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Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Dental anxiety affects a large portion of the population. While many have such anxiety, some are so fearful that they can not even get themselves through the dentist’s front door.Statistics show that  15-20% of all Americans avoid the dentist due to fears or anxiety about the dentist. The reasons for anxiety are different for everyone. These can include fear about feeling rushed by the dentist, possible pain, or even just the smells and sounds of the dental office. Dental anxiety and dental phobia, when stopping someone from receiving dental care,  lead to unnecessary oral and general health problems.

Tips To Calm Dental Anxiety

-Finding The Right Dentist And Dental Team. That’s right, it is not just about the dentist. The dental team is just as important in maintaining a calm, soothing atmosphere. A well trained dentist and team can make you feel at ease throughout your dental treatment and actually make it an enjoyable experience. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations. A good review about a dentist from someone you trust can significantly reduce anxiety. Also, in the internet age read online reviews. These can let you get a better understanding of the dentist and how they treat their patients. Last, make an appointment for a consultation so that you can meet the dentist and staff to see if they make you feel comfortable enough to schedule an exam and cleaning.

-Communication. One of the most important factors in overcoming dental anxiety is a good, open line of communication between dentist and patient. You must always feel comfortable expressing your feelings, fears, and concerns before, during, and after treatment is rendered. You must also feel that the dental team is listening to you and making adjustments as needed. Communication should never be compromised for any patient but it is even more important for a patient with dental anxiety. This will allow you to feel a sense of comfort that you may have never felt in a dental office before.

-Feeling Of Being In Control. This comes from the confidence to stop or start treatment whenever you need to. You should always feel comfortable controlling your treatment.  Making treatment decisions based upon options, how long your appointments should be, and how often you are comfortable coming in for treatment. Another aspect to being in control is to give yourself the power of knowledge about your dental care. This will give you the ability to understand the steps of treatment, and why it is important for you to follow through. Being in control will allow you to properly express your feelings about how much treatment you can handle.

-Own Your Emotions. For many who have neglected their dental care due to fear there can be a sense of embarrassment. Express your feelings and allow your dentist to understand your feelings so they can be addressed properly. Panic, tears, needing your hand held, etc. are coping mechanisms to fear. It is ok to get emotional at the dental office. You can and should be able to express your emotions without embarrassment.

-Utilize Relaxation Techniques.  These can include:

1. Proper Breathing. Focus on breathing regularly and slowly during dental work. When people are feeling anxiety or nervousness we tend to hold our breaths, or breathe in short rapid breaths. This decreases oxygen levels in the body, or hyperventilation, further increasing our feelings of panic.

2. Wear Headphones. For many, the sound of the dental office is a trigger for dental anxiety. Using an ipod or mp3 player with headphones can drown out the noises and relax you.

3. Avoid Caffeine. Caffeine can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, This can trigger panic attacks, make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or give you the feeling of a fast beating heart. Caffeine before a dental appointment should be avoided.

4. Choose Pre Dental Meals Carefully. Eating high-protein foods have the ability to produce a calming effect.

5. Timing Is Everything. The time of day for your dental appointment can be critical. Try to choose a time for your dental visit when you’ re least  likely to be rushed or feel under pressure.

-Repetition. The simple process of repeat appointments, will make you feel more comfortable and at ease. As you learn what to expect, and realize that you are in control of the appointment, you will be able to manage more time in the chair. Remember not to wait too long between appointments or to reschedule unless an emergency arises. Merely coming to the office and not having treatment that day is better than canceling.

-Predictable Pain Control. Every individual is slightly different. What may work for one may not work for another. Let your dentist know if you have a history of difficulty getting numb. Be sure to let your dentist know whether or not you still feel sensitivity, or lack of complete numbness. When you can trust that your comfort will be a priority, you will find that your anxiety rapidly diminishes.

