For this coming new year, we’re finding that more and more patients are putting their dental care high on the priority list. They come in for routine hygiene cleanings, specialized treatments, or even come to take care of long-term issues like gum disease or tooth loss. But there are also those who are too afraid to make the dental care commitment. Their dental anxiety is preventing them from getting the care that their teeth desperately need. At Dentistry of Nashville our team is highly skilled and experienced in the administration of sedation dentistry. These revolutionary treatments keep a patient calm and collected for their appointment, and ensure that they can have the smile that fits them.
Why Are Some Afraid Of The Dentist?
A single bad experience at the dentist office can often be the catalyst for a patient’s dental fears. However, these fears may manifest differently for everyone. Here are just a few examples of dental anxiety:
- Loss of Control: Some patients feel nervous about sitting still in a chair while the dentist performs work on their teeth.
- Needle Phobia: Needles are often used for local anesthesia and IV sedation. This could also extend into a fear of dental tools, due to their appearance.
- Embarrassment: If a patient’s teeth are in poor health, they may feel too embarrassed to seek treatment or too afraid of being reprimanded for their neglect.
- Sterile Environment: Dental offices are kept sterile for health and safety, but it’s true that it leaves a particular smell. Patients who have had a bad experience before may feel uncomfortable with the smells of a dental office.
- Sights and Sounds: In addition to smell, the sights and sounds of a dental office can also make a patient feel nervous, especially if the root cause was due to bad experience with the tools or drilling sounds of a dental office.
- Pain: Up high on the list is the primal fear of pain, and we understand how some dental visits can leave a patient feeling sore.
Thanks to sedation dentistry, you can overcome these fears and visit the dentist comfortably for the new year. Here’s how!
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is a field of dentistry that caters to the needs of these dental-anxious patients. Sedation is not something to be afraid of, but to be viewed as a tool to help patients feel more comfortable in the dental office.
Sedation Options At Dentistry Of Nashville
- Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is inhaled through the nose for the duration of the patient’s procedure. It’s a continuous stream that helps keep the patient relaxed and calm, and actually wears off fairly quickly once the mask is removed. As a result, patients can often transport themselves to and from their appointment.
- Oral Conscious Sedation: This type of sedation takes the form of a pill and is consumed at a specified time before the patient’s appointment. Once the pill takes effect, patients will feel a deep state of relaxation for the duration of their treatment. Since the wear-off time varies between patients, we recommend that you have a friend or family member transport you to and from your appointment for your safety.
- IV Sedation: Intravenous (IV) sedation is administered through an IV line in your hand or arm. It’s a combination of chemicals that put the patient in a state of “twilight sleep.” You are not rendered unconscious, but rather in a state of deep relaxation where you can still communicate with the dentist. You will also have no memory of the procedure. Due to the time it takes for the sedation to wear off, it’s also important that a friend or family member transport you to and from our office for your safety.
The Importance Of A Dental Appointment This New Year
If you’ve made your New Year’s resolutions this year, have you put dental care near the top of your list? If dental anxiety is what’s barring you from getting the treatment you need, we can’t recommend sedation dentistry enough, even if it’s just for a hygiene cleaning.
It’s so important that you instill good oral care habits, including visiting the dentist every six months. As trained caregivers, dentists intimately understand the balance of your oral health, and can detect when a minor dental issue has the potential to become much worse. The more often you visit, the more you can ensure a healthy smile for the year to come.
Dentists not only clean your teeth, but can detect warning signs of oncoming oral disease, misalignments in your teeth, or even early signs of developing oral cancer. If you think that you may be able to sense these things from home, that would actually be very difficult to perform. These warning signs can appear miniscule – a slight crack, a hint of dark color in your enamel, redness in your gums – but a good dentist knows that these signs can escalate quickly into something detrimental to your health. Through sedation dentistry, you can overcome your fears and anxiety, and get the treatments you need.
