Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dental Phobia

What is dental phobia?
Phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. This is not an unusual situation - many suffer from various types of phobia. Dental phobia means the sufferer will try their best to avoid or act irrationally on anything that requires probing, scraping, filling, or worse, pulling their teeth out. Dental phobia is a person's fear to receive dental care from a dentist. They would rather endure the pain rather than see a dental specialist to reduce, or even cure, the pain.

Is it common?
Dental phobia is famous around the globe. It is roughly estimated that more than 75% of adults in the United States experience dental phobia, ranging from mild to severe.

What is the worst thing you can do?
If you avoid regular dental check-ups, you can have major health problems in your future. Dental problems (decayed/stained teeth, bleeding gums, bad breath, etc.) can contribute to your cardiovascular and mental health.

Why does it occur?
Dental phobia occurs mainly because of the terrifying instruments being used during the check-up. They are sharp and made out of metal. As humans, we have a natural reaction towards sharp things being poked into our mouth. We usually would imagine the sharp tool would hurt us eventually. Mass media also plays a role contributing to this problem. Portrayals of dentists being harsh towards their patients definitely do not help sufferers, as their fear level may increase.

Dental phobia can be divided into 2 groups:

1. Direct experience
The phobia started since they entered the door to the clinic. The experience they get from the clinic's environment could determine their experience inside the dentist's room. Usually, the first visit to the clinic contributes to the phobia, as the sufferers visit when their dental problem has already become severe. For example, a patient with a toothache comes to the dentist when the problem is so severe, that is requires the dentist to pull the tooth out. Thus, from the pain experienced or the treatment received, the patient develops a phobia so strong that he does not revisit a dentist ever again.

2. Indirect experience
It comes from truly horrifying tales related by those who have already been to a dentist and suffered from it. For example, those who when to the dentist for a scaling treatment would have their gums bleeding accidentally. Thus, they would go around exaggerating about this and eventually contributes to someone else's fear. The mass media, such as movies, also contributes to a person's indirect fear of the dentist.

Stepping into this environment against may evoke your dental fear. It is not unusual to see people with pale faces or children revolting in tears waiting anxiously for their turn in the dental chair.

How does a dentist handle a dental-phobic?
Dentists try to gain the patient's trust to treat them by making them feel comfortable and at ease. Breaking the boundary between the patient-dentist relationship and becoming the your friend is a great way that dentists try to make you feel less anxious. It is vital for your dentist to understand your fear.

Your dentist's relationship with you should be based on trust. Knowing that your dentist is giving you the best treatment will help to reassure your nerves. Your dentist will keep reassuring you again and again to make sure that everything is going okay.

What can you do to lessen your anxiety about going to the dentist?
1. Do some research
When looking for a new dentist, take the time to find the right one for you. Visit several dental practices, speak to the staff, and you will know which one makes you feel most at east.

2. Find a friend
Your dentist is not just someone who looks after your teeth. They should also be your friend. Make sure that you feel comfortable around them. Having an informal chat about where you are going on your holiday will make you feel more relaxed.

3. Seek recommendations
When on the hunt for a new dentist, always ask friends, family and work colleagues about a dentist they visit and can recommend. Word of mouth is a great way to find a reliable and experienced dentist.

4. Take a buddy
Take a friend with you to your appointment. The dentist should not mind if they accompany you throughout the check-up or treatment. Knowing that they are there to support you will help you feel more at ease.

5. Signs
You and your dentist should agree on a dentist to signal that you need a break and want them to stop when you are having your treatment. It can be as simple as pointing your finger. This will help you feel more in control.

6. Music
Take a personal stereo or ask the dentist if you can listen to music from your phone during your visit to help you relax. If you are nervous about the sounds of all the instruments in the dental office, check out this website that tells you what sounds each instrument makes! 

7. Communicate
When you visit the dentist, be sure to tell them that you are anxious about your appointment. A good dentist will do everything they can to help you feel at ease and relaxed.

8. Visualize
When in the dentist's chair, try to relax by closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a relaxing environment. This could be at home on the sofa or at your favorite holiday location. This can help remove you from the environment of the dentist, ultimately removing the negative feelings you are experiencing, and helping you feel more at ease.

9. Take a break
When at the dentist, discuss how long treatment will take and ask if it would be possible to have a break half-way through. This will break up the time of the treatment, making it more manageable for you.

10. Build Your Confidence
If you do not feel confident enough to have a full dental treatment, visit your dentist for a general check-up to start off with. This will be short and straight forward and should help you feel more at ease about visiting the dentist again. For your next visit, book a hygienist treatment, which is a straight forward cleaning. Taking baby steps will build your confidence about visiting the dentist.

Why should you try your best to overcome dental anxiety?
Some people are unwilling to pay the price for a beautiful smile because of this problem they have. But you would not want to forgo the excitement of having great food with friends, right? Take baby steps towards the dental clinic and other will help you overcome your phobia. Only you can start making the change for yourself!



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Black's Classification of Cavities

Class 1
Decay is diagnosed in the pits and fissures of the occlusal surfaces of molars and premolars, the buccal or lingual pits of molars, and the lingual pits of maxillary incisors. 
Restore: Amalgam or composite resins are the restorative material of choice. Selection will depend primarily on where the lesion is and what type of strength is required for the material.