Dental Anxiety Conclusion

Overcoming dental anxiety can be a trying experience. It is important to find the right dentist and dental team so that you can move forward and free yourself from dental anxiety once and for all. Know what you are looking for in a dentist, and be prepared with questions for your meeting. Remember, it is ok to shop around, you will know when you have found the right dentist for you!

What exactly is preventive dentistry and why is it important in maintenance of our overall health?

Preventive Dentistry – The aspects of dentistry concerned with the teeth, oral cavity, and associated structures, including early detection,  prevention of disease, diagnosis, treatment of oral tissues, and restoration of defective or missing tissue.

“The body is like a piano, and hap­pi­ness is like music. It is need­ful to have the instru­ment in good order”

- Henry Beecher Ward

Dentistry as a whole focuses on prevention and treatment of dental disease. Preventive dentistry includes both at home and in office dental care. At home dental care includes maintaining a healthy dental hygiene regimen in between dental visits, trying to eat healthier meals and snacks, cessation of harmful habits such as smoking, and managing health issues. In office dental care includes regular dental examinations along with professional cleanings, oral cancer screenings, updated health history, fluoride treatments, dental sealants, and other required dental restorations. Home care and in office care work hand in hand to keep our teeth healthy, strong, and free from dental disease.

Unfortunately, many of us tend to neglect our dental care in one way or another. This could mean not following up with care recommended by your dentist or just not brushing and flossing properly (or even regularly). Tooth decay left untreated or undetected, can lead to more serious dental treatment being needed or even to loss of teeth. Periodontal disease can and will progress if not treated in its earliest stages. Periodontal disease can also lead to serious health issues such as heart disease or stroke, and recent studies link poor oral hygiene to pancreatic cancer. Preventive dentistry is an integral part to protecting not just our teeth but also our general health. Preventive dentistry acts as health guard.

What is Included In Preventive Dentistry?

-Dental Hygiene. This might very well be one of the most important things you can do to maintain both your dental health as well as general health. Numerous studies have shown that the build up of plaque, tartar, and bacteria in periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, strokes, cancer, and even alzheimer’s disease. Flossing and brushing is an integral part of guarding against tooth decay and periodontal disease but it also acts as a protector for your heart and vascular systems. Without a proper dental hygiene regimen plaque and tartar will quickly form leading to tooth decay and periodontal disease.

-Dental X-Rays. Routine x-rays are an important part of preventive dentistry. X-rays can detect tooth decay, bone loss, some tumors (oral cancer), cysts, poor bone quality, and bone infections which in their earliest forms would not be detectable using a visual examination alone.

-Fluoride Treatment. Fluoride is a mineral that plays an important part in preventative dentistry by strengthening teeth and preventing tooth decay. For those with a history of tooth decay your dentist may recommend the use of a fluoride mouth rinse, or prescription fluoride products between dental visits.

-Nutritional Counseling. Most people do not realize how important a balanced diet is to their dental health. Foods and drinks containing sugar quickly begin to attack the teeth after entering the mouth. Most dentists recommend avoiding soft drinks or sugary foods as often as possible. If you choose to eat or drink these sweets, brush and rinse your teeth as soon as possible following ingestion of these items. Keep snacking to a minimum, try to eat well balanced meals, and you will find that your healthier choices will affect your dental health in a positive way.

-Cessation of Habits. Many harmful habits can be eliminated with help from your dentist. Nail biting, tooth grinding and clenching can be kept under control with dental appliances. Smoking can be stopped with prescription drugs such as chantix, nicotine patches, and counseling, Drug use may be addressed and a rehab program suggested.

-Dental Sealants. A dental sealant is a thin plastic-like coating that is applied over back teeth. Sealants are placed in areas of grooves and ridges where plaque can hide and the toothbrush can’t reach as easily. Covering up the grooves helps to prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants are most often applied as preventive dentistry for children but can also be used for adults.