If you are due for multiple treatments, it’s possible to complete more than one during a single appointment with sedation dentistry. Talk to our dentists about what your smile needs, and we’ll work with you to craft a treatment plan that involves as few visits as possible.
With sedation dentistry, you will feel calm and relaxed for your entire appointment. With no distractions and no anxiety, our dentists can quickly and efficiently complete treatments in no time.
Let Us Know About Your Anxiety
Our team is trained to administer various methods of sedation dentistry to help our patients. Whether you’re a patient with special needs, or one with dental anxiety, we understand your plight and want to help you maintain a healthy smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming, and learn more about your sedation options.
Whether you’re spending time with loved ones or braving the crowds to finish up your holiday shopping, this joyful season is a busy time of year.
While the holidays are a great time to step back and enjoy time with friends and family, it’s not a time to slack off on your dental care! In fact, patients should pay special attention to their oral health when pies, candy, and holiday cookies are so readily available.
Fortunately, safeguarding the health of your smile during the holidays only requires a few extra steps. To explain more about this topic, Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming share the best dental tips for protecting you smile this holiday season.
Dental Tips for The Holidays
We understand that dental health is probably the last thing patients are concerned with during the holidays. However, protecting your smile from tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems is a worthwhile investment and doesn’t require more than a few extra steps.
Some of the best ways to protect you smile this holiday season include:
Sticking to Your Routine
Remember to stick to your daily oral hygiene routine. Dental professionals recommend brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Doing so will remove plaque and bacteria buildup on your teeth that can cause decay and gum inflammation.
It’s also important to remember to take your time while brushing and flossing. Efficiently brushing the teeth should take around 2 minutes. Use small circular motions and a gentle pressure to effectively remove plaque and food particles.
Flossing is another important habit you should commit to over the holidays. If you’re only brushing your teeth, you’re still missing many of the hard-to-reach areas where plaque hides away. Choose a time of day where you can take around 2 minutes to thoroughly floss your teeth. Patients should use a C-shape to effectively floss between the teeth and underneath the gum line.
Be Cautious of Seasonal Sweets
From candy canes to eggnog, there’s no shortage of sweets to enjoy around the holiday season. Despite the sweet taste of seasonal treats, they aren’t so sweet for your dental health. The high sugar content in most popular holiday sweets is detrimental to your smile.
Sugar is dangerous for your dental health because bacteria already present in your mouth will feed upon it. Bacteria metabolize sugar and expel an acid that wears away at the teeth. As this continues the outer protective layer of the tooth, known as the enamel, will erode away. Without the enamel, patients are more susceptible to tooth fractures, gum disease, and tooth loss.
Of course, we recognize that the holidays are a special time of year to treat yourself and indulge with a few sweets. Instead of avoiding sweets altogether, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage that can occur to your teeth including:
- Limit the time you eat sweets: To put it simply — the longer you expose your teeth to sugar, the more damage will occur. With this in mind, we recommend limiting the time to enjoy your sweets. Instead of snacking on sweets over a long period of time, you should pick your favorite holiday treat and finish it in one sitting.
- Rinse your mouth with water: As we mentioned before, acidity in the mouth skyrockets after eating something sugary. To combat the acidity and the potential for enamel erosion, consider rinsing your mouth out with water after enjoying sweets. Rinsing your mouth out will help to neutralize acids and wash away leftover food particles that cause problems for your dental health.
- Avoid Sticky Foods: Caramels and other sticky sweets are dangerous for your smile because they can easily get stuck in your teeth. The sugary coating left behind by sweets leave your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. Instead, opt for treats that dissolve right away and spare your teeth the damage.
Avoid Using Your Teeth As A Tool
Your teeth can handle an extraordinary amount of pressure and are designed to withstand daily wear-and-tear from biting and chewing. However, they are not the ideal tool for other tasks like opening packages or ripping tape.
