Jon Frankel Dentistry

Category Archive: Dental Anxiety

  1. Sensitive teeth are one of the most unpleasant things in life. Eating, drinking, talking, and even breathing in cool air all become painful experiences when you have sensitive teeth. If you are all too familiar with the sharp twinge of a sensitive tooth, know that you are not alone and we have many solutions to treat your symptoms and bring you relief!

     

    If you experience tooth pain during or after:

    • Drinking cold liquids
    • Eating either hot or cold foods
    • Breathing in cold air.

    If the pain becomes more than you can comfortably live with, you should immediately schedule a visit to Dr. Frankel, as the nerve of your tooth might be exposed and ignoring the symptoms could cause many additional problems.

     

    Why are my teeth sensitive?

     

    Your gums protect the complex inner structures of your teeth, including the roots and the nerve. If for any reason your gums begin to pull away from your teeth, you’ve lost your protective shield and you experience direct pain from outside factors such as temperature fluctuations. It’s similar to forgetting to use a hot pad to get something out of the oven, and burning your hand. When the gums begin to recede and pull away, the roots lose their protection, and therefore you will feel greater sensitivity in those areas.

     

    The roots contain small tubules that lead directly to the nerves of the teeth.  Whenever pressure, heat, or cold elements travel down exposed tubules, the nerves will trigger a feeling of intense pain.  Patients who never complain of sensitivity are the ones whose gums are still firmly in place, performing their intended function.

     

    Solutions for sensitive teeth

     

    There are many solutions to avoid and provide relief for the painful symptoms of sensitive teeth.

     

    1. Keep gums healthy by brushing 2x per day and flossing 1x per day. Don’t forget the importance of professional cleanings either! You can also monitor the pressure you use when brushing your teeth. Many people think that brushing with force is best. While this will certainly clean your teeth, it will cause painful abrasions to your gums. A very effective way of limiting the amount of force applied while brushing is through the use of an electric toothbrush such as the Sonicare Advanced.
    2. Use special toothpaste to provide relief to sensitive gums. Several toothpastes available contain potassium nitrate, a chemical which helps reduce the pain and discomfort associated with sensitivity. There are several toothpastes to choose from, Sensodyne being one brand highly recommended by dentists.
    3. Use mouthwash containing fluoride to help reduce the symptoms of sensitive teeth.

     

    If you start using toothpaste such as Sensodyne and fluoride mouthwash, you’ll notice a big improvement in your teeth and gums.  The sensitivity will begin to go away, giving you almost immediate relief.

     

    Of course, if you find that using Sensodyne and fluoride mouthwash still doesn’t help, you should check with Dr. Frankel about other options available to you.  Dental professionals know how to eliminate your sensitivity once and for all, and how to prevent it from coming back.  Tooth sensitivity is something that many of us have to deal with – but now you know there are ways that you can fight back and prevent the pain and discomfort.

  2. You know that it is recommended that you visit the dentist twice a year. But, maybe life has made you busy and you have neglected your dental appointments. Or maybe, you don’t have dental insurance and cannot justify spending the money on your teeth- besides, they don’t hurt! Whatever the reason for not visiting the dentist, years have gone by and deep in your brain, a little voice begins telling you, “Go to the dentist.”

    There is one problem, however. You are embarrassed. Why? Well, because you know you haven’t been taking care of your teeth properly. You don’t brush for two minutes twice a day. You don’t floss nearly as much as you should. And you know that the second you open your mouth, your dentist is going to notice everything that you have been neglecting (even if you floss and brush like crazy a week before your appointment). Knowing this, you cancel your appointment. No one wants to be embarrassed!

    You are not alone. In a recent study, 47% of the people surveyed said that embarrassment has caused their dental phobia because people don’t want to admit their failure, especially of something that they do have control over. In fact, of these people, many of them state that the embarrassment of their teeth has affected their self-esteem to the point that they don’t want their teeth looked at by an expert or their friends and family, causing them to hide their teeth in every day situations.

    The dentist’s office is an uncomfortable intimate setting, where either the dentist or the hygienist has to invade your personal space and enter your mouth. Now add in the feeling of knowing that your teeth are probably a wreck, and all you want to do is run and hide.

    The thing to remember about this problem is that your dentist sees many people just like you on a daily basis. His job is not to judge you, but instead to recommend ways to help you get your mouth healthy and your smile beautiful. This concept is often hard to digest. However, with guidance from your dentist and his staff, your teeth can too be healthy and something that you can be proud of.

    Getting over your embarrassment is the first step toward making your smile healthy, which will eventually lead to you being more comfortable with your dentist, ultimately trusting the knowledge be or she is giving you.

    Additionally, it is important to remember that through being embarrassed we learn many important life lessons. In this example, you will probably be more aware of the health of your smile. Once it is healthy, you will be more likely to want to continue to take good care of it. Through extra TLC and a healthy smile, you will see your confidence rise. It is funny how something as simple as a smile can have so many psychological implications on one’s overall health!

  3. Last week we began a series on dental anxiety. Our first blog dealt with how the media’s stereotype of the dentist has contributed to the phobia many people have regarding the dentist. To read that blog post, click here.

    This week we are examining a different cause: Parents. That’s right, the people who teach us from our birth. Many studies have concluded that when a parent is “afraid” of the dentist, this fear is often passed on to their children. Remember that children are very impressionable and will imitate the behaviors of their parents. Therefore, it is important that children can pick up on the most subtle anxious feeling and associate this feeling with the dentist even before they have their first appointment.

    So, how can we combat this problem?

    There are a few tips and tricks parents can be aware of in order to break the cycle of dental anxiety being passed on to future generations.

    First, practice your poker face. Control your fear and nervousness about the dentist. More specifically, when discussing the dentist or dental treatment, pay attention to your facial expressions and the language you use. If you frown or use negative language, a child will still associate a dental appointment with fear and anxiety.

    Secondly, before your child has his or first dental appointment, bring him or her to your appointment. While at your appointment, work on conveying this experience in a positive light. That way, you are setting a good example for your child and allowing him or her to see that the dentist’s office is not a horrible or frightening place.

    Thirdly, educate your children. Teach your children that with proper hygiene, major, “scary” dental work can be avoided. Additionally, there are many great children’s books and short videos on such outlets as youtube that put dental visits in a good, positive light. Having your child learn about what to expect while at the dentist and the importance of brushing, flossing, and routine dental exams through these mediums will help your children eliminate their fear.

    Lastly, research your dentist. Make sure that your dentist is the right fit for you and your children. Many times one way to control dental anxiety is to be sure that the dentist has the right environment and meets all your needs. By building trust, you will feel more relaxed and confident about the treatment you and your children receive.

    By following this simple advice, your children will feel more relaxed when visiting the dentist. Additionally, they will be more willing to be more proactive with their dental health. With these messages, dental anxiety may be eliminated for future generations.

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