-Oral Cancer Screening. Early diagnosis of oral cancers give patients the best chance for survival in the long term. Find a dentist who uses the Velscope early detection oral cancer screening system to ensure you are being checked regularly. The best defense against oral cancer is an early diagnosis. The mortality rate of oral cancer increases dramatically if not detected in its earliest stages.

Preventive Dentistry Conclusion

Considering that oral health is linked to overall health, preventive dentistry is important to your overall well being.  Oral diseases can interfere with eating, speaking, daily activities and even self esteem. Preventive dentistry can lead to less extensive (and less expensive!) treatment for any dental conditions that may develop, and help you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime.

For people who suffer with dental phobia or anxiety, a visit to the dentist is an anxiety inducing event. Even the thought of dental appointments can be frightening for individuals with dental phobia. Almost 35 million Americans suffer from dental phobia and dental anxiety so severe, that they avoid dental care altogether. This is troubling because, study after study has shown that our dental health is directly related to our overall health. The subsequent lack of dental care will put their bodies and their health at risk for complications. Many think sedation dentistry is the answer, but sleeping through dental treatment does not allow you to overcome dental phobia and dental anxiety in a healthy manageable way.

Best Methods To Cope With Dental Anxiety And Dental Phobia

Dental anxiety and dental phobia can be overcome!! You should not let dental phobia stop you from seeking regular dental care. With proper steps taken by patient and dentist, and some patience, those fears will minimize so that you can not only seek treatment, but feel comfortable in the dental chair. Some of the best methods for coping with dental anxiety and dental phobia include:

-Communication – This might very well be one of the biggest feats to overcome for many who are fearful of the dentist. Being afraid of ridicule or even being talked down to by the dentist can make it difficult to share your fears and concerns. Communication can be a very powerful tool in giving back a full sense of control over your dental care. This control helps to reduce a majority of the anxiety of helplessness that many feel. Being a part of the decision making on treatment, knowing what to expect, and knowing if you feel uncomfortable your dentist will stop, can make any dental patient feel better. Communication and control can be the differentiating factor between those suffering from dental phobia and dental anxiety, and those who have found a way to work through it.

-Distractions – Take control of your mind and allow yourself to be distracted from the dental treatment. The best ways to achieve distraction are:

1) meditation - a relaxation of mind and body musculature.

2) audio - listening to music, or the voice of your dentist while they talk you through the process with casual conversation.

3) visual –  watching television or a movie, looking at a relaxing picture during treatment. For many, the headphones help to block out the dental noises that increase their anxiety, listening to a personal story about  the dentist, visualizing a relaxing setting, and muscle relaxation can make the experience much more tolerable and possibly even pleasant!

-Muscle Relaxation Techniques - The key here is to place focus on your body parts, relaxing them one at a time. You can start with your toes or hands and work your way across your body, squeezing then relaxing each area of your body progressively. This removes your focus on the dental care and places it on your body achieving the goal of relaxing and calming yourself. Try squeezing a stress ball in 1 or both hands.

-Take A Mini Vacation In Your Mind! - To help ease your nerves and control pain during dental treatment, imagine yourself in a relaxing, enjoyable setting. For example, visualize calming colors or scenes such as the ocean, think about the sound of the waves as you relax on your favorite beach or, if you enjoy hiking, imagine yourself walking along a trail next to a river. The more detail you add to the image, the less focused you will be on the dental procedure. This technique takes practice initially, but once you gain confidence in yourself and your dentist it will get easier to do. If you find that your mind drifts away from your image, gently turn your attention back to the scene you created. Try practicing meditation with visualization at home before your appointment when you feel stressed about upcoming dental treatment.

-Breathing Exercises - This is a great technique for your drive over to the dental office, or while waiting for your appointment. Deep breathing can be a great technique to relax your mind and body prior to dental work. By taking in slow, deep breaths, the oxygen flow will have a calming effect on your entire body. Remember, slow and deep, NOT short and fast, as this can cause you to hyperventilate.

