If the buzzing sound of a dental drill or the latex smell of the office gives you familiar chills, rather than making a dental appointment, you’re not alone. Millions of people avoid getting necessary treatment because they fear going to the dentist. Although there may be many reasons for your anxiety, however, modern dentistry and those trained to help dental-phobic patients can make facing your fears less frightening than you think.
Cause of the Fear
Someone with an intense fear of the dentist is usually reacting to memories of a past unpleasant experience, whether it’s the result of a painful incident or similarly upsetting life event. Those who experience mild anxiety before a dental appointment, on the other hand, may just be nervous about a procedure they have yet to experience. Still others equate a dental visit with pain because their last experience wasn’t as pleasant as today’s pain-free dentistry allows.
Fear of needles or a sensitive gag reflex can also cause people to avoid going to the dentist, as can the embarrassment of someone seeing the condition of their teeth if they haven’t been treated in a while. Feelings of helplessness or loss of control when in the dental chair can create phobias as well. They can even come out of flippant or insensitive remarks by a dentist or another staff member. Keep in mind the apprehension of going to the dentist can also be learned and passed down from parent to child.
Facing Your Fear
If you haven’t been to a dentist for over a year because of a deep-seated fear, your teeth and gums may be paying the price. The good news is Dr. Jaleel understand these fears and has plenty of experience making dental appointments more comfortable for their patients. Whether you suffer paralyzing fear of the dentist or experience just a little apprehension, here are a few suggestions that can help make your next dental visit a positive experience
1. Ask friends and family.
If you don’t already have a dentist, ask people you trust about their own dentist and if they are happy with their provider. Word of mouth is a great way to find a good dentist.
2. Search for a dentist online.
Many dental offices have web sites where you can learn about their practices, the type of services they offer, meet the staff and learn what values and goals the practice wants to achieve with patients. If you have found a few dental practices that look promising, ask friends and neighbors if they are patients or if they know anything about them. We welcome you to come in for a visit and speak to the members of our team.
3. Talk about your feelings.
Another important point to remember is to communicate with Dr. Jaleel and the staff. Don’t be shy! You are not the first patient who ever felt nervous or anxious. Convey your concerns and fears before a procedure or if you experience any discomfort during your visit. It is very important to have clear and open communication with your dental professional. Talking will make your dental experience more relaxed and pleasant.
4. Ask questions.
Ask our dental team to inform you about the type of dental treatment they recommend based upon your unique oral health needs. Once a treatment plan has been developed, ask your dentist to explain the procedures in detail. Knowing what to expect before it happens can help put your mind at ease.
If you are uptight or nervous prior to a procedure, talk to Dr. Jaleel about ways to make the experience easier. Nitrous oxide or other medications to help you relax can be prescribed depending on the level of your anxiety. We will make every effort to make your visit comforting and stress-free.
All orthodontic patients must know how to clean braces, regardless of age. Orthodontic care is a serious investment of a family’s time and finances. By learning about proper orthodontic home care in advance, patients will be prepared for the time commitment necessary to maintain oral health during and following orthodontic care.
What Gets Caught around Braces
Each type of orthodontic hardware, including wires, bands, brackets, expanders, springs, elastics and screws, poses its own unique challenges for the patient when it comes to cleaning. All this hardware provides additional surfaces for food debris, plaque biofilm and acids to adhere and collect in these areas of the mouth that are very difficult to clean.
The tiny germs first find an effective place to hide around orthodontic hardware and between teeth, growing into larger colonies of plaque biofilm. As readily available food particles are digested by the germ colonies, the plaque biofilm masses process the food debris. Acid is the by-product of this germ digestion process. These acids etch around the brackets and bands, creating the white chalky orthodontic spots often shown to patients before they pursue braces. The good news is that these spots can be prevented if a patient is taught how to clean braces properly.