Using your teeth for these tasks can cause chips or cracks. After enough time, this can wear away at your teeth, cause tooth sensitivity, or even cause malocclusion. To avoid this, we recommend using the appropriate tools instead of using your teeth.
Contact Dentistry Of Nashville
From all of us here at Dentistry of Nashville, we wish you a wonderful holiday season. If for any reason you need dental services, don’t hesitate to contact our office! We offer a range of services including family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and restorative dentistry.
Additionally, if you’re interested in getting a head start on your dental health in 2017, schedule your next appointment with Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming. Contact our office at (615) 383-3690 to schedule your appointment today!
At the Dentistry of Nashville, we love helping people overcome their oral health problems. But beyond that, we also want to help our patients avoid these problems altogether. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of New Year’s resolutions for those who want their smiles to shine brighter than ever before in 2017.
10 Oral Health Resolutions
Some may say, “I’ve tried creating New Year’s resolutions in the past, but they never seem to stick.” Don’t worry, you don’t need to commit to doing all of the below tips—at least not right away. In fact, you might be doing some of them already! However, the more resolutions you do follow, the healthier your mouth will be. What’s more, if you can get these habits to stick, you’ll be on your way to securing oral health for years to come.
1. Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day For Two Minutes
Chances are that you brush your teeth in the morning and evening already. This is great, but let’s go further. How long do you spend brushing your teeth each time?
The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that people should brush their teeth for two minutes or more for proper oral care. However, they also share that Americans only spend an average of one minute and 52 seconds brushing their teeth—eight seconds short of the recommended time.
We want to encourage our patients to spend more time brushing their teeth every day. If necessary, use a stopwatch or phone timer to get used to two-minute brushing times.
Of course, it’s not just how long you brush, but how you brush as well. Don’t brush with aggressive, straight strokes that can damage tooth enamel and miss hard-to-reach areas. Instead, use gentle, circular motions that touch every part of your teeth for more effective brushing.
2. Don’t Forget To Brush Your Tongue Carefully
Did you know that the tongue actually holds the largest amount of bacteria in your mouth? This is a leading contributor to bad breath—but remembering to brush your tongue can keep this in check.
We recommend brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth. You can do this with regular toothbrush bristles or the tongue cleaner found on the backs of many newer toothbrushes. Whatever you use, be sure to reach from the back of your tongue to the front and from side-to-side as well. Apply gentle pressure and rinse with water after you’re done.
Don’t be surprised if your breath smells fresher after making a habit of tongue-brushing. Your mouth will love you for it, and so will your loved ones!
3. Use Softer Toothbrushes
One 2014 research study found that hard toothbrushes can actually lead to enamel and gum erosion. This shows that it’s not just about how you brush, but what you brush with.
When you brush your teeth, you want to eliminate tooth decay, not accelerate it. Because of this, use softer toothbrushes for your everyday oral care.
Try not to brush too aggressively as well. It’s better to be gentle and thorough when brushing rather than aggressive and sloppy. This is the best way to preserve your teeth and gums for a lifetime.
4. Wait 30 Minutes To Brush After Acidic Foods
Does it really matter if you brush your teeth before or after you eat? For one thing, brushing after you eat can get rid of enamel-eating bacteria that starts forming after your meal. This is a great plus with one exception.
If you eat citrus fruits like oranges or drink acidic juices, your enamel can weaken temporarily. And if your enamel is weakened, brushing too soon can actually harm your teeth if you’re not careful. That’s why waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing is best.
5. Floss Daily To Supplement Tooth Brushing
Some people see tooth brushing as the ultimate oral care habit, and flossing as just an optional task. However, if you’re not flossing once a day, your oral health will suffer greatly.
Flossing benefits your teeth because it removes bacteria and food particles that your toothbrush can’t reach. It also provides healthy stimulation for both teeth and gums. Just be sure to floss close to the tooth with care to make sure your gums are merely stimulated and not damaged.
