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scared of the dentistIt is estimated that approximately 75% of the population are scared of the dentist and have some degree of dental anxiety with approximately 10% of the population of avoiding seeing a dentist because of that anxiety. The problem becomes self compounding, the more one does not go to the dentist for fear of what will happen the more likely it is that more work will need to be done when one does eventually go.

It really is important to see a dental professional on a regular basis to ensure that dental work is kept to a minimum, which everybody wants.

We have written this blog post to help you if you are scared of the dentist or have some level of anxiety, we hope you find what follows useful.

Definition of anxiety

Why are people scared of the dentist?

Anxiety is defined as: ” a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”, According to this definition it can be clearly seen how an anxiety of the dentist can come about, you may be worried about what will happen what the outcome will be.

Anxiety symptoms

This anxiety can manifest in a few ways and may include some of the following:

  • Dry mouth.
  • A feeling of nausea.
  • An inability to stay calm and still.
  • Feelings of fearfulness and and ease.
  • A racing heart.
  • Shortness of breath.

Anxiety about going to the dentist is often concerned with what will happen when you are there, this is a specific anxiety about the uncertain outcome at the dentist and should not be confused with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) where one feels anxious about almost everything for no real apparent reason.

Definition of phobia

A phobia is defined as: ” an overwhelming and debilitating fear of a place, situation or feeling”. The emphasis on phobia is the fact that it is debilitating, a phobia will prevent someone from doing that thing completely. A phobia can also be described as: “…an irrational fear”. It is quite rational to be anxious about any uncertain outcome at the dentist but if that anxiety becomes overwhelming it can then become debilitating and become irrational. This is when an anxiety becomes a phobia.

Scared of the dentist but need to go?

Here are some suggestions on what you can do.

When you first start thinking you need to come to the dentist, or that you need some form of treatment it can often seem like a huge mountain to climb. But we want to assure you that the journey of 1000 steps always starts with a first step. And it’s just like the joke:

“How do you eat an elephant?”

Answer… one bite at a time.

Overcoming dental fear is the same… overcome it one small step or bite at a time, take things slowly and easily and in simple small steps.

We often find that overcoming dental fear is about realising that you have a choice.

Think about it now, you weren’t born with a fear of the dentist, babies are a blank canvass and have no such irrational fears. However, as we get older we have certain experiences that shape our views, so think about it now… what experience led you to believe you were afraid of the dentist?

When you come to see us we will ask you what was the trigger that taught you this behaviour, this will then help us to help you overcome this irrational fear.

The problem is that we have these experiences once and they then shape our thought patterns by teaching us new behaviours i.e. to fear the dentist, this is a key point to understand, your fear is a learnt behaviour – and if it can be learnt, a new way of thinking can also be learnt.

Top Tips for relaxing at the dentist

  • Book an appointment in the morning, this will ensure you can relax for the rest of the day as your appointment will be over.
  • For regular appointments, make sure you have a good breakfast. This will set you up for the day and ensure your energy levels remain high.
  • Lay off the alcohol! Not only does it dehydrate you but it can also make you worry.
  • Bring a friend. Decide before hand on what you are going to talk about, make it subjects that relax you and keep you calm. Perhaps discuss a recent holiday, or where you are going next time.
  • Talk openly to us. We will NOT judge you or tell you off for not coming to see us… honestly
  • Agree a stop signal with us, this will ensure that YOU are in control

Specific dental anxieties

Scared of the dentist drill

The key to overcoming fear of the dentist drill is to learn the art of distraction. All dental treatments should be undertaken with adequate anaesthetic meaning you should only feel light pressure and vibration. Anxiety about the dentist drill comes from an association which has been created between the drill and pain.

Wearing headphones and listening to your favourite music can help drown out the sound of the drill. A couple of words of warning though:

  • Wear headphones that don’t popout easily so that your dentist can work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Choose music which has a faster beat with fewer gaps between the tracks.
  • If possible don’t wear headphones at all, most dentists will prefer to have an open channel of communication to you to offer help and advice. Your dentist can’t do this if you can’t hear them.

