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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!

Asthma Marielaina Perrone DDS

Asthma Affects All Ages.

Asthma is a long term chronic condition in your lungs that has two main components. These two components consist of constriction (tightening of the muscles surrounding the  airways, and inflammation, the swelling and irritation of the airways. Constriction and inflammation cause narrowing of the airways, which may result in symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath. If left untreated, over time, asthma can lead to decreased lung function.

When you have asthma and are exposed to stress, an irritant, or an allergen, the airways leading to the lungs become more inflamed than normal, making it harder for you to take in air while breathing. The airways also get smaller due to a tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways, and they get “stuffed up” due to a build-up of mucus.

Several triggers can cause your asthma symptoms to flare up, and may include allergies, infections, and strong odors or fumes that you may come in contact with during the course of your day. Once you are exposed to a certain trigger, and have an asthmatic reaction, your airways also become more sensitive to other triggers. This is why it is vitally important to manage the symptoms of asthma immediately. An important note is that airway inflammation may always be present even when asthma patients are not showing symptoms.

Quick Asthma Facts

-There is no known cure for asthma, but asthma can be managed with proper prevention, relaxation techniques, and medical treatment.

-Asthma has a genetic component. If only one parent has asthma, chances are 1 in 3 that each child will have asthma. If both parents have asthma, it is much more likely (7 in 10) that their children will have asthma.

-More Americans than ever before say they are suffering from asthma. It is one of this country’s most common and costly diseases.

-Approximately 25 million Americans suffer from asthma (over 8% of adults, over 9% of children), and 60% of asthma cases are “allergic-asthma.” The prevalence of asthma has been increasing over the last 30 years across all of society.

-Almost 5 million asthma sufferers are under the age of 18. It is the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting more than one child in 20.

-Just being exposed to smoke from 10 cigarettes per day may put kids at risk of developing asthma, even if they’ve never had any breathing problems before.

Every day in the United States:

-44,000 people have an asthma attack.

-36,000 kids miss school due to asthma.

-27,000 adults miss work due to asthma.

-4,700 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.

-1,200 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma.

-9 people die from asthma.

Dentistry And Asthma

Asthma Marielaina Perrone DDSTooth Decay, Bad Breath, Periodontal Disease

With asthma being so prevalent, dentists see more asthmatic patients taking medication, which can lead to increased tooth decay, bad breath, and gum problems. In addition, many of those patients forget to bring their inhalers to dental visits, causing more in-office asthma attacks.

Patients with asthma have a tendency to be mouth breathers. This is due to their constricted airways. Combining this with medications (such as corticosteroids) will cause a decreased salivary flow leading to dry mouth. This can then lead to an increase in bad breath (halitosis) and tooth decay. Periodontal disease can also be an issue for asthma patients with poor oral hygiene maintenance.

Also, asthma inhalers may irritate the back roof of the mouth, causing a reddish lesion. If not treated, this area can become infected. This infection can spread and affect the throat and rest of the mouth.

Children who use inhalers for asthma are prone to  mottled enamel forming on the developing teeth. This happens most on 1st molars, allowing them to break down easier, requiring large fillings and future crowns. Fluoridated water during tooth development helps, as does fluoride supplementation.

Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety can trigger an asthma attack. So it is important to let your dentist be aware of your medical condition. To overcome this, choose a dentist with good communication skills and specialized training in handling dental anxiety. Always bring your inhaler to your appointment.Tips to overcome dental anxiety include:

-Communicate fears and anxieties before, during, and after dental appointment with dentist and staff.

-Focus on breathing regularly and slowly during dental procedures, meditation and music also help. When you are nervous you tend to hold your breath, which decreases oxygen levels and further increases feelings of panic. Instead of holding your breath, squeeze a relaxation ball and breathe deeply.

-Avoid caffeine prior to a dental appointment.

-Eat high-protein foods which can produce a calming effect.

-Try to choose a time for your dental visit when you’re less likely to be rushed or under pressure. For many, an early morning appointment is best.

How To Minimize Asthma Affects During Dental Treatment

Certain items and materials in a dental office are known to have a potential to exacerbate asthma and its symptoms. These include sealants, rubber dams, tooth enamel dust, prophy paste, acrylic dust, and acrylic liquid. Another note is patients taking corticosteroids may have a higher tendency to have an adverse reaction to sulfites.

You and your dentist can help prevent asthma attacks while promoting oral health, here’s how:

-Inform your dentist know that you have asthma. Also, list all medications you are taking for asthma.

-Describe if your asthma is controlled or uncontrolled as well as what triggers you are affected by.

-After using your inhaler, rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash. This will moisturize the mouth and prevent the mouth from drying out from the inhaler medications.

-Maintain your dental schedule as well as keeping a good oral hygiene regimen at home.

Asthma Conclusion

Understanding the complications of asthma, and it’s effects on oral health can be a life changer. A lifetime of ongoing dental work can be changed to easy maintenance visits with proper home care and fluoride use. Asthma can be a very controllable disease in most patients. Once an asthmatic is old enough to learn his/her triggers, and relaxation techniques to aid in management, oral issues can be resolved easily. Both patient and dentist need to be aware of the possible issues or complications that may arise so that dental treatment can be completed safely and comfortably. Maintain an open line of communication with your health care providers so that asthma does not hinder your treatments.