Does it matter whether you floss before or after brushing? It actually doesn’t matter as long as you do it!
6. Eat Less Sugary And Starchy Foods
Constantly eating foods with lots of sugar and starch can lead to rapid tooth decay. This is because bacteria use these ingredients to produce enamel-eating acids.
Candy, cookies, soda, and juices are among the biggest contributors to tooth decay. We’re not saying that you need to completely eliminate them from your diet. All the same, limiting your intake will help your oral health in the long run.
One final note: don’t forget to floss and brush carefully after eating sugary or starchy foods! It usually takes 24 hours for plaque to form in your mouth, and this process can be accelerated depending on the kind of foods and drinks you consume.
7. Avoid Too Much Alcohol And Coffee
There are a few reasons why too much alcohol can harm your teeth. Firstly, alcoholic beverages often contain heavy amounts of sugar. Moreover, alcohol can also make a person dehydrated. This leads to lack of saliva, which in turn leads to more enamel-damaging bacteria and tooth decay.
Beware the staining effects of alcoholic drinks as well. Red wine is infamous for this.
Speaking of teeth staining, both coffee and even tea can leave stains on the surface of your enamel. This is another reason to brush thoroughly, and rinsing your mouth out with water after drinking can also help. Whatever you do, limiting your consumption of both alcohol and coffee in 2017 can go a long way toward keeping your teeth white and your smile bright!
8. Drink Plenty Of Water Each Day
The American Dental Association says that “sipping water is also one of the best things you can do for your teeth.” When you drink enough water, bacteria get washed away, and saliva is produced at a healthy rate and volume. Of course, water won’t stain your teeth either.
If you’ve ever wondered how much water you should drink each day, here’s a good rule of thumb: take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2. The result is roughly the amount of water you should drink in ounces daily. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water a day!
9. Leave Tobacco Use Behind
Many dental experts have discussed the negative effects of smoking and other kinds of tobacco use upon teeth. These include the following consequences:
- Permanently stained teeth
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- A decreased sense of taste
- Greater risk of tooth loss
- Greater risk of gum disease
- Greater risk of oral cancer
Regarding the last point, the Mouth Cancer Foundation reports that 90% of all people with oral cancer use tobacco in some form.
At the Dentistry of Nashville, we encourage our patients to move away from tobacco use in 2017 for the sake of their oral and general health.
10. See A Good Dentist Regularly
We encourage our patients to heed the 2-2-2 Rule. This states that you should visit the dentist twice a year and brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes or more. This brings us full circle to our first resolution! Unfortunately, some people don’t regularly visit the dentist for cleanings and checkups. This makes it easier for cavities and other problems to spring up full-blown and unnoticed.
However, what if you do notice a problem with your teeth in 2017? Don’t ignore it and risk the dental issue getting worse. If you contact us at the Dentistry of Nashville, we’ll be happy to see you for both regular checkups and dental emergencies.
Ring In The New Year With Better Oral Health
How many of the above tips do you already follow? Even today, we encourage you to incorporate new oral health habits into your daily routine for the new year. Whether it’s spending more time brushing your teeth twice a day, spending less time with sugary foods and drinks, or scheduling more annual checkups with your dentist, setting these resolutions for yourself can lead to a brighter smile and healthier mouth in 2017.
Of course, sometimes you can still run into oral care difficulties even when you do your best. Accidents happen, and dental check-up surprises can throw us for a loop. Just know that the Dentistry of Nashville is here to stand with you through the new year to make sure your teeth stay healthy no matter what comes your way.
To all our patients near and far—have a great 2017 ahead, and keep on smiling! We look forward to seeing you in our office soon!
Consistently ranked one of the best dentists in Mexico, no one is more dedicated to creating, improving and preserving your smile than Dr. Brian McKay. With more than 20 years experience, he and his staff are the ones to turn to for cosmetic dental procedures.
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