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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.



When people think of cosmetic dentistry they might think of Hollywood style makeovers. These makeovers, while great, do not work for every individual’s needs. The beauty

Minimum Dentistry Marielaina Perrone DDS

Simple Cosmetic Dentistry Fixes For That Perfect Smile!

of cosmetic dentistry is that it can oftentimes show major results with minimum work. It takes an experienced cosmetic dentist to be able to see that a small change may be all that is necessary for a patient to fulfill their needs and wants.

What Is Minimum Dentistry?

Minimum dentistry encompasses all the possible treatment options available in cosmetic dentistry but just on a smaller scale. It means, to be as efficient and conservative as possible with time, treatment,tooth strcuture, and money to gain maximum results with the resources we have available.

Which cosmetic dentistry procedures are available for minimum dentistry?

Tooth Reshaping (also called tooth re-contouring, or enameloplasty) – This simple, effective minimum dentistry procedure allows your cosmetic dentist to reshape your teeth very minimally to change length, width, or thickness. This is very effective for teeth with varying lengths or ones that are slightly out of line with each other. This will not work in cases of more severe misalignments as you run the risk of removing too much tooth structure causing sensitivity teeth.

Teeth Whitening – A minimum dentistry procedure, that can whiten your teeth in as little as an hour. There are various types of teeth whitening available. These include in office teeth whitening (done in as little as an hour), at home teeth whitening (completed over a period of 2 weeks or so). There are also over the counter methods of teeth whitening available. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. The most efficient method is in office whitening but it is also the most expensive.

Dental Bonding – Another minimum dentistry procedure that can be completed in under an hour that can dramatically change a smile. A chipped tooth or a gap can make your smile look less attractive. Dental bonding can close that gap and restore a chipped tooth to its natural appearance.

Inlays and Onlays – Inlays and onlays require minimal removal of healthy tooth structure when compared to dental crowns. These are usually made of porcelain to make the final restoration as cosmetic as possible. Removal of healthy tooth structure increases the risks of both tooth fracture and the possible need for root canal therapy after the crown is completed. The inlay or onlay can serve a wonderful purpose, by preserving tooth structure, as well as being a more cost effective option to a full porcelain crown.

Lumineers – This is truly a minimum dentistry procedure. This requires little to no tooth preparation. The trade off is, that the final product can often look bulky and out of place. For that reason most skilled cosmetic dentists reject this procedure.

Snap On Smile – Another cosmetic minimum dentistry procedure that requires no tooth preparation. It is literally as the name suggests…a new smile you snap on over your existing teeth. For many patients this is the answer for special events like a wedding, job interviews, etc. Snap on smile is especially useful when major dental work would be required to alter the smile properly.

Ginival recontouring – Also called a gum lift or gingivoplasty. This procedure removes a bit of gum tissue to allow short teeth to appear longer, to decrease a gummy smile, and to even out the gum line.

Minimum Dentistry Conclusion

Cosmetic dentistry procedures do not have to cost a fortune and require a lot of time in the dentist’s office. Minor changes to a smile can bring dramatic results. The ultimate goal of any cosmetic dentistry procedure is to meet the patients goals and to create a functional final result. Minimum dentistry allows for everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of cosmetic dentistry especially with a limited budget of time and money.

Dental implants in dentistry have become a highly successful dental procedure. Most studies show that dental implants have a success rate of around 96-98% when placed properly. Dental implants have become a highly reliable procedure for the replacement of lost teeth. This means, almost all patients who undergo the procedure for dental

Dental Implants Marielaina Perrone DDS

implants with a highly competent surgeon, will have success. What about the other 2-4%? What can go wrong with dental implants?

Success of dental implants is related to the dentist or surgeons skill, quality and quantity of the bone available at the site, quality of materials used, the patient’s healing ability, and maintenance of good oral hygiene.

Possible Dental Implants Complications

Failed Integration of Dental Implants – This occurs when the bone does not grow and fuse between the threads of the implant. This fusion of bone to dental implant is called osseointegration. If this does not occur, the dental implants will not function properly,will become uncomfortable, become loose, or come out completely. To reduce this risk, your dental surgeon will evaluate the quality and density of the jaw bone prior to surgery. This will help to only place dental implants in areas where there is a highly predictable success rate. If osseointegration does not take place, the dental implants can be removed, and surgery can be attempted again once the area has fully healed.

Infection –  This is the most common complication of dental implant surgery. The surrounding bone and gums can get infected during the surgical procedure. This can happen due to non-sterile technique, a contaminated implant, poor healing ability(diabetic, smoker, osteoporosis medications), pre-existing infection. The most likely time for this to occur would be during the surgical placement of the dental implant into the bone. Implant infection is a condition referred to as peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is characterized by inflammation or swelling of the tissues surrounding the implant area. Peri-implantitis can also present as a secondary infection later on is a form of periodontal disease that can lead to inflammation, bone loss and implant failure if not treated quickly and properly. Although implant infections are usually caused by the presence of bacteria during or immediately after the oral surgery for the placement of the dental implants, an implant infection can occur months or years after surgery.

Post Surgical Bleeding – Some bleeding following surgery is normal and should be expected for about 1-2 days. Biting gently on a gauze pad placed over the surgery area for 30 minutes should normally stop the bleeding. Excessive bleeding is not normal and you should notify your dentist immediately if you have concerns about your dental implants.

Damage To Surrounding Tissues – Dental implant complications related with surgical errors affecting adjacent teeth, nerves or sinus are directly correlated with the experience and skills of the dentist or surgeon. An experienced and skilled implant dentist is able to identify potential problems by examining x-rays or CT scan (computer tomography), design the proper surgical plan for ideal location and angle, and execute it successfully without complications. Even with the most skilled implant dentist there is always a possibility of dental implant complications. The complications can be limited by choosing an implant dentist with the skills and experience necessary to handle any complications if they arise.

