Category Archives: Fear of Dentist

April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Know The Warning Signs!

Ask most Americans which cancers are the most deadly and you’ll likely hear replies of pancreatic, prostrate or breast cancer. While these cancers are widespread and can be deadly, you rarely hear about oral cancer.

What makes Oral Cancer so deadly is its ability to progress long before symptoms emerge. By the time they do, it becomes a difficult cancer to battle. Treatment is often very disfiguring. Even worse, it is known to be one of the deadliest of all cancers, taking the life of one American every hour of every day.

In the majority of dental offices, regular dental exams include an annual screening for Oral Cancer. However, a 2014 Gallup poll showed that one-third of American adults have not seen a dentist in over a year (http://www.gallup.com/poll/168716/one-third-americans-haven-visited-dentist-past-year.aspx), leaving a significant percentage of adults unchecked. If a key component in catching Oral Cancer before it becomes deadly involves a dental visit, the challenge will continue until more individuals are in a dental chair.

For many individuals, dental fear can be a deterrent to having regular dental care. This is why we offer oral and I.V. sedation. These relaxation options, in addition to providing a gentle touch, have opened the doors for many fearful adults to have regular dental care. Still, there are an estimated 70 percent who have fears or anxiety when it comes to dental visits. Some are so fearful that they avoid dental visits altogether.

Those with the highest risk are adult males, with Black males being the most susceptible. Oral cancer risk also increases with age, especially after age 50. Risk levels generally peak between ages 60 – 70. The highest rates have been noted with males between ages 50 – 59.

Other risk factors (for all ages) includes tobacco and alcohol use. However, a particular factor that is spiking numbers in younger age groups is the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).

A National Cancer Institute Survey shows a 15% increase in oral cancer rates over the past three decades. Still, many people assume “if it doesn’t hurt, then nothing’s wrong.” I believe this has lead to such high levels of periodontal (gum) disease and subsequent adult tooth loss. And, as rising Oral Cancer statistics show, the casual attitude toward dental exams can result in far worse than losing teeth.

April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Begin by becoming familiar with the symptoms. Acting on these early warning signs means we can take prompt, appropriate action. These include:

•    A sore, irritation, lump or thick patch in the mouth, lip, or throat
•    White or red patch inside the mouth
•    Feeling something is stuck in the throat
•    Difficulty chewing or swallowing
•    Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
•    Numbness in the tongue or other areas of the mouth
•    Unexplained swelling of the jaw
•    Pain in an ear without hearing loss

While these symptoms do not always indicate Oral Cancer, anything in the mouth that does not go away on its own in 10-14 days should be examined immediately. Early treatment can mean the difference between resolving the problem simply or disfiguring surgeries, and even death.

Call 586-739-2155 for an examination appointment if you have not had regular dental check-ups. In the meantime, learn more about Oral Cancer at the American Cancer Society’s web site:

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/oralcavityandoropharyngealcancer/detailedguide/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer-key-statistics

Gentle Dental Care + Sedation = Confident Smiles!

If going to the dentist invokes feelings of anxiety, nervousness or fear, you are in good company. Over 70% of American adults are estimated to have some level of fear or anxiety associated with dental visits.

For many adults, this keeps them from having regular dental care. And, it’s the regular cleanings and exams that help to prevent problems in the first place. Because fear holds many people back from having these appointments, their needs become gradually more complex as a result. As a matter of fact, many high-fear adults only see a dentist when a problem becomes so painful they are forced to set their fears aside to achieve pain relief.

As far as who has dental fear, it certainly doesn’t discriminate. With fearful adults, there is no typical age group, income level, or gender and it effects all ethnic groups.

As a dentist who has built a reputation for a gentle touch, I see a number of patients who come from a wide vicinity because of their fear issues. Sadly, by the time they arrive, many high-fear patients have already lost natural teeth and are at risk of losing more. A large percentage have some level of periodontal (gum) disease.

In addition to being the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, the bacteria of gum disease has been found to trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This infectious bacteria has been associated with heart disease, stroke, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, impotency, preterm babies and more. This greatly amplifies the need for good oral health.

In addition to providing respectful care with a gentle touch, we offer Oral Sedation or I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep) in addition to our standard relaxation features . We also pace your care according to what is comfortable for you. Patients tend to relax when they realize they are in charge of what is done at each appointment and how frequently those appointments occur.

