Quite simply dental phobia is an irrational fear of a visit to the dentist or anything relating to the dentist.
Am I Suffering From Dental Phobia ?
If you answer yes to any of the following questions you may be suffering from dental phobia :
1. Do you remember all or any visits to your dentist as unpleasant ?
2. Do you think that your dentist will make embarrassing remarks about your lack of oral hygiene or health ?
3. Do you avoid or even cancel appointments with your dentist due to anxiety ?
4. Do you have feelings of anxiety while in the dentist’s waiting room ?
5. Do you have feelings of anxiety or panic while seated in your dentist’s chair ?
6. Does seeing dental equipment or the sound of the dentist’s drill send shivers down your spine ?
7. Does the thought of an injection make you feel anxious or scared ?
Why Am I Suffering From Dental Phobia ?
A phobia or a fear of something quite ordinary can have many triggers. Below is a list of some triggers relating to dental phobia :
1. A past visit to your dentist was unpleasant in some way, for example, remarks were made. by your dentist or dentist’s assistant that were upsetting.
2. You suffered pain or discomfort during a visit to your dentist.
3. You feel that when you visit your dentist that you are not in control.
4. You are embarrassed about the condition of your teeth or oral hygiene.
5. You suffer from anxiety at the very thought of your dental clinic, the instruments and equipment even the white gowns and rubber gloves they wear.
Dental Phobia, How can I Stop It ?
1. Overcoming your fear.
Realizing that your fear is irrational and that you are dental phobic is a good start. By making use of some of the techniques listed below you can educate your mind to accept that a visit to the dentist need not be a frightening experience.
2. Finding an understanding dentist.
It is important to find a dental practice where not only the dentist understands your phobia also the dentist’s staff and assistants do too. Most dentists will know how to treat a patient that is dental phobic.
Don’t be embarrassed about the condition of your teeth or oral health. A good understanding dentist will not make unsympathetic remarks that may up set you, so be honest from day one about how you feel.
Good communication with your dentist and dentist’s staff will help you feel more relaxed during your visit. By communicating your anxiety you could quell the fear of the unknown. An understanding dentist will know when, for example, it is time for you to have a breather or sense when you are becoming anxious or in pain.
5. Be knowledgeable.
Make your self aware of the treatments that are required and available by reading information in your practice or do some research on the Internet also simply ask your dentist.
There are many simple relaxation techniques that can be employed such as breathing exercise. There is much information on the Internet on the subject of relaxation. Being relaxed before and during your visit to the dentist is paramount. Your dentist may also recommend medication such as valium to help you relax.
7. Be distracted.
Allowing oneself to be distracted is a technique that will help take your mind off a visit to the dentist. Listen to the music piped into the surgery, in extreme cases some dentist’s will allow the use of personal media players providing they don’t hinder communication and treatment.
8. Pain control.
Chances are you will require a local anesthetic so one of your worries may include a fear of an injection. Dentists like those from Mt. Pleasant Dental can provide you options to make you comfortable. It is important you communicate this with your dentist, he or she will have methods to help overcome your fear and also may be able to advise alternatives such as nitrous oxide, sometimes known as “laughing gas” although this is less common these days.
Most dental clinics are equipped, and dentists trained, to perform a wisdom tooth operation without the necessity of going to hospital. Before anything is done your dentist will fully explain the procedure so that you are comfortable and prepared.
It is usual for a local anaesthetic, by means of an injection, to be used for this type of dental work. Should the patient be dental phobic, or anxious, there are dental clinics like Mt Pleasant Dental that offers sedation dentistry to keep patient relaxed and comfortable with the extraction.
The dentist will allow time for the anaesthetic to take affect before any surgery takes place. Sometimes the procedure requires that a small incision is made in the gum and bone removed to facilitate removal of the wisdom tooth. The incision may require stitches.