The following areas could be damaged:

1Surrounding Teeth – During the placement of dental implants, the dentist may damage the crown or the roots of adjacent teeth. Root canal therapy may be needed to repair the injured teeth. The dentist must carefully review the x-rays or CT-scan

Dental Implants Marielaina Perrone DDSbefore drilling because the teeth are not always in ideal positions. A skilled implant dentist will be prepared for any changes necessary.

2. Nerve Damage – While rare, this is a complication of implant surgery in the lower jaw (mandible). There is a nerve (inferior alveolar nerve) that runs through the lower jawbone that can be injured during dental implants placement. Nerve injury may cause pain, numbness or painful tingling in teeth, gums, lips, tongue or chin. Similar symptoms may occur if the implant is placed right on top of the nerve, causing severe pain when chewing down. If the nerve fails to heal and the symptoms persist, the dental implant will likely need to be removed. X-rays and CT scans can help the implant dentist to identify the exact location of the nerve and minimize the possibility of nerve damage.

3. Perforation into Sinus – This occurs during placement of dental implants in the upper jaw. This occurs during implant placement, when an implant is placed into the sinus cavity. With proper planning, the bone around the sinus can be grafted and lifted (sinus augmentation) to allow for the necessary length of the dental implants. To prevent this implant complication, the dentist must check carefully the CT scans and proceed with ‘sinus augmentation’ if needed to provide sufficient bone for successful implant placement.

4. Bone Fracture – Jaw fracture is another possible complication of dental implants placement. If there is not enough bone or bone density, the jaw can fracture under the pressure during the surgical placement of the dental implants (during drilling or implant insertion).

5. Inflammation – Inflammation and swelling of the surrounding tissues is the immediate symptom of implant infection. Improper placement or size of the abutment and crown restoration, that puts under pressure and traumatizes the soft tissues around or beneath it, may also cause dental implants complications. Dental implant inflammation triggers an inflammatory response from the body’s immune system that attacks gum tissues and surrounding bone. This can result in bone loss around the dental implant and if left untreated the dental implants will become loose and will need to be removed. The dentist has to eliminate the inflammation as soon as possible to prevent further bone loss that can cause dental implants failure. The inflammation can be treated by antibiotics and cleaning if caused by implant infection, or by removing or adjusting the defective restoration if caused by trauma.

Other reasons for failure of Dental Implants

-Rejection – An extremely rare complication but it has been noted in the research literature. The dental implants can sometimes be viewed as a foreign body.

Unusable Dental Implants – An implant that has successfully integrated with bone, but the area or extreme angle of placement deem it unrestorable.

Dental Implants Conclusion

Implant dentistry has come a long way. It has become an almost routine procedure. Understand, that just because it is done often does not make it a simple procedure thatDental Implants Marielaina Perrone DDS anyone can do. Implant surgery is an intricate and comprehensive process that involves several stages. Treatment consults, treatment planning, and treatment procedures (which can include multiple surgeries) need to be undertaken with extreme care. General dentists DO NOT have the same training as surgeons, and are generally better at restoring the implants after surgical placement. As with all types of surgery, there are risks involved during both the actual dental implants procedure as well as during the recovery period. While most dental implant complications are quite minor, it is important to be aware of them prior to surgery. These complications can be minimized by choosing an implant dentist with the skill and knowledge to overcome any challenges that may come your way before, during, or after surgery. Choose your surgeon based on skill level and not price, and you will be much more likely to have a long term success.

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) – or more commonly referred to as male impotency. Male Impotency is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual activity.

Recent scientific studies have shown that men with advanced periodontal disease (also called periodontitis) are at a higher risk for erectile dysfunction. The same study also says young men under age 30 are at risk as well. The study was based on approximately 33,000 men with erectile dysfunction and then randomly selected another group of men without erectile dysfunction. About 12% of the participants had advanced periodontal disease. This group with advanced periodontal disease included about 27% of the men with erectile dysfunction and about 9% of those without erectile dysfunction issues. The study lasted for five years.

This particular research study found advanced periodontal disease was much higher among the men with erectile dysfunction than those without. After taking into account other lifestyle factors (example, income level and pre existing medical conditions) the researchers found periodontal disease was still linked to erectile dysfunction.  This was  especially the case in men younger than 30 and those older than 70.

The study did not show or prove that advanced periodontal disease causes erectile dysfunction. But it does show that an association between the two does exist. One theory as to why the link exists is that both are likely caused by inflammatory processes in the body. The Periodontal disease process is directly linked to the inflammatory process in the gum tissues and bone, and has been found to be linked to heart disease,vascular disease (damage to blood vessels), pregnancy issues, and other overall health problems. Researchers believe the same inflammatory process is affecting sexual function. The inflammatory process is systemic (throughout the body) and is thought to be causing damage to the vessels supplying the penis.

While these results are far from set in stone they tell a tale of a link between the inflammatory breakdown in advanced periodontal disease and erectile dysfunction. So this means, it is doubly important for men of all ages and not just the ones mentioned in the study to maintain their dental hygiene to not only maintain their teeth and gums but also to maintain their sexual function. Luckily for us, periodontal disease is very treatable. Periodontitis and advanced periodontitis are very preventable. Brush your teeth, floss and schedule routine dental visits to keep your gums and teeth healthy. While the linkage between periodontal disease and erectile dysfunction requires more research at this very early stage, it would be wise to think of full body health and do all that you can to guard against preventable illness.