No matter how you would categorize your anxiety when it comes to dental care, we know you can overcome these challenges and achieve a healthy mouth and confident smile. Many of our formerly-fearful patients have even overcome their dread of dental care altogether. We love seeing these patients walk in with a smile and leave smiling – and knowing that they love sharing their smile often!

Begin by calling 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a no-charge Consultation. This is a discussion that takes place in a private, living-room style setting that is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, we’ll discuss your concerns and how we can help you move at a pace that’s right for you.

Let your smile be a beautiful reflection of who you are, inside and out! We’ll help you convert your fear of dental visits to the terrific smile you desire.

Smile Makeovers Have Positive Effects Inside and Out!

While the visual impact of the smile makeovers we create for our patients is obvious, what cannot be seen, just by looking, is the significant effect a more flattering smile can have when it comes to (what we refer to as) “smiling from the inside out.” It’s the uplifting feeling these patients have when their smile truly reflects their inner joy.

An attractive smile tends to boost one’s self-esteem and level of confidence. Our ‘smile makeover’ patients often tell us they find themselves smiling more often and feel more outgoing. From what we witness, it’s no surprise that research has found that the mere act of smiling gives a boost to one’s mood.

Apparently, the brain reacts to smiling by releasing endorphins, which are our ‘natural high’ chemicals that make us happy. Even ‘faking’ a smile seems to prompt this reaction, according to research.

When it comes to smile improvements, however, having a ‘makeover’ isn’t always needed to make a positive result in both appearance and perception of how one feels about their smile. Sometimes, even small changes can have a tremendous effect. In some cases, we’ve placed just four veneers on upper, front teeth for a marked improvement.DrB Pt Mirror copy

Porcelain veneers are the ‘gold standard,’ providing optimal durability, longevity and natural appeal. Veneers give a opalescense like that of natural teeth, even reflecting light in a similar way. Yet, there are a number of ways to improve the appearance of a smile.

Whitening teeth can create a notable improvement for those who have stains or discoloration from foods, aging, smoking or medications. A whiter, brighter smile tends to camouflage flaws and projects a cleaner, healthier appearance of teeth.

Bonding is another way to repair minor flaws, such as chips, uneven teeth, or gaps between teeth. Although not as durable as porcelain veneers and less resistant to staining, bonding is a less expensive method for improving small issues. And, when it comes to a smile, these small issues can have a dramatic effect on how one feels about their smile.

You may be surprised that many esthetic treatments can often be completed in just one visit. And, as with all procedures in our office, comfort is a high priority. For those who desire, we make oral or IV sedation available. Both are safe relaxation methods that erase most, if not all, memory of your procedure time. Recovery is quick and you are monitored throughout treatment with advanced equipment and trained staff.

Imagine yourself with a smile that gets compliments often. Would it make you want to smile more often? Would you feel more attractive? Would it boost your confidence in social or business settings?

Yes? Then, begin with a free Consultation to learn about the latest techniques and materials in esthetic dentistry. During this time, we’ll discuss the best options to create the smile you desire. I’ll go over the specifics of treatment and estimated costs. If desired, you can also meet with our Financial Coordinator to learn about easy payment options, most are interest-free with no down payment required.

Imagine that smile you want and then take a first step to fulfilling your dream! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a time convenient for you.

Is Dental Fear Preventing You From A Confident Smile?

I’ve enjoyed over two decades of dental practice. During this time, I have been blessed with a wonderful staff and a fabulous patient family. In all these years, one of the most challenging hurdles I’ve seen for a number of patients who want a confident smile? It’s not treatment cost or time or concern about the results. It’s dental fear.

For most adults who have dental fear or anxiety, the originating source seems to stem from a traumatic dental experience in their past, often as a child. I’ve heard stories from some who recall being held down in the dental chair by a hurried, rough dentist. Some adults have shared how a dentist continued in a procedure even after being told they were not numb. Naturally, these episodes embed deep into one’s subconscious and overshadow every thought of dentistry.