-Acupuncture/Acupressure - Often laughed off, acupuncture/acupressure have many benefits. These can include relief form pain and anxiety. For this to be effective, the acupuncture  should be completed close to the dental appointment, while some acupressure can be done during the dental appointment. This will not work for all but it has been a successful technique for many in attempting to overcome dental phobia and dental anxiety.

Conclusion

The key to overcoming and coping with your fear is to remember that you are not alone in dealing with dental anxiety or dental phobia. If you choose the right dentist and team, they will be with you every step of the way, guiding you to overcome your fears. In the beginning it may seem insurmountable but one step and day at a time, and the visits become easier and easier. You might actually begin to wonder why you didn’t do this earlier. Do not let dental phobia prevent you from being healthy in all aspects of your life.

Most of us have had the occasional headache or neck ache. It comes with the stresses of the world we live in. We often overlook our teeth as a possible cause of headaches, but it should not be ruled out. The forces we each use, all day long, day after day, when eating, chewing, and talking can wreak havoc on us for many reasons. The alignment of teeth, the anatomy of the TMJ, tooth decay, bad habits such as clenching and grinding, etc. can all be causes of dental related headaches. Millions of people suffer from head and neck pain, and migraines due to issues with their teeth.

Where Does The Dentist Come In?

Your teeth, joints, muscles, and nerves all work together in the proper alignment and functioning of your jaw. When any part of this delicate balance is abused or neglected, painful conditions such as TMD, occlusal problems, and other serious dental health issues can develop. When our muscles are overworked or overstretched due to bite issues the muscles become sore and irritated. Studies have shown that about 3/4′s of all headaches are due to our bite. The pain and discomfort will vary from person to person but in many it can be life changing. Not only do the teeth need to be properly aligned but so do the surrounding muscles of the head and neck.

Head and Neck pain (as well as migraine headaches) can lead to the following symptoms:

-Poor sleep.

-Depression.

-Fatigue.

-Pain and discomfort.

-Sleep Apnea and Snoring.

Many of these issues can be avoided with a proper diagnosis of dental issues. In many cases, your dentist can make simple adjustments to dramatically improve your situation. In others, more extensive treatment may be needed.

Common Dental Treatment For Headaches

-Adjustment Of Teeth. Changing the direction, size, and position of slopes in the teeth will help correct and balance the bite. This is the simplest way to relieve the pressure on our muscles and can be achieved in a short dental visit.

-Replacing Lost Teeth. Missing teeth may be one reason for causing imbalances in the muscles and teeth. If this happens, dental crowns, dental implants, and removable dentures will help maintain proper balance.

-Opening the Bite. Loss of vertical height due to grinding, can cause TMJ misalignment and painful headaches. Restoring teeth to their proper height with crowns can give the relief needed.

-Occlusal guards. These can be fabricated out of many combinations of materials to relieve many different dental issues. Grinding, clenching, TMJ decompression, etc. These can remove and dissipate painful forces which result in chronic headaches.

-Medication. While certain drugs can be prescribed to bring about temporary relief, it is necessary to discover and address the root cause of the headaches. Muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory medications can help break the cycle of pain, hormone replacement therapy also provides relief in some women. Unfortunately, use of pharmaceuticals is a temporary measure and will not be a long term cure.

-Alternative Therapy. This can include acupuncture, chiropractics, change in diet, meditation, and exercise. Putting less strain on the TMJ can help relieve joint pain, just like with any other joint. Adopting a soft diet for a short time may be helpful for some patients. Corrective exercises and applying external heat can also bring relief from the pain.

Headaches Conclusion

The dental component of headaches is often overlooked. Many people often ignore dental issues when having headache issues but it can be a big mistake. If your dental condition is assessed and treated early enough, it can prevent further issues from developing. TMJ disorders, tooth damage, and even bone and gum recession need to be addressed early to avoid pain and headaches. Be smart about your health and do not ignore the warning signs. A simple problem can develop into a far more complex one over time.