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Dental anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about dental care with an uncertain outcome. This can definitely include visiting the dentist especially after years of dental neglect. Dental anxiety is actually a very common fear but it can get out of control. A paralyzing dental anxiety can cause you to avoid dental care for years and in some cases decades. This dental anxiety and neglect can have long lasting impacts not only on your smile but your overall health. Recent clinical studies have linked dental disease (like periodontal disease) to cardiovascular disease, alzheimer’s disease, and even diabetes.

Dental Anxiety Feelings

Many people with dental anxiety have had a bad experience or have heard from a loved one about a significant dental experience. But that is not only reason some people avoid the dentist. Below you will find some common reasons why dental anxiety and dental neglect can occur:

Dental Anxiety Marielaina Perrone DDSFear Of Pain. Let’s face it no one wants to feel pain or discomfort. While dentistry has come a long way there are some parts that can cause some slight pain for some. For many they are OK but for others they are overly sensitive to oral discomfort. This is quite normal for us all to react differently to different events in our lives. Dentistry does not have to be a painful event and in most cases with a properly trained dentist and staff it is not. Choose wisely.

Fear Of Unknown. Not knowing what the dentist will say or find can cause a great deal of dental anxiety. Will I have a cavity? Will the dentist say I need a lot of treatment? All valid questions and concerns. Most people fail to realize going to the dentist every 6 months for routine checkups and cleanings will make things easier going forward. This is because any issues are caught immediately and can be handled before they get out of hand. Your gum tissues will also be healthier making the teeth cleaning easier and more comfortable.

Embarassment. A dentist or doctor is perceived as an authority figure by many. No one wants to be told they have a bad smile or have not done a good job with dental hygiene at home. A well trained dentist would never make you feel embarassed. Your dentist has seen it all. It will not phase them in the least what they find, so it should not bother you either.They would communicate the steps forward to fix the issues at hand. There is nothing to feel embarassed about.

Past Experiences. This can be a direct experience by you or an indirect experience by a loved one. Either way it will add to the dental anxiety as your dental visit approaches.

Overcoming Dental Anxiety – Communication Is The Key

Relay your fears to the dental staff and dentist. A well trained, experienced dentist will handle all patients the same and make you feel at home in the dental chair. Below are a few tips for you at your dental visit.

Be Honest and Upfront. Communicate your dental anxiety to the team and dentist so they can help you thru your visit. A well trained dentist will communicate with you and try to alleviate your fears in a variety of ways. These can include inviting you to the office prior to your appointment to just meet and talk. It can also include giving you a detailed explanation of what is to be completed at your visit so you do not have any surprises pop up.

Early Morning Appointment. For those with dental anxiety, getting the dental care done first thing in morning is best. This way there is no dwelling all day on it. Put your mind at ease and get it done first thing in the morning.

Bring Support. Bring a close friend or family member with you.

Use a STOP sign or word. You and your dental team can use a stop word or sign for when you feel the dental anxiety building and you need a break.

“Communication Is The Key To Overcoming Dental Anxiety.” – Marielaina Perrone DDS

Other Dental Anxiety Relieving Methods

-Exercise. Regular exercise can help lower stress and anxiety. Exercise helps by releasing endorphins and improving your sleep and self-image.

-Supplements Use. Certain supplements can reduce stress and anxiety. These can include ashwagandha, omega-3 fatty acids, green tea and lemon balm.

-Aromatherapy. Lighting a candle can help lower anxiety and stress. Lighting a candle or using essential oils can benefit dental anxiety from calming scents.

-Baby Steps. Try not to take on more than you can handle. Saying no is one way to control your dental anxiety. Your dentist will be cognizant of your dental anxiety and space out appointments in what is best for you. Obviously you will not be able to sit in chair for extended periods of time in the beginning so your appointment schedule will reflect your dental anxiety needs.

-Yoga. Just like exercise mentioned earlier yoga can be used for stress reduction and dental anxiety relief. It may help lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure.

-Power Of Music. Listening to your favorite music can be a good way to relieve stress and anxiety.

-Breathing Exercises. Deep breathing activates the relaxation response helping relieve dental anxiety. Focus on evenly inhaling and exhaling. This will help slow down and re-center your anxious mind.