Scared of dentist pictures

Some people find they are scared of the pictures around dental practices or scared of the photographs they may see in books at the dentist. The easiest way to overcome this fear is to speak to your dentist beforehand, let them know you are anxious and scared of the dentist pictures, this gives both yourself and the dental practice time to prepare.

Most dental practices however don’t have gruesome pictures of dental procedures on the walls, dentists want to help you relax and will ensure images around the practice facilitate this.

Scared of gagging at the dentist

Gagging is one of the biggest fears people have of the dentist, sometimes this reflex is physiological, sometimes it is psychological. The feeling of panic as one gags can be quite overwhelming.

Here are our top tips to overcome that gag reflex:

  1. Fit bit in relax modeAlways breathe through your nose, this way you know you can always catch your breath.
  2. Remember to breathe. Whilst breathing through your nose, gently breathe in… Wait… breathe out… Wait… breathing in and repeat. This gentle breathing can really help.
  3. If you have a modern FitBit activity tracker these can sometimes be set on ‘relax’ mode, this gives you a guided breathing pattern which is tailored to your heart rate.
  4. Over the counter throat sprays with a numbing action, the ones typically used to help with throat coughs may help.
  5. Talk to your dentist, let them know you have a gag reflex and they can help you relax.

Summary

Modern dentistry users some of the best equipment available, needles are now so sharp you almost certainly will have no pain during any injections, anaesthetics work so well that numbing is complete and gone are the days of forcing a patient to breathe in gas through a mask.

Dentistry today is designed to be calm and relaxed, offering you a range of treatments and alternatives truly able to help.

One of those alternatives is dental sedation, sedation can help you gently drift off into your mind in a calm and relaxed world, allowing the dentist to treat your dental problem with ease.

 

 

 

 

A recent survey by Brush-Baby  revealed a great amount of confusion about a bit and the dentist:

  • 72% of the mums survey said they had not seen  any information about teeth and gum care for their babies
  • 53% of mums turned to their own mothers for advice on managing their babies teething pain
  • 17% of mums  turned to their grandmothers for this same advice
  • and last of all,  only 10% of mums asked their dentist for any advice about their babies teeth and gums
Brush-Baby Mums & Gums Survey infographic reveals baby oral care confusion amongst mothers. (PRNewsfoto/Brush-Baby)

Brush-Baby Mums & Gums Survey infographic reveals baby oral care confusion amongst mothers. (PRNewsfoto/Brush-Baby)

The information gathered by Brush-Baby in their research seems to support the government statistic that 25% of five-year-olds have tooth decay within average of 3.4 teeth involved.

It’s never too early to start forming a habit of good dental hygiene, so let’s take a look at what those habits could include for your baby and children.

Baby tooth eruption sequence.

Baby tooth eruption sequence

As you can see from the chart your baby’s teeth will start to erupt after approximately 6 months. Clearly, it is therefore important to begin a dental health routine at this early stage, if not before.

Brushing your baby’s gums

Baby

Even before baby has any teeth it’s a good idea to get them into the habit and feeling  of having their mouth is cleaned. This will make it easier to transition into using a toothbrush  when the time comes  and their first teeth erupt. To clean your baby’s gums use some cause  or a wet flannel and gently rub it over your baby’s gums,  no toothpaste is required at this early stage.

Baby tooth brushing

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When baby’s teeth first begin to erupt you can  gently switch from rubbing their gums with balls oral wet flannel to using a small baby tooth brush with toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. As your baby grows slowly increase the amount of toothpaste up to a pea sized amount by the time your child reaches three years old.

Be sure to clean all of your baby’s teeth  as they appear, this means you will need to regularly check to see which teeth are appearing…  If baby doesn’t let you know they are teething already!

Tips to help a teething baby

Teething rings

These can give your baby something to chew which can help to ease any discomfort. Calling them in the fridge also creates a soothing effect on your baby’s gums, however please ensure they only ever go in the fridge and NOT in the freezer.

Teething gels

These gels are usually not suitable for babies under the age of four months, for older babies they can be very helpful as they contain a mild local anaesthetic which eases the pain and may also contain antiseptic which can help prevent any infection around sore gums. Apply the gel with your little finger ensuring that you wash your hands before and after applying.

