Monthly Archives: January 2019

Dental Anxiety: 4 Soothing Tactics Dentists Use

Calming Office Space

Sedation Dentistry and Soothing Tactics to Help Your Fear of the Dentist

Dental anxiety is extremely common. Some people experience a mild nervous feeling, while others have outright terror that reaches the level of a phobia. If your anxiety is severe, you might even go out of your way to avoid critical dental work. Fortunately, many dentists today are aware of dental anxiety and take proactive steps to help patients feel less afraid. Here are 4 soothing tactics your dentist might use.


Calming Office Space

Dentists are increasingly aware of how the look and feel of their office can affect patient anxiety levels. When visiting a new dentist, take a moment to look around the reception and waiting areas. Is the lighting scheme calming? Is the furniture warm and inviting? Is there space for each patient to speak privately with the receptionist? Some dentists go even further, borrowing ideas from high-end spas to create a soothing oasis. Even if yours doesn’t quite go that far, a calming office space is a good sign that the dentist is dedicated to reducing patient fears.


Sensory Aids

While most dentists today allow patients to bring earbuds and listen to their own music during treatment, many offices provide sensory aids to help soothe their nervous patients. Relaxing music, chairside movies, warm blankets, and heated face cloths are just a few ways that dentists attempt to make the treatment room as relaxing as possible.


Communication

Each patient is different, so communication is absolutely essential. Choose a practice in which staff members are aware of the signs of dental anxiety and know how to communicate with anxious patients. The receptionist might let you know what to expect. The hygienist might offer you a blanket or show you how to operate the remote control. The dentist should take a few minutes to sit with you and discuss your fear, and provide some suggestions for helping you feel more in control. For example, he or she might ask if you would feel more comfortable with the chair in a position other than flat, or suggest a hand signal for you to give if you need a break.


Sedation Dentistry

Many dental offices now offer sedation dentistry, which can be a real game changer if your anxiety is severe. From mild nitrous oxide to deep IV sedation, there are several options to keep you calm and comfortable. Talk to your dentist about your choices, including the pros and cons, risks, and any activity restrictions that may be required with a specific type of sedation.

Dental anxiety can range from mild to severe. If you have a serious dental phobia, you might need to consider seeking help from a mental health professional. For many people, though, soothing tactics and sedation dentistry can help manage the fear and turn a visit to the dentist into a comfortable and relaxed experience.


Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Understanding Dental Scaling

Understanding Dental Scaling

Understanding Teeth Scaling & Dental Deep Cleaning

Although it sounds a bit like a medieval torture process, dental scaling is actually a routine procedure designed to treat gum disease. While a regular dental cleaning focuses on the surfaces of the teeth, dental scaling goes below the gumline to treat built up plaque. It is typically performed in conjunction with root planing, which smooths the tooth roots and helps them reattach to the gums. Here is what you should know about dental scaling.


Why Do I Need Dental Scaling?

Brushing and flossing are the first line of defense against dental plaque, but they are not sufficient on their own. Regular dental cleanings remove the plaque and hardened tartar that home oral care leaves behind. In people with healthy gums, the gum tissue forms a tight seal just 3 millimeters or less below the gumline that prevents this plaque and tartar from invading any deeper.

If you have skipped a few dental cleanings or simply have bad genetic luck, these pockets can deepen, allowing plaque and tartar to build up below where regular dental cleanings can reach. If you have pockets of 4 millimeters or deeper, you will need dental scaling to clean them out.


Dental Scaling Methods

There are two basic methods for dental scaling. The first uses handheld instruments. Your dentist will gently insert thin metal tools known as a dental scaler and a curette below the gumline to scrape away plaque and tartar.

The second method is ultrasonic. In this case, your dentist will use an instrument with a vibrating metal tip and cool water spray. The tip chips off the plaque and tartar, while the water flushes it away.


Is Dental Scaling Painful?

Dental scaling can feel uncomfortable or even painful to those with sensitive gums. Talk to your dentist about using a local anesthetic to numb your gums if you have concerns about pain.

Some dentists prefer to divide the mouth in half, or even into four quadrants, and scale one section per appointment. If you are particularly nervous, though, or just prefer to get the process over with, ask your dentist if it is possible to do your entire mouth in a single appointment.


Aftercare

It is normal to experience some soreness and sensitivity, along with minor swelling and bleeding, for a few days after dental scaling. Your dentist might suggest that you use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth during this time. You may also receive a prescription mouthwash to help ensure that your gums remain clean and healthy. Though your mouth may feel sore, it is critical to brush and floss as normal to prevent plaque from re-forming in the same places.

You will be scheduled for a follow-up visit several days after your scaling procedure to measure the depth of the gum pockets and ensure that you are properly healing. Over time, if you maintain excellent oral hygiene, the pockets should heal. However, those who have had gum disease remain at increased risk for future recurrence. Your dentist may want you to have four cleanings per year instead of two to minimize this risk.


Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.