Cleaning Braces at Home
The proper removal of food debris, biofilm and acids from around the braces will protect the teeth and gums from being affected by oral care diseases. Patients must be reminded before the placement of orthodontics that a higher level of at-home care will help decrease the incidence of tooth decay. Specialized equipment is recommended for cleaning teeth with braces. The standard tools for cleaning braces at home include a high-quality toothbrush, floss/interdental cleaners and an at-home oral irrigation system.
Toothbrushing: Whether manual or electric, a toothbrush with soft bristles and a compact head is best for cleaning teeth with braces. Always remember to remove elastics before brushing so hooks and wires are not disturbed.
The following are some toothbrushing instructions to assist you in cleaning your braces:
1. The toothbrush should be held at a 45-degree angle at the gum line and brushed back and forth and then swept toward the biting surface of the teeth.
2. Brush the top and bottom surfaces of the brackets to remove plaque and food debris as well as the front of the bracket and wires. It may be beneficial to physically hold back the lip with one hand and brush the bracket areas.
Fluoride Treatment and Germ Killers
Although topical fluoride is very important to use regardless of whether you have braces, fluoride becomes even more important during and immediately following orthodontic care. Since braces make teeth tougher to clean, the risk for tooth decay increases with braces. A fluoride rinse can decrease this risk.
The delight of having your braces taken off to reveal a beautiful smile can often be overshadowed by a diagnosis of cavities throughout the mouth, but these cavities can be prevented. Don’t let them happen to you! By learning how to clean braces effectively before their placement, both patients and parents can be proud of a newly aligned smile.
If you are a smoker, you know that it’s been a long winter of braving the cold outside to have a smoke. Now that the weather is warmer, you might be thinking that the worst is over. Why quit now?
Tobacco is Ontario’s leading cause of premature death states the Ontario College of Dental Hygienists. This is quite startling given that it’s casualties are five times that of death by traffic accidents, suicides and AIDS combined.
As the number one most preventable cause of illness and death in Ontario also, smoking speaks volumes to health behaviour and inclinations towards healthy practices. (Hopefully those with this destructive habit will still remember to floss! Correlations with smoking go further, beyond just health behaviours, such as one study which claims smokers earn less money on average than smokers (while interestingly, former smokers are the highest earners!). This eludes to some interesting personality associations between smokers, non-smokers and former smokers. This may be motivation enough to kick the habit, but unfortunately, since the nicotine in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addictive, quitting may be easier said than done.
As this blog has stated before – and any dentist will tell you – your oral health is an excellent indication of your overall health (see in regards to Temporomandibular Disorder and the benefits of aligned teeth. While your eyes may be the windows to your soul, your mouth is the window to your well-being.
Does your dentist know you smoke? Absolutely. The tell-tale signs will be apparent to your dentist in Ottawa. Fortunately, the yellowing tobacco has on one’s teeth can be corrected through teeth whitening services performed by your very own Ottawa dentist. Unfortunately though, the unpleasing aesthetics this habit gives you is the least of your problems.
Tobacco products reduce your sense of taste and smell, result in bad breath (halitosis), increase your sensitivity to hot and cold foods, increase your heart rate, cause mouth sores, cause an increase in tartar build-up – therefore leading to more cavities, weaken your jaw bone density, and more seriously increase your risk of developing: chronic bronchitis, emphysema, oral cancer, lung cancer, heart disease and/or stroke, premature aging, and periodontal disease. As a habit consumed orally, the extent of its effect are all-encompassing throughout your body.
Luckily, as much damage as smoking causes, there is still hope. Our bodies are incredibly efficient at healing ourselves, regardless if the damage was self-inflicted. After 15 years, a former smoker’s risk of death is similar to that of a person who has never smoked before.
Since your Ottawa dentist is at the forefront of this issue, and witness its’ effects firsthand, they are in an ideal position to offer support and encouragement. Dentists are able to explain to your personally the immediate benefits of quitting, and prescribe quit-smoking medications.
The statistics and the resources are on your side. Health Canada states that there are now more former smokers (26%) than current smokers (25%) in Canada. Rest assured, quitting is in your hands – not your mouth!