Category: General Dentistry

Dental Anxiety? Have no fear!

dental anxiety

 

We’ve told you about Bruxism (teeth-grinding) and the broader effects of TMJ, but there’s another type of anxiety that can have unwanted impacts on your mouth. Dental fear or phobia is a very real condition. Between 10 to 15 percent of Americans experience some level of dental anxiety, according to an article on Colgate.com. In another study, one-third of adults who didn’t regularly see a dentist were skipping due to fear.

Fear is usually an irrational reaction that can be managed. But in the case of dental anxiety the consequences can be serious. Even those who brush and floss regularly may miss the early formation of cavities, which can lead to root canals if left untreated. Many of the periodontal diseases we’ve told you about have early warning signs that only our trained dentists and hygienists can spot. While they can be serious, these conditions are often easily prevented – but only if you know you have one (or more!) of them.

Signs of Stress

Recognizing that you have dental anxiety is fairly simple. Answering the following questions can help identify an unwarranted fear.

Do you:

  •   Feel uneasy, nervous, or sick to your stomach before your appointment?
  •   Have trouble sleeping the night before?
  •   Feel embarrassed to have someone looking closely at your teeth?
  •   Worry what problems your dentist might discover?
  •   Avoid seeing a dentist, maybe even for years between visits?

 

We Can Help

All of these situations are common for people who have some degree of dental anxiety. The first step is to talk to us about it. Whether on the phone, through a secure web message, or even in-person, we will do whatever it takes to make you confortable before you set an appointment. We have a variety of options for managing your fear, up to and including nitrous oxide and/or a mild sedative.

At Meyer & Johns Dental, we believe that your oral health is too important to ignore – whatever the reason. Connect with us today to start down the path of easing your dental anxiety, and getting back on track to a healthy mouth!

Dental Sealants

sealants
Like weatherproofing, dental sealants lock out harmful substances.

 

We know that we go on and on about tooth care… it’s kind of in our job description. But what if your kids’ brushing routines are on point, and they’re still getting cavities — even sometimes multiples during a single checkup? If you have taken the right dietary steps, and are 100% confident that they’re brushing properly and often, your kids’ cavities might not be entirely their fault.

Just like faces and bodies and personalities, each set of teeth is unique to its owner. We all have common tooth features, but sometimes the natural contours on teeth can cause problems. In some children and adults, the pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of back teeth are especially deep or irregularly shaped. Food, plaque, and other cavity-causing substances gather in these nooks and crannies, thwarting even the most diligent brushing attempts.

Sealants to the Rescue

The good news is that there’s an option other than simply filling in the cavities as they occur. Around since the 1960’s, dental sealants have gained popularity in recent years for adding a protective layer to teeth and preventing decay. The treatment is simple, painless and performed in our offices. It consists of painting a thin plastic coating on chewing surfaces of the molars and pre-molars. The sealant is then hardened with ultraviolet light, much like modern fillings. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, sealants are recommended for children between the ages of 6 -12, and the treatment can remain effective for up to 10 years. Even small cavities that existed before treatment will not spread, since the sealant cuts off the source of decay.

Debunking BPA Concerns

In recent years dental sealants have come into question for containing Bisphenol A (BPA). It is widely used in consumer packaging, as well as plastic water bottles, canned foods, pacifiers, cash register tape, and many other products. BPA is present in most U.S. residents, its effects on overall health have yet to be conclusively determined. And while dental sealants do contain traces of BPA, the levels are far lower than other common areas of exposure. In fact, according to the ADA, exposure from breathing normal everyday air is 100 times higher than standard dental sealants.

Even more good news – if Drs. Meyer or Johns determine it would reduce cavities, dental insurance is likely to cover the treatment cost. Along with a fluoride-based toothpaste and good brushing habits, sealants provide a One-Two punch that prevents nearly all tooth decay.

If you have a question about sealants for your child, ask us at their next appointment.

6 Scary Mouth Facts

October isn’t just Dental Hygiene Month, it’s also Halloween! In honor of the most frightening 31 days of the year, we’ve assembled a collection of six scary mouth facts. Read on at your own risk…

#1.  Mouth + Nose + Eyes + Ears = Connected

Yep, they’re all attached. Tear ducts feed into the sinus/nasal cavity, which shares space with the oral cavity and is also connected by the ocular nerve channel to your ears. That’s why tears make your nose run, why your sense of smell is so important to tasting things, and why your ears pop if you blow your nose too hard.

#2.  Saliva is actually a form of filtered blood.

Specialized cells in our saliva glands are responsible for absorbing some elements of the blood. Other plasma components are filtered and combined with secretions from the mucous glands in the mouth. The result helps us digest food, keep teeth clean, and ensure our talking, swallowing, and breathing mechanisms are all well-lubricated.

#3.  Oh, that dirty mouth! bacteria mouth

So, we know that our mouths are a hotbed of bacteria — both good and bad. However, most of the hundreds of strains that live in our mouth are inert – they don’t really do anything. Meanwhile, the good bacteria help protect us against bad bacteria, plus many environmental elements that invade our mouths through air, food, or beverage. But even some good bacteria can have bad effects elsewhere in the body if introduced into respiratory tracts (aspiration pneumonia) or under the skin (as in a bite!).

#4.  Not brushing could lead to a brain abscess.

No joke – teeth that aren’t cared for can form an abscess, a bacterial infection often caused by untreated cavities or tooth injuries. If left untreated, that infection can spread from mouth to the jaw, neck, or even your brain. Sepsis and bacterial meningitis are also potential complications of untreated tooth abscess.

#5.  Soda does horrifying things to your teeth.

It coats, it soaks, it accelerates decay. In fact, people who drink three or more daily glasses of soda each day have over 60% more tooth decay, fillings, and tooth loss. This is mainly because the average soda contains between 10-12 teaspoons of sugar — that’s almost a ¼ cup!

#6.  Even more about spit…

scary mouth facts

As we’ve mentioned, our mouths produce a lot of saliva – enough each year to fill two bathtubs. But over the course of a lifetime, we will make 25,000 quarts of spit. That’s 6,250 gallons, or enough to fill the average in-ground residential swimming pool.