A second study showed that redheads need 20% more anesthesia, and it wears off faster than in blondes or dark haired people. Perhaps, the need for increased anesthesia has caused many of these redheads to fear dental treatment?

The coltitle="Are You Affected By Dental Phobia?" href="" target="_blank">Dental Anxiety and Dental Pain Study

The dental anxiety study included 144 people (67 with red hair and 77 with dark hair) who answered various questions about dental fears and dental anxieties. Following survey questions, blood samples were taken to test for the presence of specific gene variations. People with one specific gene, melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), were more than twice as likely to report dental fear and dental anxiety than those without the gene. 85 patients had the gene in the study and 65 of them were redheads. This same gene is also thought to be responsible for increased sensitivity to thermal pain and increased resistance to the effects of local anesthesia.

The research teams believes variations of the MC1R gene play a role. This MC1R gene produces melanin, which gives skin, hair and eyes their distinctive color.

While blond, brown and black-haired people produce melanin, those with red hair have a mutation of this receptor. It produces a different coloring called pheomelanin, which results in freckles, fairer skin and red hair. Approximately 5% of whites are believed to have these characteristics.

While the relationship between MC1R and pain sensitivity is not known completely, researchers have discovered MC1R receptors in the brain and some of them are known to influence pain sensitivity. As stated above, non redheads can also carry the gene.

Tips to Deal With Dental Anxiety and Dental Pain

-Communication. Keeping open lines of communication is always important to ensure proper numbing is being obtained to make the patient comfortable. Discussing all aspects of dental anxiety ahead of time will ensure the best possible outcomes for the patient.

-Medication. Many patients do very well taking a pre visit valium to relax themselves and remove excess dental anxiety. It will also allow the anesthesia to work more effectively during the visit because you are so relaxed.

-Distraction. Use of an ipod, to listen to music during your dental visits places your mind in a relaxed state. It helps to drown out unwanted noise.

What Does It All Mean?

Many redheads will present with increased dental anxiety as well as be more resistant to local anesthesia. So, both dentist and patient need to be aware of these situations. A dentist armed with this knowledge will approach these patients differently and ask specific questions about past anesthesia issues, as well as past coltitle="7 Ways to Overcome Dental Fear" href="" target="_blank">dental anxiety and experiences. You do not have to have red hair to experience dental anxiety or have difficulty getting numb. There are many ways to address both problems  and overcome them with proper techniques and good communication.

Contact Us

Marielaina Perrone DDS
2551 N. Green Valley Pkwy. #A405
Henderson, NV 89014

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Recent Reviews


Marielaina Perrone DDS Reviews

Recent Reviews From The Internet.
"I don't even have words for how amazing this office is. I found myself traveling across the country and was in excruciating pain. Somehow I found myself in her office at 8:45 on a Monday morning almost in tears. I've never even had so much as a toothache and here I was across the country and needing a root canal which I couldn't afford. She got me out of pain in my budget so I could get home SAFELY and see my dentist to finish the rootcanal. She took her time and explained everything. If I lived here, I'd never go to anyone else. I can't reccomemd her highly enough. Totally put up with me being an absolute baby, too. Absolute no judgment zone."

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Date published: 12/05/2016
5 / 5 stars


Marielaina Perrone DDS Reviews

Recent Reviews From The Internet
"I am not usually the type write reviews on the internet and I have had some bad experiences going to the dentist in the past. Like most people, I have never looked forward to going to the dentist. However, after meeting Dr Perrone this has all changed for me. I look forward to each visit because of not only the dramatic change in my smile, but the interactions with Dr Perrone and her office. We laughed and joked like we were family which eased my anxiety and gave me something to look forward to at my next visit. I came in not wanting to smile and now all I can do is smile. I truly enjoy my visits with Dr Perrone and the team and consider them not only my Dentist for life, but my friends. "

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Date published: 07/24/2015
5 / 5 stars


Marielaina Perrone DDS Reviews

Recent Reviews From The Internet
"Fantastic Dental Care. My family has been a patient of Dr P's for the last 7 years. Extremely happy with our choice of dentists. Dr Perrone really takes her time at each and every visit to go over everything with all of us even my little ones. Definitely recommend."

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Date published: 02/19/2015
5 / 5 stars


Marielaina Perrone DDS Reviews

Recent Reviews From The Internet
"All On 4 Dental Implants were a success!! My experience with Dr Perrone was incredible. Definitely the best dentist I have been to since living in Las Vegas. She is very precise and very careful to make sure you are getting the absolute best dental treatment possible. They made me feel so comfortable throughout the whole process and took very good care of me. I am just sorry I waited so long to fix my smile. I could not be happier with my new smile. I get compliments all the time."

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Date published: 08/11/2014
5 / 5 stars