As a dentist who has treated hundreds of patients who once had high levels of dental fear or anxiety, I understand. There are few times in our lives where we must remain reclined on a narrow chair while someone with pointed instruments pokes around in an area as sensitive as our mouths! Not being able to see what is going on merely adds to the element of fear for some people. Add in the noises, bright lights and feeling vulnerable and, for many people, you have a recipe for white knuckles. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s the other side of that picture, though. Our goal is to NEVER make a patient feel uncomfortable (physically or emotionally) and to ALWAYS create an experience that encourages them to see dental care as positive parts of their overall health and well-being. Once a fearful patient realizes that we can be counted on, they relax. When they realize they are truly in charge of the pace of their treatment, they relax. And, when they realize how wonderful it feels to have a healthy, confident smile, they smile when they walk into our office and smile when walking out!

While I focus on providing the highest level of skills and technology in all procedures, creating a comfortable experience throughout each patient’s visit is a commitment I try to bring to every aspect of care. This is exemplified throughout the practice. From the staff who greet you to the hands that care for you, we believe you deserve a warm, caring team from start to finish.

Some fearful adults do well when Oral Sedation is combined with their visits. This is in pill form and taken prior to arriving to our office. By the time you enter, you’ll be relaxed. You’ll be seated in a treatment chair and covered with a warm blanket while the pill takes full effect.

In addition to helping you relax, Oral Sedation has an amnesiac effect that helps to erase most (if not all) memory of treatment afterward. Throughout your treatment, you’ll be monitored for safety and comfort by a specially trained staff member.

After your procedure, you will return home to rest. Recovery is quick and most feel back to normal within several hours.

In addition to treating fearful or anxious patients, we are also experienced in treating dental phobics. These individuals have such high levels of dental fear they shake or sweat at the mere thoughts of walking into a dental office. In these situations, IV sedation (twilight sleep) is often the preferred option. This is an in-the-vein form of sedation that places you in a sleep state. Most have no memory of treatment after but do need a longer recovery period as a result.

While we are sensitive to the needs of ALL of our patients, we are especially so with those who have fear associated with dental visits. Often, however, the patients who require sedation for one or two visits will decide to forego it upon realizing they can trust us to be gentle and caring at all times.

If you have dental fears or know someone who does, begin by calling toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to speak to a friendly staff member. Ask for a no-cost, no obligation consultation. I’m always happy to meet with patients in this private room that is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, we can discuss your concerns and I’ll explain how we can help you at a pace you feel is right.

If desired, we can also put you in touch with some patients who have overcome their dental fears and are now smiling confidently and beautifully!

Don’t let a traumatic episode in your past hold you back from the smile you desire. Take that first step today by making a telephone call. You’ll be treated kindly and respectfully.

If You Are Afraid Of Going To The Dentist, Read This.

Let’s face it. Most adults have a fear of something. Some have a fear of snakes, or heights, or flying. Some people are afraid of closed-in spaces and others have a fear of dogs. I’ve known people who are terrified of water and others who shudder at the sight of a spider.

Fear is not a bad thing, necessarily. It’s our brain’s way of steering us away from something that doesn’t feel right. Yet, for adults who have fear or anxiety associated with dental visits, it’s not unusual for its originating source to be from a traumatic dental visit in the past.

Having a painful or frightening experience at a dental office can easily embed itself in one’s subconscious and can follow many adults for years.  Just the mere thought of going to a dentist can triggers increased heart rate, sweating or crying for some (which includes both men and women).

Proudly, I have developed a reputation for a gentle touch and giving (in my patients’ words) ‘painless injections.’ I also find that going slow and at a pace the patient finds comfortable helps them to relax and feel that trust level that is so important to a good dental relationship.

I’m especially sensitive to helping all patients develop a sense of trust. They trust that I NEVER want them to be uncomfortable. However, for patients who suffer with deep-rooted fears associated with dentistry, we see no reason to withhold methods to enhance relaxation and even induce a sleep-like state when needed or desired.

Many fearful patients opt for Oral Sedation. This is in pill form and taken just prior to arriving at our office. Once here, patients are fully relaxed. As the pill takes full effect, we seat you in a comfortable treatment chair and cover you with a warm blanket. Some patients doze off and on but are able to respond to questions.

For some patients, I.V. Sedation is the preferred option, giving a ‘twilight sleep’ state. I.V. Sedation is administered in-the-vein and is a deeper level of sedation than Oral Sedation. Although this is a more reassuring option for those wanting a sleep state, the recovery period is longer than what Oral Sedation requires.

Both medications erase most or all memory of the procedure afterward. And, with both, numbing the areas being treated is delayed until the patient is fully ‘under.’ In both, you are also monitored by a trained staff member throughout treatment to ensure your safety and comfort.

