It’s no joke that some people are afraid of going to the dentist. There’s even a word for this fear: dentophobia. It can prevent you from getting preventive care, diagnostic tests, or restorative treatments, all of which are vital in maintaining good oral health. If you suffer from dentophobia, what can you do so that you’re able to visit your general dentist?
The first step is educating yourself about the process. Fear of the unknown may be what’s stopping you from visiting the dentist. Schedule an appointment, get a tour of the office, ask about the equipment being used, and learn about common procedures. Take the time to meet the dentist and staff so that you can obtain a comfort level with the caregivers.
If knowledge isn’t enough to ease your dental fears, ask our general dentist about medications available that will allow you to successfully get treatment without having too much anxiety. Sedation dentistry is offered by many general dentists today, which offers various levels of sedation. Nitrous oxide (or laughing gas), oral medications, or even general anesthesia are often available depending on your needs and concerns.
Many dental offices provide relaxation aids to make patients more comfortable. These may include listening to music through headphones, watching videos, lap blankets to increase comfort, and more. You might also want to invite a friend or family member along as a source of support throughout your appointment. Consider rewarding yourself after a successful appointment by going to lunch afterwards or treating yourself to a favorite item like ice cream or a pedicure.
If your dentophobia still isn’t controlled with these techniques, a professional psychologist may be able to suggest breathing techniques or other relaxation methods to help. Sometimes identifying the root of your fears can help you overcome them as well. The main thing is to figure out a way to be able to visit your general dentist and get the care you need for a healthier smile.
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A variety of factors can cause your teeth to become dark and dingy. Smoking or chewing tobacco, drinking wine, coffee or tea, eating pigment intense foods, too much fluoride, or trauma to the tooth can all cause your teeth to discolor and lose their shine. The good news is cosmetic dentistry offers several options to return your teeth to their natural whiteness:
- Professional teeth whitening can be completed in as little as one office visit and can lighten your teeth as much as ten shades. This type of whitening mainly treats surface stains and can last several years with careful maintenance.
- Dental veneers are a better option for teeth with internal stains that are resistant to professional whitening. The placement of veneers involves roughing up the surface of the tooth and then applying an extremely thin porcelain or composite veneer that bonds to the surface of the tooth. With care, dental veneers can last as long as ten years.
- For individual teeth that have changed color due to damage or trauma, composite bonding is an excellent option. This procedure involves the use of a tooth-colored bonding material to cover the surface of the tooth and match it to the color of the surrounding teeth.
If you suffer from a dark or discolored smile and want to restore it to bright and white, cosmetic dentistry may be the answer to your concerns. Schedule a consultation with a qualified cosmetic dentist to find out which treatments would best suit your needs and allow you to once again face the world with a beautiful, white smile.
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Most dental professionals recommend having third molars, or wisdom teeth, removed in early adulthood, preferably before they are fully formed and rooted into the jaw. Generally, this means having wisdom teeth extracted between the ages of 17 and 25. Waiting until you are older to have wisdom teeth removed can have considerable risks and complications.
Wisdom teeth that are not removed create the following risks:
- Impaction caused by wisdom teeth that do not have sufficient room to grow, causing pain and potential disease and damage to adjacent teeth.
- Tooth decay from wisdom teeth that are difficult to keep clean.
- Infection caused by bacteria that is harbored in the wisdom tooth eruption site.
- Growth of tumors and cysts caused by severely impacted wisdom teeth.
For patients who need to have wisdom teeth removed later in life, complications can include:
- More complicated removal surgery to eliminate deeply rooted or impacted wisdom teeth that results in longer surgery recovery time.
- Roots that have grown close to the nerve that affects the feeling in the lower lip might be injured in surgery, causing permanent nerve damage.
If you or your young adult have emerging wisdom teeth, schedule a consultation with your dentist to determine if and when they should be removed. While some patients will not need to have their third molars extracted, in most cases, having wisdom teeth removed as they are erupting can help to avoid a host of future problems. When wisdom tooth extraction is performed early, recovery time and risk of complications are drastically reduced for most patients.