After surgery – healing and care
Generally the human body is great at healing itself. After this kind of surgery, blood will be sent to the site of the operation to heal any incisions made and any other trauma that has resulted during the extraction. Initially the dentist will apply a simple gauze for you to apply slight pressure to by biting gently on it. This will help stem the blood flow and aid healing. After 6 – 8 hours any bleeding should have quelled and you should be able to remove the gauze.
Your dentist will explain fully how you should treat your wound regarding eating and medication. You will probably feel a bit bruised and battered for a few days, however, should you experience any excessive bleeding, severe pain or fever you should contact your dentist or doctor immediately.
The now vacant space you have will feel strange for a while but you will soon get used to it. If you had stitches they will need to be removed unless the dentist used dissolvable stitches, in which case they will disappear in between 7 – 10 days.
Here are some important post operative tips
1. When eating, chew away from the wound so as not to disturb the site of the operation.
2. Refrain from smoking for at least 12 hours as this could hinder the healing process.
3. Refrain from spitting or sucking as this could start blood flow by dislodging the healing blood clot.
4. Control bleeding by the use of medical gauze pads over the site of the wound. Apply slight pressure by biting gently on the pad.
5. Control swelling with the use of a cold pack. Using this on and off in 20 minute cycles will help slow down the blood circulation.
6. Help the healing process after 24 hours by gently rinsing your mouth with a warm saline solution (A glass full of warm water with one teaspoon of dissolved salt).
7. Control any mild pain with anti-inflammatory drugs. For severe pain a patient may be prescribed stronger pain killers.
8. Be careful what you eat for a few days after surgery. Avoid hot food and drinks and avoid chewing on the same side to where the tooth was extracted. Refrain from drinking alcohol as this can encourage bleeding and prolong the healing process.
9. Make an appointment with your dentist a week or so after surgery just to make sure all is well and you are healing normally.
Will Just Cleaning My Teeth Cure Gum Disease ?
No is the simple answer to that. Gum disease has to be treated as a serious infection and can be linked to other heath issues such as blood poisoning, diabetes, strokes and even heart disease. It is important that you consult a dentist for a diagnosis.
What Measures Can I Take To Prevent Gum Disease?
A strict and regular oral hygiene routine is the front line defense in helping to prevent gum disease, making sure you brush and floss your teeth twice a day and after meals.
Visit your dentist at least every six months for a check up. Your dentist will spot the early signs of gum disease and advise you accordingly. Your dentist may recommend a below gum line clean to remove the plaque that can accumulate there. Mt. Pleasant Dental offers services to maintain healthy gums.
How Should I Be Cleaning My Teeth?
Using a gentle up,down and side to side motion and don’t forget the backs of your teeth and get right down to the gum line. Also a good habit to get into is brushing your tongue.
Secure a clean length of floss around your fingers, wrap the floss around a tooth and commence cleaning each tooth from the gum line to the crown.
I Think I Have The Early Signs Of Gum Disease, What Should I Do?
The first thing to do is get to your dentist as soon as you can. Your dentist will confirm, or not, as the case may be, your diagnosis. Early detection of gum disease is certainly a major plus in its successful treatment.
What If I Am Suffering More Advanced Stages Of Gum Disease?
You should see your dentist, as soon as possible, for a professional diagnosis. Depending on the outcome of the diagnosis and the severity of your condition your dentist may refer you to a periodontist. A periodontist is more specialized in the treatment of more advanced stages of gum disease.
I Have Heard The Term Root Planing, What Is This?
Root planing is an extension to normal cleaning by your dentist. The difference between normal cleaning and root planing is that root planing is cleaning below the gum line and in some cases particularly aggressive when a local anesthetic may be used.
Root planing achieves the following :
1. The removal of plaque, tartar and bacteria.
2. After root planing the root surface is smooth and this aids cleaning.
3. Reduction of subsequent infection because the bacteria can no longer adhere to the now smooth root surface.
Will I Heal Quickly After Treatment ?
Healing depends on a number of factors none less important than how you treat yourself.
