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Dental phobia, and dental anxiety come in many forms. Anxiety may cause you to be slightly apprehensive to extremely frightened at the thought of visiting the dentist. A

Dental Phobia Marielaina Perrone DDS

Dental Phobia Can Be Overcome!

phobia, may cause a paralyzing fear that overtakes your entire body. Whichever form, dental phobia or dental anxiety, can be very difficult to overcome. Inability to have regular dental and health care can lead to health issues. Numerous studies have linked diabetes, alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and even cancer to poor oral health. It is imperative to maintain a healthy mouth to keep our bodies happy and healthy. So, the question becomes, can dental phobia be overcome?

Dental Phobia Is A Learned Fear

There has been significant research to show that dental phobia and dental anxiety are linked to life experiences. These experiences can be direct or indirect.

-Direct experiences – are the most common way for people to develop a dental phobia or dental anxiety. Many people report fearing the dentist due to a prior traumatic or painful dental experience. However, it is often the dentist themselves who induce the dental phobia. During the many studies, patients report it was not the dental procedure that ultimately causes their fear. Instead it was the dentist’s attitude towards them. Dentists who were perceived as impersonal, uncaring, or even cold were found to be the root cause of the direct experience dental phobia. An interesting note from these dental phobia studies was, that patients who experienced a painful or traumatic treatment but had a caring dentist, failed to develop a dental phobia. This leads us to believe that dental phobia is a learned trait and can be overcome.

Indirect Experiences – These can include:

Parental/Peer Influence – Dental phobia can develop from hearing about your parents, siblings, friends, bad experiences or their negative views on going to the dentist.

Media Influence – Many movies like to poke fun at the dentist in good and bad ways. A good example is the dentist in little shop of horrors whereby dentistry is portrayed in  a sadistic way. This extreme visual can be quite unsettling, and emotional. The fear can readily be instilled, and dental phobia can develop.

Dental Phobia Diagnosis

Dental phobia can often times be very easy to diagnose. All you have to do is ask a patient and they can tell you how they feel about the dentist. It usually produces a very profound reaction if they truly have a dental phobia. The usual method for diagnosing dental phobia is the use of a scale to assess the level of dental phobia or dental anxiety. The scale consists of a series of questions and based on the answers the dentist can assess the level of your dental phobia. Common questions on the scale include:

Dental Phobia Marielaina Perrone DDS

Unlearn Your Dental Phobia!!

-While waiting in the reception area of the dental office, do you feel nervous about the visit?

-Have you had a prior dental experience that was unpleasant?

-While in the dental chair, do you feel uneasy and anxious?

-Do you feel embarrassed that the dentist will say you have the worst mouth they have ever seen?

These questions will give your dentist an assessment of what you are afraid of. Further questioning will help narrow down the fears and their triggers, enabling the dentist to work with you to help slowly overcome those fears.

Breaking The Dental Phobia Hold On You

Overcoming dental phobia can be a very difficult proposition, there is work and time involved for both you and your dentist. The first step is believing in yourself, and your dentist.The second is, feeling that it is possible, and truly wanting to try and overcome it. Dental phobia is a learned behavior and can be overcome with hard work and the desire to do so. The biggest key to overcoming dental phobia is to find the right dentist for you. One who will always keep an open line of communication, is extremely important. This will allow you to express yourself and your emotions before, during, and after treatment.

Feeling of Control –  A sense of control is your right as a dental patient. Understanding this, is key to confidence. Knowing that you can stop treatment as often , and whenever you want can be very freeing.The most common signal is simply raising your left hand to alert the dentist and staff of your need to communicate. A system should be established allowing you to stop for any reason, whether it be because you need more anesthesia, want to rinse out, or simply need a break.You should be part of the process of developing a treatment plan as well as have the ability to fully understand the treatment being offered and why it is needed. You need to be honest with your dentist and yourself regarding how much treatment you can tolerate initially. As time moves on, you will build confidence in yourself as well as increased trust in the dentist and staff treating you. Over time, the type and length of the appointments can be increased. You will be amazed how long you will be able to sit in the chair when it is your choice!

Feeling Embarrassed or Self Conscious – If you have been ridiculed in the past for your behavior or if you are embarrassed by your present dental condition caused by your neglect, please express yourself honestly and give your dentist a chance to understand your concerns and show you that they care. Please know, that most dentists

Dental Phobia Marielaina Perrone DDS

Free Yourself Of Your Dental Phobia

do care, and want to treat you with the respect that you deserve. These feelings do need to be addressed, and talked through, so that you can begin to leave them behind.