Soothing a teething baby

When should I start bringing my baby to the dentist?

Many people mistakenly believe that they should only take their child to the dentist when I have all of their teeth or when there is a problem.  We recommend taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears which could be as young as six-month-old, but certainly no later than 2 years old.

When you bring your child to the dentist for the first time we will normally ask for you to sit with your child on your lap, this makes it easy for you to keep them comforted and ensures they stay relaxed and calm.

Even bringing your child to the dentist when you come for your own appointments can help them see that their parent will calmly sit in the chair and that it’s nothing to be scared about, this in itself is a great lesson for your child to learn from a young age.

Bringing your child to the dentist:

  1. Familiarises your child with the environment and people that they will meet.
  2. Gets them used to the words and phrases used in a dental practice.
  3. Allows your dentist to take a quick look to ensure that everything is okay.

We usually recommend seeing the dentist every six months  for both adults and children, progressing on to see the hygienist as soon as they have all of their teeth.
Images courtesy of Patrisyu & Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This is a question we get asked lots at our dental practice here in Watford, so we thought we would take some time to take a look at the common reasons why your teeth may not be quite as white as you’d like to be…  Some of those reasons are obvious but others aren’t!

What are you eating?

ID-10068181thephotoholicIt sounds quite obvious  but there are many foods which have any impact on the colour of your teeth. Some foods that stain your teeth directly whilst others contribute to dental decay by being rich in sugar.

Foods which contain high amounts of sugar feeds the acid excreting bacteria which live in your mouth, the more sugar there is in your food the more this bacteria is able to feed and excrete the bacteria which then attacks your teeth causing dental decay. Teeth can then become dark  either through the dental decay or by the bacteria forming solid deposits, known as plaque, which then become stained by  the strong colours in some foods.

Some food on the other hand has naturally dark staining such as dark berries, tea and red wine. These may stain your teeth on their own but the staining is compound it if you have plaque on your teeth caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene and sugar in the diet.

Of course, so many of us like to eat  foods like this, so if we want our teeth to be bright and white then we just have to get on top of our dental healthcare!

Are you brushing as well as you could?

Even if your diet isn’t too rich in sugar and you avoid the food with strong colours then your teeth could still be yellow  then you would like if your oral health care routine isn’t as good as it should be.

Your mouth contains so many bacteria, more than the population of the world in fact, so it’s really important that you keep on top of this and remove as much bacteria and food as you can after each meal.

When brushing your teeth we recommend using a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice per day for 2 min each time. We also recommend flossing daily to ensure your teeth clean in between and then using a fluoride mouthwash in between meals (never after  brushing as the mouthwash has less fluoride in than toothpaste).

Are you scrubbing rather than brushing?

Yes, it’s possible to clean your teeth too much!  If you scrub your teeth too much then the gum can recede as it will often become irritated due to the excessive brushing. As the gum recedes it may expose the softer dentine part of your tooth which is lower down towards the root. This part  of the tooth is softer than the enamel (apart which you usually see)  and is therefore more susceptible  to both dental decay and staining..

When you brush, go easy and don’t scrub,  if you visit a dental hygienist regularly they will be able to tell you if it looks as though you may be pressing too hard when you clean your teeth. It may also be worth considering an electric toothbrush, many of these have pressure sensors and light up red  if you are pressing too hard, really useful aid if you find this is a problem for you.

Your teeth just are naturally yellower!

Some people’s teeth are just not naturally as white as other peoples. Over the years celebrities have had so much teeth whitening that the commonly accepted shade for teeth is now considerably whiter than it was a few years ago.

Additional bleached white shades added by the manufacturers to the conventional shade guide

Additional bleached white shades added by the manufacturers to the conventional shade guide

Dental manufacturers have had to create  new whiter and brighter colours for their materials to match this new trend,  what was considered an average tooth colour 10 years ago would now be considered yellow.

Perhaps you are taking medication which makes your teeth look yellow?