Our office is committed to providing you with the highest level of skills and technology in every procedure. Creating a comfortable experience throughout each visit is a commitment I try to uphold in every aspect of care.

Our commitment to comfort goes beyond me. It extends to everyone involved in your care.. from the friendly faces who greet you to the clinical team who tend to your smile, we want every visit to be a positive experience.

We believe everyone deserves a healthy, confident smile. While we are sensitive to the needs of all our patients, we are especially attentive to those with dental fear.  If that is you, or someone you know, begin by calling toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to speak with one of our friendly staff members. You’ll be offered a no-cost, no obligation consultation appointment so we can privately discuss your needs.

Wobbly Denture? We Can Fix That – For Good!

When long-time denture wearers tell me about trying to eat, speak or laugh, they often use terms like “wobbly,” “rocking around in my mouth,” and “slippery.” Some even tell me they take their denture OUT in order to eat.

In this day and age, dentistry offers far better options than an ill-fitting denture when it comes to replacing teeth. This is because dentistry now does much more than merely ‘replace’ teeth. There is now an ideal way to restore the stability, security and dependability of natural teeth.

The key to having teeth that can bite and chew begins in the jaw bone. Why? Your upper and lower jaw bones are what once held your natural tooth roots. By having the jaws as the firm, sturdy foundation for your teeth, biting force and chewing stability are restored.

This is how Dental Implants work. They are implanted into your jaw to serve as replacement tooth roots. Your new teeth are then attached to the implants, giving you the look, feel and function of natural teeth.

Yet, it’s not just your ability to eat comfortably that you’ll reap as a benefit. Because you can resume eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber and vitamins and protein-laden meats, your overall health improves. You’ll be able to chew your food thoroughly and comfortable.

Eating with friends and family becomes a pleasure once again as well. Without the fear of embarrassing slips or clicks, accepting invitations that include food is no longer a concern. Research has shown that being socially involved is another bonus to your overall health.

In a recent study on the health benefits of social relationships, researchers found that social ties and involvement with family and friends contributed to increased survivor rates for breast cancer and heart surgery patients. A 2010 data analysis of nearly 150 studies showed that social connection doesn’t just help us survive health problems: the lack of it causes them. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/streams-of-consciousness/the-importance-of-being-social/

Your smile is much more than a set of teeth, which of course dentures can mimic. It’s a part of your personality, appearance, digestive process, speech, confidence, self-esteem and kissability! Terms like “wobbly” and “slippery” should never describe something so valuable to your overall well-being.

If you’d like to discuss your options for replacing a denture, begin with a no charge, no obligation consultation. Call 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule a convenient time. During this, I can also have our financial coordinator discuss easy payment options that can break your fee into monthly payments that are manageable to most budgets.

If dental fear is an issue, please know that our office is known for placing a priority on comfort. We offer both oral and I.V. sedation and have an environment designed to relax and pamper you.

I look forward to meeting you!

Afraid Of Dental Visits? I Can Relate.

My entire team and I take much pride in providing our patients an office where all their dental needs are met, for every age or need. To support this, we have incorporated advanced technology and stay on the cutting edge of the latest techniques and materials.

Yet, if we were not fully committed to ensuring that each patient has a gentle, comfortable experience, all the advancements in the world would not overcome this one basic need for each individual… the expectation that they’ll experience NO PAIN.

Having fear associated with dental visits can affect both genders and at any age. Although many adults experience no fear at all, over 60% of Americans are said to have some level of dental fear or anxiety.

Many fearful adults are unaware of what prompted their fears associated with dentistry. Others can pinpoint it’s origin, often due to a traumatic experience in the past. Often to blame is a rushed, rough dentist who could  sense their patient’s discomfort but continued regardless.

In this office, our goal is to provide exceptional care and optimal comfort. We pace each procedure so it is comfortable for the patient so they come to expect a gentle touch, not pain. This, in conjunction with our advanced technology, adds to procedural comfort while providing excellent results.

I believe one of the reasons that I, personally, am so committed to helping fearful patients is because I have an immense fear of dogs. While many friends with cuddly, gentle dogs coax me to see their precious pets as they do – sweet, loyal and beloved members of their families – my fears simply hang on.