-Use Of Relaxation Techniques – If you feel tense in the chair, the easiest way to relax is through forms of physical relaxation. A relaxed body promotes a clear and relaxed mind. The human body cannot be physically relaxed and mentally anxious at the same time! The brain won’t process these feelings simultaneously. Physical relaxation methods are easier to accomplish at first as compared to cognitive ones, so practice forms of physical relaxation first. Light meditation methods and music work very well. Light conscious sedation, such as valium, is a great way to start.

Examples of physical relaxation are Diaphragmatic Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and various methods taught in yoga . If you induce relaxation in the presence of the stimuli that normally induces your fears (the dental environment), the fear response will be greatly diminished over multiple exposures and you will gradually desensitize yourself to these fears as you build confidence. The memories of traumatic visits will be replaced with more innocuous ones and this less threatening environment coupled with your relaxation methods will help you eliminate your dental phobia.

Repetition. The simple process of repeat appointments, will make you feel more comfortable. 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.

-Distraction – As you get more comfortable in the dental environment, you can use distraction. The use of an ipod with your favorite music is a common technique. It is only suggested to utilize distraction techniques once you have established some trust and confidence, because your ability to communicate will be decreased, although it is easy to communicate by using your pre-established hand signals.

Predictable Pain Control – Modern dentistry has many new techniques with regards to the administration of local anesthetics to help block pain. There are many people who have differences in their anatomy that do require more individualized techniques in order to predictably achieve proper local anesthesia. This variation must be respected and communicated to your dentist. The needle itself is generally the minor cause of discomfort, in fact, it is the pressure and volume of the fluids being injected that causes the major discomfort. Therefore, all injections should be given slowly. There are also great differences in the types of tissue in various locations, anatomically and from person to person, that must be considered when administering injections. There are even computer-controlled machines that are now available to standardize the injection process and make it more predictable than the conventional hand-held syringe.

Conclusion

Dental phobia and dental anxiety can be overcome! With proper guidance, trust, patience, dedication, and communication, dental phobia can be beaten. Do not allow your health to be held hostage by your fears. You can live a longer, happier, and healthier life, free of dental fear. Take that first step and find a dentist that understands dental fear, and make an appointment for a consult. Dental phobia and dental anxiety can be overcome!

 



Cosmetic Dentistry has evolved over the years to allow dentists to give patients what they crave…..A beautiful long lasting smile that changes their life in many ways. In the past, dentists could do minor changes to a person’s smile or more drastic ones using orthodontics. Today, modern cosmetic dentistry techniques and materials allow drastic changes as well as minor ones that can alter a patient’s smile for the better.

Do you believe having a great looking smile can improve your appearance and enhance your social life?

In a recent poll by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) revealed that about 96% of those surveyed agreed that it can. In the same study about 65% of the participants said they were unhappy with one or more aspects of their smiles. Cosmetic dentistry has the ability to change that.

Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

Cosmetic Dentistry procedures come in all sizes from a one office visit for teeth whitening to a multiple visit complete smile makeover. Let’s take a look at some of the most sought after cosmetic dentistry procedures…

Teeth Contouring. This might be one of the simplest and easiest cosmetic dentistry procedures of all. It is generally done without anesthesia and can be as simple as filing down a tooth that appears longer or is slightly out of alignment with the others. Most patients are quite surprised at how such a small adjustment can alter their smile for the better.

Gum contouring. Evening out gum levels can help teeth to look more evenly sized and can make short teeth appear longer.

Teeth Whitening. In the United States, teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic dentistry procedure performed by dentists. It has been proven by research time and again that people find a whiter smile to be more attractive.  People tend to feel better about themselves when they are happy with their appearance. The teeth whitening procedure can be done at home or in the office. Either procedure is generally very successful, and can give patients a dramatic change to their smile with minimal cost and time invested.

Dental Bonding. While tooth bonding is also used to restore teeth damaged by tooth decay it can also be used as a composite veneer to change color or shape, fix chipped teeth, or close small gaps in your smile. Dental bonding is the process in which tooth colored dental materials are bonded to a tooth. This procedure is also a quicker fix and can usually be completed in a single visit easily altering your smile in as little as an hour.

Replacing old silver restorations. Many of us have a few silver fillings. Replacing silver fillings with new white fillings or porcelain onlays can make your whole smile brighter.