The first thing to say is that you should never stop taking any medication that has been prescribed to you without first consulting your doctor. It has however been reported that some medications may affect the colour of your teeth, most often this happens if the medication is taken during childhood  whilst the teeth forming, rather than extrinsic staining of the teeth  at a later date in adulthood.

Some medicated mouthwashes can also stained teeth, so please ensure that you read the label of any medicated mouthwash that you may have been prescribed.

Rest assured though, if your teeth have been stained through using a medicated mouthwash  this can easily be removed by your dentist.

Do you smoke?

Well, you knew this would probably come up at some point! Smoking darkens teeth because it changes the delicate PH balance in your mouth, it also dries your mouth out which leads to an excessive buildup of bacteria. This bacteria not only have  a rather noticeable smell, but also can contribute to increased rates of dental decay.

The smoke itself also has  many this colouring components which, particularly when coupled with poor oral hygiene, can stain the teeth quite noticeably.

As a sidenote, if you have any damage to the gum in your mouth then smoking also slows down the healing process, just another reason to begin the quitting process.

You are older than you were yesterday!

It’s just a fact that as we age various things happened to our body! Gravity takes over and alas, our teeth can appear yellower. The reason for this isn’t because your teeth are actually going yellow, it’s because that as we get older the outer surface of the tooth  (enamel) wears away,  as the enamel wears away with age the yellower underlying dentine becomes more exposed. As that dentine nears the surface it has the effect of making the teeth look yellower.

This is often more prominent on the lower teeth towards the biting in size or age, it can be noticed that there is significant yellowing or staining right on that chip area, this is known as secondary dentine and is a common concern with people in, shall we say, more senior years!

And the good news is…

The good news is that most of these problems can be quickly and simply resolved. If you give up smoking, look at your diet and  ensure your oral health care routine follows the suggested procedure then you can have a big impact on the colour of your teeth. Your dentist can also whiten the teeth in a couple of ways.

If your teeth just have surface staining perhaps from smoking  or food stains then this can be removed with an air abrasion technique, this blasts very small particles at the end at your teeth which very gently remove the surface stain.  If however the enamel of your tooth is intrinsically not as white as you would like them teeth whitening could also be the perfect option for you.

What ever you decide, your friendly dentist in Watford, Senova Dental Studios  is here to help, please contact us today to book your appointment  and begin your journey to brighter, whiter teeth.

Image courtesy of nenetus and thephotoholic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The press reported only the other day that tens of thousands of children are having to have decayed teeth removed in hospital each year and, according to the latest figures,  this shows an increase for the fourth year in a row. In one single year between 2014 and 2015 there were 33,781 children under 10 years old admitted to hospital to have teeth taken out,  quite a shocking statistic.

One of the things which is most concerning is that  90% of this tooth decay is preventable, according to Prof Nigel Hunt, the Dean of dental surgery faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons.

So what can you do at home?

Here are 5 easy ways to prevent children’s tooth decay at home

1. Set a daily routine.

We all know that children love to know what’s coming and what’s going to happen, that’s why they love to hear the same story every night. By setting a routine your children will begin to understand  the importance of cleaning their teeth and may even remind you if you forget. Forming this good habit early on in life is a critical part of helping them develop a good dental health care routine.

2. Ensure your brushing technique is good.

When you brush their teeth, use a small pea sized amount of children’s toothpaste, brush each tooth individually spending 30 seconds on each quadrant (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right). Clean all the surfaces of the tooth, the tongue side, the cheek side and the biting surfaces. As you do this, tell your children what you’re doing so that they can begin to understand the importance of good technique.

Poke your tongue out.

Get your children into the habit  of looking after their whole oral health, not just their teeth. Their tongue may also harbour bacteria and is important to keep this clean also.

Visit your dentist regularly.

If your children see you visiting the dentist regularly then they will become familiar with the routine themselves. Also, you may have developed bad habits yourself with cleaning your own teeth, when you visit your own dentist  they can let you know if your own dental hygiene routine is adequate or needs improvement, you can then pass this information on to your children also.

Maintain a healthy diet.