So, I understand when people arrive shaking, some near tears. Others are just nervous until they get into the treatment chair. I can see their white-knuckled grip as they try to put on a brave face. Like my doggy owner friends, the gentle dentist I know myself to be wants to tell them it’s okay and to just relax. But, my scared-of-dogs side puts me on the same wavelength. I truly get it.

Fear is fear. It can be as uncontrollable as shivering when it’s cold or sweating when it’s hot and humid. Somehow, it becomes so deeply rooted that ‘just releasing it’ is an absurd expectation. It’s like telling someone who is clinically depressed to just snap out of it.

This is why we offer Oral or I.V. Sedation for patients who prefer to have treatment while in a sleep-like state. As an added bonus, both sedation options erase most (if not all) memory of treatment afterward. With either option, you are closely monitored by a trained staff member who uses approved safety equipment throughout your treatment.

I often suggest that patients first try Oral Sedation. Oral Sedation has a quick recovery and, in pill form, is taken prior to your arrival at our office. This means that, by the time you enter our office, you’re already in a relaxed state.

Once you are seated in a treatment chair, the medication has taken full effect and you are totally relaxed. This also puts fearful patients in an relaxed state for numbing medications.

Because I.V. Sedation is also known as ‘twilight sleep,’ some patients prefer it, especially since it is more familiar to them. I.V. Sedation creates a deeper level of relaxation to the point of dozing. Some people are less inclined towards I.V. Sedation because it requires needles to administer. Others prefer I.V. sedation since, for them, intravenous delivery is a non-issue.

We have patients with no dental fears who opt for Oral Sedation during long procedures. Because it enhances relaxation, several appointments can be combined into one, longer visit, leaving the patient feeling refreshed after. For those with busy schedules or limited time, this greatly reduces treatment time.

Probably the best part of being a dentist is when I see a patient who was once highly fearful who now walks in with a happy, confident smile. I know this is because our patients come to trust us to ensure their comfort at all times.DrB Pt Mirror copy

If you have dental fears, you CAN achieve a healthy, confident smile without feeling scared or anxious. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to begin. We will start with a free, no-obligation consultation so I can learn about your needs and help you know more about our commitment to your comfort.

Oral Health Connections Reach Far Beyond The Mouth

Having a clean, healthy mouth is a good way to have fresh breath, avoid cavities and prevent periodontal (gum) disease. But, did you know that the health of your mouth can affect your health in other parts of your body?

Over the years, numerous studies and much research has been conducted to pinpoint the true origins of diseases such as coronary artery disease, diabetes and others. While there is still much to be known, what has emerged time and again as the culprit has been inflammation.

Inflammation in the body has been determined to cause triggers that become the onset of a wide variety of health problems. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease. This means that the bacteria that are attacking your tooth enamel and gum tissues will run rampant on a consistent basis. As destructive as these bacteria are to your mouth, they can also have damaging potential elsewhere.

When the bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream (through tears in weakened gum tissues), it can create inflammatory triggers. This, in turn, results in higher risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, preterm babies, arthritis, respiratory diseases and even impotency. By why?

First, let me clarify that not all inflammation is bad. For example, when you cut your finger, the body sends antibodies to help repair the cut. The redness or slight swelling you see as the cut heals is a sign that the body’s defense system is fighting off bacteria that could create infection.

In chronic inflammation, however, the body’s defense mechanism becomes locked in the ‘on’ position. This sets into motion a chain of reactions that turn what was designed to be a positive response into a negative one. An area in the body that stays in the inflamed mode is at risk for dysfunctional reactions.

While the bacteria of gum disease seem a long distance from arthritic joints, the association – according to research – boils down to inflammation.  Think of it this way, if you have pink eye, the condition can be easily transferred from one person to another through touch. So, if oral bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream and pass through the heart, it makes sense that the inflammatory reactions  of the bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions here, too.

An attractive, confident smile is important. However, it’s important, also, that you consider the overall health of your mouth — teeth AND gums — as being vital elements of a smile’s well-being. Keeping a clean, healthy mouth can enhance your overall  health and help you avoid (or greatly lower) the risk for severe and even deadly diseases.

If you feel your mouth needs a ‘clean slate’ so you can maintain a healthy smile, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule an exam. Or, consider beginning with a free consultation to discuss your needs and goals.

And, if dental fear has kept you from the care you need, feel free to mention your concerns. We are especially sensitive to those with these fears and take a number of measures to ensure your comfort at all times.