Porcelain Veneers and Porcelain Crowns. Our smiles are constantly changing over time with wear. Teeth can get worn down, can shift, or maybe you were born with an imperfect smile. Porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns can be a great way to replace lost tooth structure and alter imperfect teeth. These cosmetic dentistry procedures tend to require multiple visits but the results will give you a beautiful smile. Porcelain

Veneers are custom made, ultra thin, tooth colored shells that are adhesively bonded to the teeth. This allows the cosmetic dentist to not only alter color of your teeth, but shape and length as well. Porcelain veneers are sometimes called instant orthodontics. This is because porcelain veneers can change the alignment of teeth if the alignment issues are not too extreme. Porcelain crowns can be used on teeth that either already have crowns or need more extensive work (having large restorations or tooth decay). Both porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns can as used in cosmetic dentistry to give the patient a flawless, more youthful and sexy smile.

Dental Implants. These are the newest addition to cosmetic dentistry. Dental implants allow cosmetic dentists another option in tooth replacement. Whether it is a singleCosmetic Dentistry Marielaina Perrone DDS tooth or a full mouth restoration, dental implants can fill that need. Missing teeth has long been considered a sign of old age. Having a full set of white teeth screams youth especially when they are bright, white, and sparkling. When a person is missing a tooth they have several options. There are partial and complete dentures (including the all on 4 dental implants system), traditional bridges, and dental implants. A dental implant can look and feel just like a natural tooth. It is also easier to keep clean than a traditional bridge. Dental implants are placed directly into bone creating a solid foundation for a natural tooth replacement.

Bite Reclamation. Over time as we use our teeth we tend to lose some height on our teeth. This loss of height of height is also referred to as loss of vertical dimension. Some other factors that cause this loss include acid reflux or teeth grinding (bruxism). Reclaiming a person’s bite utilizing dental implants and porcelain crowns will increase vertical height which will also remove some of the wrinkles around the mouth. These wrinkles develop as our we age and our mouth’s sag from this loss of dimension. Cosmetic dentistry can fix some of this.

Cosmetic Dentistry Conclusion

Cosmetic Dentistry gives your dentist the ability to give patients the smiles they have always dreamed of. Not everyone wants a complete Hollywood style smile makeover and just want minor issues fixed that have always bothered them. Modern cosmetic dentistry allows for both minor fixes as well as extreme ones. Whichever cosmetic dentistry procedure you choose, please be sure that you keep your teeth healthy by visiting your dentist for regular dental examinations and professional cleanings.

At home dental hygiene care is critical to having good dental health and studies have shown it is also linked to our overall health. The best way to get adults to maintain their

dental hygiene to teach them proper habits as kids. One of the simplest things we do as part of our dental hygiene regimen is brushing. But did you know most of us do not remove all the plaque and bacteria properly. Parents should help with brushing, and/or check to see that the child has done a good job.  There is a way to ensure your kids are removing all the plaque and bacteria while brushing. Dentists have been using dyes for years called disclosing solutions to show patients what they have been missing. Disclosing solutions are a powerful, effective learning tool.

 Options for Disclosing and Detecting Plaque

There are many different solutions available. These include:

-Red-cote Disclosing Solution and tablets. Red-Cote Disclosants highlight harmful bacteria and plaque on the tooth surface. By staining these areas red, it shows patients areas where more brushing and flossing are needed. It is non-toxic and comes in a cherry flavor. These dyes also cause a lingering stain on the tongue and sometimes, lips for hours. Therefore, use on the weekend to give more time for the red solution to dissipate

-2 tone Disclosing Solution. Cherry-flavored 2-Tone Disclosing Solution works safely and dramatically. Stains new plaque red and old plaque blue to identify areas continually missed. Dye washes away easily.

-GUM Plak-Chek. The Plak-Chek is a virtually invisible plaque disclosing system that works for both children and adults. This solution works under a special blue light which fluoresces the dye under light. In this system, the dye is invisible in natural light yet glows green on plaque covered tooth surfaces when illuminated by the hand held blue light. Kind of fun for kids, but more difficult to visualize and finish cleaning the remaining plaque.

-Listerine agent blue. This rinse can be used before or after tooth brushing. After rinsing with Listerine agent blue, kids will notice their teeth turning blue. This is important so kids can pay attention to removing all the blue tint as they brush. If they left any behind they know they need to go back and continue brushing. Works wonders for improving oral hygiene technique as well as self awareness for children of taking care of their own teeth. The blue discloser is not quite as “scary” looking as the bright red dyes.

Conclusion

Disclosing solutions are helpful tools to maintain good dental hygiene. Some tools will work better with different individuals. The key is to find what works for you and use it regularly. Once good habits are formed, and the proper techniques have been learned to keep your mouth it’s cleanest, your overall dental health will improve. Remember,your dental health effects your overall health. So, teach your kids how to be their healthiest from a young age. As always, visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings to ensure your optimal dental health.