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Whether you are a teenager or an adult, you may have pain associated with your wisdom teeth. In a perfect situation, these back molars erupt last and fit right into your mouth without problems. Many people are not so lucky, however. It is common for these teeth to attempt to come in, but have nowhere to grow in the space where your other teeth are already established. This can result in a very painful toothache.
The first step you should take is visiting your dentist, where x-rays will be taken to see exactly what is happening in your mouth. The x-rays will be examined to determine the angle the teeth are growing, how much room is available for them to develop, and if there is any infection present. Depending upon the examination results, surgery may be necessary to remove your wisdom teeth.
Your dentist will look for signs that indicate your wisdom teeth need to be removed. The main indications for tooth removal include:
- A tooth embedded in your gums
- A tooth that is only partially erupted
- The presence of a cyst around the tooth
- A tooth growing in an awkward angle
If your dentist recommends removal, it is usually suggested to have it done as soon as possible to avoid further problems and continued pain. Sometimes it is necessary to remove only a single tooth, and in other cases multiple teeth may need to go. The complexity of the removal depends on whether the teeth are embedded, the angle of growth, and other issues. Your dentist will advise you on the safest and most effective plan for taking care of your wisdom teeth and getting rid of the pain.
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Does your child need braces, but isn’t sure about being a “metal mouth” for two or more years? Did your teen come to you and beg for some other option to traditional braces? Perhaps you’ve heard about Invisalign aligners but are wondering if they’ll work for your child. Invisalign is absolutely appropriate for your teen if all of his or her baby teeth have fallen out and adult teeth have erupted.
Invisalign provides the same results as traditional metal braces, but without the metal brackets. Concerns over eating with braces are removed with the Invisalign trays, as they come out for meals, leaving your teen free to eat any food he or she desires.
Invisalign utilizes clear plastic trays that allow the process of straightening your teen’s teeth to be less obvious and less obtrusive. Beginning with x-rays and molds, your orthodontist will make a series of trays, called aligners. These trays are worn most of the day, taken out only to eat or to be cleaned. The process of straightening happens gradually and comfortably.
It is essential during this time that the trays are worn as recommended by the orthodontist. Wearing them less than the recommended amount of time will result in slower correction, and has the potential to lengthen treatment. Have your teen continue with any established good oral hygiene habits. Brushing and flossing must continue on a regular basis, brushing twice a day at minimum and flossing before bedtime.
Being a teenager is full of difficulties, and it is during this time that teens are at their most self-conscious. Adding metal braces to this transition can make everything worse for your child, leaving him or her self-conscious about eating with friends or smiling, talking or laughing in public. Your teen’s gapped, misaligned or crowded teeth can be improved significantly with Invisalign trays. Talk to your orthodontist today to see how Invisalign can make a difference for your child.
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Proper dental care is vitally important for every member of your family. Children should begin visiting a dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts, which in most cases is by their first birthday. Your family dentist is trained to take care of both adult and pediatric dental needs. An experienced family dentist can offer a wide array of dental care services to the children in your family.
A family dentist can perform routine pediatric oral exams and twice yearly professional cleanings, as well as other preventative care such as treatment with fluoride and protective sealants. In the unfortunate case your child should suffer trauma to a tooth, your family dentist is available to treat a loose, broken, or knocked-out tooth. Your dentist can diagnose and treat gum disease, tooth decay and cavities as well as identify and treat misaligned or crooked teeth and jaw or bite problems.
Your family dental practice may also offer a variety of kid-friendly amenities to make visits to the dentist less stressful. Game rooms, televisions with kid videos, and treasure box treats are just a few of the things that might be available to help your child feel at ease.
As your child ages, there will be no need to switch dentists because your family dentist can treat your child from infancy to adulthood. Having the same dentist for your entire family makes life easier when it comes time to schedule routine examinations. Often you can schedule several family members at the same time. Your family dentist will be familiar with your entire family’s dental history, which is a major benefit of taking everyone to the same dentist.
When the time comes to choose a dentist for your children, you can feel confident your family dentist will provide a lifetime of excellent dental care.
We look forward to seeing you in our Toronto dental office