How To Ease Dental Anxiety Conclusion

Dentistry has come a long way and patients comfort is of the utmost concern for most dentists. A well trained dentist will be able to handle your dental anxiety and design a dental schedule that is right for you. The bottom line is to keep you healthy both dentally and overall. Most people with dental anxiety report that the visit to the dentist ended up not being what they had imagined all along. It was much easier. Dental anxiety can be overcome but communication is the key.


Pacifiers are used as a soothing tool in infants and very young children. The habit of sucking is a normal, natural behavior for babies. This is how they receive all of their nutrition in the first months of life. Some babies will even begin sucking on their fingers or thumb inside the womb. Babies will also suck for other reasons. It is a soothing

Pacifier Use Marielaina Perrone DDS

Be Smart About Pacifier Use!

behavior that can help them relax and sometimes even put them to sleep. It can relieve anxiety and make them feel secure and happy. They are especially useful during the first six months of life.

Studies have also shown a benefit from pacifier use in development of jaw muscles as well as decreasing risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Pacifier use is generally safe and effective in its job for the first two years of life but problems can arise with continued pacifier use after age 2.

Dangers Of Continued Pacifier Use

Research has shown that pacifier use before the age of 2 is natural and healthy for a baby. After the age of 2 problems can arise that can endanger the child’s oral health going forward. Some of the dangers associated with continued pacifier use include:

-Increased risk of middle ear infections. Researchers theorized it may have something to do with the change in pressure equilibrium inside the ear caused by the constant sucking.

-Improper growth or development of the mouth.

Misalignment of Teeth. These issues might include displaced teeth, overbites, cross bites, and open bites.

-Increased Risk of Tooth Decay. Kids who use a pacifier longer, also tend to drink from a bottle longer. All this sucking combined with liquids applied directly to the teeth can cause tooth decay and badly formed teeth.

Pacifier Use Marielaina Perrone DDS-Development of a Thumb Sucking Habit. This will accelerate and make any issues even more pronounced.

-Germ ingestion is increased throughout life with long term use of pacifiers. Research has shown that children who use pacifiers after infant stages are more likely to pick up and put items in their mouths.

-Sleep disruption. They have a problem because they grow used to having the pacifier in their mouth while sleeping, and can’t sleep without it. This issue isn’t limited to pacifier users. It’s also true of kids who suck their thumb past infancy. Older thumb suckers often mimic the health issues of pacifier users.

Correct Pacifier Use

Here are a few tips for correct pacifier use:

-Use specially designed orthodontic pacifiers. A good example is the advanced airshield orthodontic pacifier by NUK.

-Keep Pacifiers clean and free of unwanted germs. Always wash a new pacifier prior to use.

-Regularly check your child’s pacifier for cracks or tears. These can become a choking hazard and should be thrown away immediately.

-Do not tie the pacifier around your infants neck.

Following these rules will help ensure your babies pacifier use is safe and healthy.

What Can Be Done To Stop Pacifier Use

While the use of pacifiers before 2 years old is very beneficial it is not always easy to get your child to stop at their 2nd birthday. Some tips to help wean your child off the pacifier include:

1. Take It Away Sooner Than  Later.

To break the pacifier habit taking the pacifier away sooner than later is the most effective strategy. Babies have their own powerful ways of protesting the end of a belovedPediatric Dentistry Marielaina Perrone DDS habit like the pacifier. But taking it away when your child is too young to express his displeasure and negotiate with words can make the transition simpler and easier. Once the pacifier is taken away, do not give it back!!! Tell them it is gone, show it to them in the trash, and then bring it outside to the garbage. Children understand the concept “all gone”.

2. Change The Pacifier’s Taste.

You are probably familiar with the idea of stopping nail-biters by painting their nails with something that tastes unpleasant. A similar method sometimes works to separate kids and their pacifiers.

3. Leave it for the Pacifier Fairy

The pacifier fairy is a first cousin to the tooth fairy. This magical creature may help your child make the transition from being hooked on the pacifier to living pacifier-free. A nice replacement gift from the fairy is also a great idea.

4. Lose it

This may come as a revelation: Next time you’re frantically looking for your child’s precious pacifier, stop. If it’s lost, let it be lost. Alternatively, you can lose it on purpose. Both strategies have worked for desperate moms and dads.

Pacifier Conclusion

For many infants weaning off the pacifier can be very difficult. Some kids are not only physically attached to the pacifier but emotionally attached as well. In those children it is doubly hard to break the habit. As hard as it may be for parent and child, for the child’s health it is a very important reason to break the habit at the right time before any damage can occur.