Periodontal diseaseis an infection of the gums, attachments and bone that surround and support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums can become swollen and red, and they may bleed. In its more serious form (called periodontitis) the gums can pull away from the tooth and bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out. Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two biggest threats to dental health.

What is MyPerioPath?
What does it have to do with Periodontal Disease?

MyPerioPath is a diagnostic tool that identifies the type of bacteria and the concentration of the bacteria present in the saliva.  Dentists and researchers have long known the specific bacteria known to cause periodontal disease so this tool gives us an idea of where each patient is and how to treat them. This makes periodontal disease treatment more personalized and allows for more predictable outcomes.

Bacteria Associated with Periodontal Disease

Researchers have discovered over 350 different species of microorganisms in the typical person’s healthy mouth. Less than 5% of these microorganism species are linked to periodontal diseaseinfections. Research

MyPerioPath Marielaina Perrone DDS

MyPerioPath Kit for Periodontal Disease Treatment

has also shown that these ” bad bacteria”, can be shared with your partner. So, if you , or your partner has progressive periodontal disease, you may both need to be checked and or treated with antibiotics.

Healthy and disease causing bacteria are usually grouped into two distinct categories:

1) Gram positive aerobic bacteria. These are harmless or helpful bacteria in the mouth.

2) Gram negative anaerobic bacteria. These are bacteria related to periodontal disease. When periodontal disease develops, the bacterial balance shifts over to these types of bacteria. Inflammation and injury cannot develop without these bacteria flourishing in the mouth.

Some of the bacteria most implicated in periodontal disease and bone loss include:

Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis. These two bacteria appear to be particularly likely to cause aggressive periodontal disease. Both P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans, along with multiple deep pockets in the gum, are associated with resistance to standard treatments for gum disease. P. gingivalis may double the risk for serious gum disease. P. gingivalis produces enzymes, such as one called arginine-specific cysteine proteinase, that may disrupt the immune system and lead to subsequent periodontal connective tissue destruction.

Bacteroides forsythus is also strongly linked to periodontal disease.

Other bacteria associated with periodontal disease are Treponema denticola, T. socranskii, and P. intermedia. These bacteria, together with P. gingivalis, are frequently present at the same sites, and are associated with deep periodontal pockets.

Some bacteria are related to gingivitis, but not plaque development. They include various streptococcal species.

How does MyPerioPath help personalize Periodontal Disease Treatment?

By knowing the exact bacteria and concentrations of each we are able to set up a treatment plan aimed at those specific bacteria. This can include the following treatment:

MyPerioPath Marielaina Perrone DDS

MyPerioPath Sample Results

Oral hygiene Instruction. Any dental treatment is doomed to fail without oral hygiene maintenance at home. Periodontal disease is progressive and will get worse without proper treatment and maintenance.

Scaling and Root Planing. This treatment is also referred to as a deep cleaning. The goal of initial periodontal disease treatment is to remove the plaque and tartar buildup as well as to disinfect the mouth to lower the progress of periodontal disease. The removal of deep plaque and tartar, and smoothing of the root surface allows for healing and reattachment. This leads to healing and hopefully, reduced pocket depth.

Periogen. Oral rinse for dissolving tartar buildup between professional cleanings. This oral rinse can lower the inflammatory process by removing some of the tartar and bacterial buildup in the mouth.

Antibiotics. The test really shines in allowing the dentist to tailor a specific antibiotic regimen for each patient. The antibiotic used may be different for each patient depending on their bacteria types and levels. The antibiotic treatment will allow the bacteria levels to decrease dramatically thus halting the progress of the periodontal disease.

Other Tests Available for Periodontal Disease

There is another test available for testing periodontal disease called MyPerioID PST. Salivary DNA test that determines increased risk for severe periodontal infections. The MyPerioID PST test identifies individual genetic susceptibility to periodontal disease and allows the dentist to establish which patients are at increased risk for more severe periodontal infections due to an exaggerated immune response.

MyPerioPath Conclusion

Is this periodontal disease test necessary for everyone? Probably not. It does come at a cost so it should only be utilized where necessary. For some patients, normal periodontal disease treatment is not enough and this test could help stave off periodontal disease progression and aide in more successful healing. Keeping regular dental visits as well as regular professional cleanings coupled with a good oral hygiene regimen at home is the perfect recipe for staving off periodontal disease.