Important points :
1. Strict oral hygiene routine.
2. Regular dental check ups.
3. Refrain from smoking.
4. Watch what you eat, try to cut out sugar.
5. Avoid stress.
If you need surgery to remove your wisdom teeth, you need to know some important things regarding after care. These things will make the surgery and recovery as comfortable and safe as possible.
When you adhere to the following guidelines, your recovery should be fairly quick:
- Get enough rest: This is first on the list for a reason. Even when you have a minor surgical procedure done, the body must have rest in order to heal. So when you go through wisdom teeth removal, plan to take a couple of days to recover before going back to your normal schedule. Stay home from work or school and rest.
- Pain medication: Following the removal of your wisdom teeth, your dentist will prescribe some pain medication for you. Take this medication precisely as your dentist prescribes. Also, take it prior to the pain escalating because it can take a little while for the medication to take effect.
- Anti-inflammatories and ice: There’s usually some inflammation of your mouth tissues following surgery. Use ice on your jaw and take anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen as prescribed by your dentist. The anti-inflammatories and ice will help calm your pain.
- Eat carefully: Too many people attempt to eat solid food before they should following wisdom teeth surgery. This is not only a hindrance to your wisdom teeth recovery, but it can also be quite dangerous. The solid food can actually dislodge the blood clots that have formed a protective barrier over the wounds. This can result in a serious infection. Be sure you drink plenty of liquids and limit your food to semi-solid or soft food for up to a week following your surgery.
- Be careful of what goes into your mouth: There are two major culprits that can bring on an infection following wisdom teeth surgery and many people aren’t even aware of them. These two things are cigarettes and drinking straws. The reason they’re so dangerous is because they both have you pulling air into your mouth. Because of the necessary force of pulling on either of these, your protective blood clots can be knocked free. This may even be a great time to start a non-smoking lifestyle.
To extract or not to extract ? That is the question
Wisdom teeth can be troublesome when they are attempting to push through your gums. There are some common reasons why the extraction of said teeth is recommended. Below is a list of some of these reasons:
The main cause of decay is bacteria in the mouth converting sugars into acid thus attacking the teeth. Wisdom teeth can be particularly prone to this.
If a wisdom tooth has penetrated through the gum, by food and bacteria accumulating under the gum, local infection can occur. This type of infection can lead to foul breath, pain, swelling and leading to much more severe and frequent infection.
Pain caused by pressure
As the wisdom teeth attempt to exit the jaw and push through the gum they may exert pressure on other teeth, causing pain, discomfort and possibly eroding of the other teeth.
A younger patient may be having orthodontic treatment for teeth straightening. As wisdom teeth are attempting to push their way through the gum they can cause teeth alignment and position to change and this situation is undesirable to the orthodontic procedure.
As a wisdom tooth attempts to push through the gum it will almost certainly change the gums shape, therefore denture wearers will experience problems should the wisdom teeth not be removed.
Formation of cysts
If a wisdom tooth becomes impacted the formation of cysts is possible. These can cause the destruction of bone and the displacement of other teeth. A worse case scenario is that tumors can develop from cysts and cause serious problems with the jaw.
Why Extract Impacted Wisdom Teeth If They Have Not Been Troublesome ?
If not extracted, impacted wisdom teeth are certain to give trouble. Despite their formation over several years, pain and discomfort may occur in an instant.
Is There A Good Time To Have Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
Dentists advise that removal of wisdom teeth, troublesome or not, should be between 14 and 22 years of age. The reasoning behind this is that technically the surgery is easier and younger patients tend to recover quicker. As we age healing tends to take longer and complications are more likely.
Should I Have Wisdom Teeth Extracted Before Foreign Travel?
If at a high risk age where impacted wisdom teeth could give sudden trouble then yes. You may find yourself in extreme pain in a remote area with no modern dental facilities.
If I Have An Infection Should A Wisdom Tooth Be Extracted?
An infection should be brought under control and eliminated before a wisdom tooth extraction, so the answer to this is generally no.