Class 2
Decay is diagnosed in the proximal (mesial or distal) surfaces of premolars and molars. Because this surface area is more difficult to detect visually, a radiograph is also used to locate decay. The design of the preparation/restoration will include the occlusal surface and will involve proximal surfaces. 
Restore: The type of dental material used to restore this classification is silver amalgam (chosen for its strength) or newer composite (tooth-colored) resins designed for posterior teeth (chosen for esthetic appeal). If the tooth has extensive decay, the dentist may choose to restore the tooth with a gold or porcelain inlay, onlay, or crown.

Class 3
Decay is diagnosed in the proximal (mesial or distal) surfaces of incisors and canines. This decay is similar to class 2, except that it involves anterior teeth. It is easier for the dentist to access these surfaces with less tooth structure affected. 
Restore: The type of dental material used to restore this classification consists of composite (tooth-colored) resins (for esthetic appearance).

Class 4
Decay is diagnosed in the proximal (mesial or distal) surfaces of incisors and canines. The difference between class 4 and class 3 decay is that class 4 involves the incisal edge or angle of the tooth. 
Restore: The type of dental material used to restore this classification is composite (tooth-colored) resins (for esthetic appearance). If the tooth has extensive decay, the dentist may choose to restore the tooth with a porcelain crown.

Class 5
Decay is diagnosed in the gingival third of the facial or lingual surface of any tooth. This is also referred to as smooth-surface decay. 
Restore: The type of dental material used to restore this classification depends on which teeth are affected. If decay occurs in posterior teeth, the dentist may choose silver amalgam; if anterior teeth are involved, composite (tooth-colored) resin will most likely be used.

Class 6
Decay is diagnosed on the incisal edges of the anterior teeth and the cusp tips of the posterior teeth. Class 4 decay is caused by abrasion (wear) and defects. 
Restore: The dental material is chosen on the basis of which teeth are involved.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Why Do We Have Morning Breath?

Why Do We Have Morning Breath?

How to treat bad breath:

- Floss: Click here for our blog post on how to properly floss your teeth. Brushing alone will not remove the food particles that can become stuck between your teeth and gums. It is just as important as brushing. Click here for our blog post on common flossing mistakes.

- Rinse: Mouthwash will get rid of the odor, but only temporarily. When you are buying mouthwash to kill the germs that can cause bad breath, look for one that has a seal of approval from the American Dental Association.
  • A quick swish will not do it. If the direction say rinse for 30 seconds, then you must. The mouth rinse has to be in there long enough to kill the bacteria. You are not going to get the full effect if you rinse for 5 to 10 seconds 

Friday, September 5, 2014

At-Home Tooth Whitening Options

Do you have yellow teeth? Do you want your teeth to be whiter? Are you overwhelmed with the selection of whitening products out there?

Selecting one of the many different tooth-whitening systems available today can be very confusing. There are whitening toothpastes, whitening gums, nonprescription whitening kits to be used with trays, whitening strips, whitening gels, professional mouthguard-like tray whitening systems, and professional in-office whitening procedures (with and without light activation). To simplify all of these, we have narrowed the field to three very different and practical options - Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips, custom-made tray home whitening systems, and over-the-counter gels. All have advantages and disadvantages and all have the potential to whiten your teeth. The following discussion should give you a fair overview of each type and help you to make an informed decision about which system is right for you.

At-Home Mouthguard Tray 
At-home mouthguard tray tooth whitening has been around the longest. It is most appropriate for those 18 years of age and older. Impressions are made of your teeth (both upper and lower), stone models are made from the impressions, and a mouthguard is molded that exactly matches your teeth. The whitening solution is supplied to you in syringe containers. You will dispense a slight amount into the mouthguard tray at each tooth and place the tray over your teeth. Only a small amount of whitening material is needed. The trays are worn for about one hour daily. A color change can be noticed in 3 to 5 days, but the complete process can take 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the original color of your teeth.

teeth-whiteningThe teeth will stay white for 12 to 24 months and you can keep the new color longer by "touching up" with a one- or two-day application of bleach once a year. The ideal time to touch up is after having your teeth professionally cleaned. We have touch-up tubes of bleach available for purchasing. This process does not harm the teeth in any way. The disadvantage to this technique is cost. The total cost of the impressions, models, custom mouthguard trays, and the initial supply of bleach is $100-$400.
Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips
Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips are a new whitening option. Clear strips containing the whitening solution are placed over the upper and lower teeth twice a day for 30 minutes a day, for 21 days. The professional kit also contains a toothbrush and whitening toothpaste. The professional version is 42% more effective than the over-the-counter Whitestrips. The Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips is quite affordable at $50 a kit. The disadvantages are that he strips are not custom-made so that they do not cover as many teeth or fit as well or as comfortably as the tray system. The strips work best for teeth in good straight alignment. They may need to be rewhitened at 6-month intervals according to the manufacturer; we have found the whitening to last satisfactorily for a longer time.

Over-The-Counter Gels
New over-the-counter gels are available that can be painted onto the tooth surface. Colgate Simply White, Crest Night Effects, and Go Smile ampules are a few of the products currently available. These clear gel formulas are applied to the teeth twice a day for 2 weeks. The gels will effectively work to whiten your teeth until it is washed away by your saliva. Because there is no way to determine and compare the salivary flow of patients, we cannot determine how effective the brush-on gel will work for you. This method is ideal for teenagers to young adults who may desire only a slight change in color. These over-the-counter gels are the least costly of all the methods but will also produce the least dramatic whitening results.

Any of the described systems can work. The degree of color change will depend on the original color of your teeth and how faithful you are to adhering to the treatment process. The custom trays are the most reliable of the methods, with the color change lasting a long time, but they are the most expensive of the three methods. The Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips can also produce results, but the color change may not last as long and may require more frequent touch ups, but they are inexpensive.