A healthy diet that is low in sugar helps to keep your dental health in good condition. Diets which are high in sugar feeds the acid excreting bacteria in your mouth which can cause dental decay. This is particularly important with children who have a tendency to eat sweets and fizzy drinks regularly. Try to avoid lollipops as these keep the sugar in contact with the teeth for a long time and if your child likes fizzy drinks, encourage them to drink through a straw as this will keep the bacteria away from their teeth also. Ultimately, reducing the amount of sugar intake should be the aim.

Senova Dental Studios is a family dental practice in Watford, Hertfordshire helping the local people Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and Jarrett cross with their dental health. If you or your child would like information or advice  then please request an appointment today.

Source: www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/27/england-hospital-treatment-children-severe-tooth-decay

The low failure rates of dental implants is one of the primary reasons that they have become one of the most successful and sought after treatments in modern dentistry. Implants are often the preferred option by both dentist and patients for replacing missing teeth.

Dental implant diagramA recent press release from Transparency Market Research “Nanotechnology in Dental Implants Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2016 – 2024” indicates that the use of nanotechnology has revolutionised multiple branches of medicine, including dentistry. Nanotechnology could enhance the work we do by influencing the integration process of the dental implant in to the bone and remarkably, the chances of post implant placement infection.

Dental implants are also becoming increasingly popular due to:

  1. The high number of patients with missing teeth.
  2. Increased training and education about dental implants for the general dentist.
  3. Public awareness about oral health.
  4. New technology such as nanotechnology or CADCAM (Computer Assisted Design, Computer Assisted Manufacturing)

Reasons to Consider Dental Implants

Dental implants have multiple reasons for being the preferred option, but let’s first take a brief look at the results that are possible:

dental implants before and after

MALCOLM HAD MULTIPLE FAILING TEETH AND BRIDGES

Malcolm did not wish to have a denture as he liked steak too much. Following removal of all the failed teeth, bone grafting was carried out and 9 implants placed in all back areas of his mouth and veneers placed on his top and bottom front teeth to improve his smile.

Reasons that patients like dental implants

The primary reason that patients give for liking dental implants is the fact that they look so natural and appeared to ‘grow’ out of the gum like natural teeth.  Dental implants in themselves also do not necessarily impact adjacent teeth, unlike dental bridges where reduction of potentially healthy teeth either side of the gap is required.

Reasons that dentists like a dental implants

The role of your dentist is to educate about dental health, carry out treatments which can prevent dental health from worsening and to restore dental health in the event of any problems. All implants both prevent dental health from deteriorating and restore dental health at the same time, here’s how…

Dental implants restoring dental health

Clearly, the function of a dental implant is to replace a missing tooth,  this not only allows  the patient to chew again but also may restore the way the teeth function and work together, known as the occlusion. With a fully functioning occlusion the patient is far less likely to develop any jaw joint problems which can be manifested as headaches.

Dental implants preventing dental health from worsening

resorptionWhen a tooth is extracted it leaves a socket in the bone. Rather than new bone form in this socket, what actually happens is that the surrounding bone collapses in. This ultimately leads to a reduction in the quantity of bone in that area. The reduction of bone can also lead to a loss of gum creating an unsightly gum line.

A dental implant is uniquely capable of preventing this bone resorption. The implant needs to be placed as the tooth is extracted, if this happens the implant takes the place of the tooth root and prevents this bone resorption from happening.  Thereby maintaining the gum line.

bone-loss

After a tooth is extracted neighbouring teeth can tip and over erupt

 

All of the teeth in your mouth are also in very fine balance with one another. If the tooth is removed the adjacent teeth will have a tendency to tip into the gap, the opposing teeth will also have a tendency to over erupt. Having a dental implant placed will support the surrounding teeth and prevent this happening.

Summary

Our hope is that  the nanotechnology continues to improve the success rate of dental implants  to enable as many people as possible to enjoy smiling, eating and chewing again with absolute confidence by replacing missing teeth.

Senova Dental Studios is a Bupa accredited  private dental practice in Watford, Hertfordshire. Patients travel  from around the local area including Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and Gerrards Cross to enjoy the highest standard of dental implants and restorative dentistry.

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