Managing Dental Phobia

Managing dental phobia applies to people of all ages who are afraid of the dentist. A recent study offered proof that people with dental phobia are more likely to have active tooth decay or missing teeth. They alsodental-tools-in-medical-office  sm - graphicstock BtHMtoXABi found that phobic individuals typically prefer an immediate and short-term solution to problems over a long-term care plan.

It is not surprising that many people with dental phobia are more likely to have tooth decay or missing teeth. Nor is it surprising that people with dental phobia prefer a quick fix that can be completed in a single visit to the dentist over a treatment plan that will require several visits to the dentist.

An important observation is that people with dental phobia tend to report negative feelings far more than those who are not phobic. These feelings include sadness, discouragement, general anxiety, and exhaustion. They are also typically embarrassed by the poor condition of their teeth, and thus do not smile often.

The study also recommends the potential value of dentists creating a dental care program that these patients can follow at home. This should help to reduce the occurrence of acute problems and the number of dental visits required.

There are also other approaches to dental care that many with dental phobia find helpful in managing both their fear and their dental health. Most dentists today offer a range of relaxation and sedation options for phobic patients. We also have experience in creating home management programs for phobic patients.

If you live in Salem, Virginia and you or a loved one is dental phobic, talk with your dentist about options. If you do not have a dentist, give us a call. We help people manage and overcome dental phobia every day.

[Article: The oral health of individuals with dental phobia: a multivariate analysis of the Adult Dental Health Survey ( 2009, Ellie Heidari et al., British Dental Journal, published 20 April 2017.]

Does Your Child Have a Sleep Disorder?

Do you know that children can have a sleep problem due to an airway issue? It is very important thatsleeping  child - pixabay public domain free commercial use parents look for and get treatment for these issues. If they are not addressed early, it may be impossible to correct them later. Many children, and their parents, struggle to understand why these challenges exist or what to do about them. This is typically very frustrating for your child and frightening for you.

So, how is a parent to know? Look for these challenges:

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Attention issues (ADHD)

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Learning difficulties

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Delay in beginning to speak

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Difficulty controlling impulses

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Anxiety/Depression

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Irritability

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Social withdrawal

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Disturbed sleep

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Unusual daytime fatigue

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Leg movements while sleeping

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Bedwetting

There are also some dental and physical issues often associated with airway problems:

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Deep overbite

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Mouth breathing

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Scalloped Tongue

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Tongue thrust

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Crooked teeth

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Allergies/Asthma

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Recessive chin

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Carb cravings/obesity

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Forward head posture

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Headaches

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Frequent infections

·Â Â Â Â Â Â Digestive problems

If you observe any of these issues and challenges, especially if you observe several, it would be wise to have your child evaluated for a sleep disorder. Then trust your dentist to help you to help your child. If you do not know where to get an evaluation, ask your dentist. You might be surprised how quickly your child’s symptoms will improve. 

Dental Insurance and Americans Over Age 65

According to a report released last December by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a surprising 49 million Americans on Medicare do not have dental insurance. Medicare does not include couple-in-kitchen smdental insurance benefits.

The study discovered that (for those with incomes above the poverty line) 65 percent of those with dental insurance visited a dentist during the previous year. This is in sharp contrast to the mere 27 percent of those without dental insurance.

This situation leaves millions of older Americans at risk of a plethora of health issues that result from inadequate dental care. Gum disease, tooth decay and loss of teeth are merely the tip of the iceberg; numerous physical conditions can be caused or exacerbated by poor dental care and oral health.

Clearly, the nation needs a sane, affordable, and adequate dental insurance program available to all, but especially to older Americans. Until a program of this kind becomes available, dentists can only encourage our patients to consider carefully the costs and benefits of a dental insurance policy to help them retain their teeth, their smile, and their good health.

For those who feel that they cannot justify dental insurance in their budgets, no-to-low interest options like the Care Card offer options for having dental care and paying for it over time. Like most dentists, I encourage patients to obtain some level of insurance coverage or credit option.

How Do I Know if I Have TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)?

TMJD is inflammation or pain in one or both of the joints connecting the jawbone and the skull. The symptoms and causes are often complex, and the disorder affects people differently, causing a range of symptoms.

Common Symptomsheadache - TMJ - Pixabay public domain free commercial use

Among the most commonly reported symptoms are:

  • Pain in your jaw, in your face, or around your ear. The pain may occur only when your jaw is moving. It can, however, be constant and not tied to joint movement.
  • Inability or difficulty opening your mouth completely.
  • "Clicking" or popping in your jaw.
  • Your jaw becomes "locked," which makes it difficult to open or close your mouth.
  • Headache.
  • Uncomfortable bite (often because one or more of your teeth make contact with other teeth before all of your teeth make contact.

Causes and Contributing Factors

Your dentist will be able to diagnose TMJD and to help you understand the cause of the disorder in you. Causes and contributing factors in the development of TMJD include:

  • Anything that causes pain in other joints can also contribute to the development of TMJD.
  • Wear and tear on the cartilage covering the ends of the bones in the joint.
  • Arthritis.
  • Injuries and dislocations.
  • Abnormalities in the joint, including damage to the disc that separates the two bones.
  • Dental problems, infections, or tumors.
  • Damage to teeth.
  • Missing teeth, causing mis-alignment of the upper and lower jaw.
  • Overuse of chewing muscles, due to chewing gum continually, biting fingernails or pencils, biting the cheek or lip, extending the jaw when speaking, exercising or other actions.
  • Erosion or slipping of the disc from its proper position.

If you think you might have TMJD, contact your dentist immediately. Diagnosis is usually painless. Once your dentist determines the cause of the disorder, there are several effective treatments.

The sooner you seek diagnosis and treatment, the better your dentist's opportunity to intervene in time to limit the pain and damage from the disorder.

Do I Need to Take Anything to My Dental Appointment?

This is a question we hear quite often. Most of us know what to take to a doctor’s appointment, but we are not sure if we need to take anything to a dental appointment. The answer is: Yes, there are things you need to take to your dental appointment. What should I take to my dental appointment

1. You know that some medications do not interact well with others. Take to your dental appointment a list of medications, including vitamins, herbal remedies, and over-the-counter medications. 

2. The anesthetics and medications your dentist uses might cause a bad reaction if you are allergic to the drug or if you have a medical condition. 

3. Sometimes your dentist will have questions about your medical condition and might want to discuss them with your doctor before administering anesthetics or medications. Take the names and phone numbers, as well as specialties, for all health care providers, doctors, and your last dentist. 

4. Medical emergencies can occur while you are being treated by your dentist. Take with you information about your emergency contacts, medical power of attorney, or someone who can help to make decisions on your behalf. 

5. Most dentists today expect payment at the time you are treated. Therefore, take your dental insurance or Medicaid cards to your appointment.

6. Any dentures or partials should also be taken to your appointment, even if you don’t wear them.

7. If you inclined to become anxious during dental treatment, take a video or audio that you find relaxing. 

8. If you are experiencing dental issues, bring along a list of questions and concerns. A list helps us to ensure that we address all of your questions and concerns.


Page 25 of 28