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Top 5 Advancements in Dental Patient Comfort

In Dental Anxiety on January 19, 2012 at 4:30 AM

Do you HATE going to the dentist?

The anxiety some people feel from just thinking about going to the dentist can have a serious impact on their oral health.

We’re fearful of pain and discomfort, we delay care, our teeth and gums suffer, and we wind up paying through the nose for treatment that is above and beyond our insurance coverage.

It’s a vicious cycle…This is our fault, not our dentists fault.

Sure dental healthcare costs are not cheap – but only relatively speaking.

But they certainly can be more manageable if we adhere to maintaining our oral health and keeping up with regular dental appointments.

Simple, we ignore our teeth and gums and it will cost us more money than simply showing up to the dentist every 6 months.
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Pain and discomfort are figments of dentistry past; here are a couple quick examples of not so recent advancements in dental patient comfort.

Fear often comes from the unknown, the more we familiarize ourselves with something that evokes fear the more manageable that fear becomes.

Our trusted dentists are merging no fear dentistry with all the comforts of a spa treatment.

We no longer need to fear going to the dentist!

CAD/CAM Dentistry

This not-reserved-to-dentistry acronym stands for; Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing.

What this means to us as dental patients is time-saving convenience, without being a cost prohibitive procedure.

Instead of having multiple office visits, and multiple anxiety discomfort opportunities, we can now have that dental crown manufactured, shaped, contoured, and fit correctly in as little as one office visit.

The dental lab has been brought to the dentist’s office.

Sedation Dentistry

Aside from the obvious benefits of reducing anxiety, fear, and pain, the use of sedation in dentistry can also allow us as patients to reduce costs of dental care.

Some people need dental work that has been neglected for years; whether we choose to go the IV route or drop the Conscious Sedation regime, sedation dentistry allows us the opportunity to take care of all that neglected dental work in fewer appointments.

…all while comfortably ensconced in a painless semi sleepy state…replete with comfy fuzzy blankets, warm soothing teas, and pleasant whiffs of aromatic aromatherapy.

Are we talking dentistry or spa treatments here…the line is getting more blurry every day, but dental patients receive all the benefits!

Tune in next week for the second installment of our Top 5 Advancements in Dental Patient Comfort.

Maybe you have some suggestions to add to the list, what are some recent patient comfort advancements you’ve noticed at the dentists’ office?

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How Dogs Help Dental Patients Cope with Dental Anxiety

In Dental Anxiety on September 29, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Dental appointments are often put off, rescheduled, or dismissed altogether – much to the detriment of not only our optimal oral health, but also to our dentists’ self-confidence.

Picture how it would affect you to realize that people only come to see you when they need something.

We don’t think that’s fair, or even nice.

Never mind the disservice you’re doing to yourself by neglecting proper dental care, you’re only hurting yourself there.

But please don’t contribute to the anti-dentite sentiments still systemic throughout society!

Change starts at home…and in the doghouse. how_dogs_help_dental_patients_cope_with_dental_anxiety

Whether it’s fear of pain that keeps you away from the dental office, finances, social anxiety disorder, or simply just a rampant dislike for your teeth and gums, one fact remains undeniable; skipping dental appointments will only cost you more pain and financial discomfort in the future – when something unavoidable arises in your mouth.

Would the company of a trusted pet calm your nerves in the dental office?

Sure, aromatherapy combined with relaxation therapy certainly helps calm the nerves, and sedation dentistry can allow anxious patients the luxury of undergoing years of neglected dental work in a single twilight induced appointment.

And I.V. sedation helps those extreme cases of dental anxiety, or assists with special needs cases a great deal.

But there has to be other options out there…but where?

One interesting way a Palo Alto dentist offers relief for anxious dental patients is gaining lots of attention lately.

how_dogs_help_dental_patients_cope_with_dental_anxietyAs it turns out, more dental practices around the country are following suit.

They’re actually employing the family canine as a type of relaxation therapy for anxious patients during their office visit.

Yes, there is actually a dog in the dental office, even right there in the chair with patients!

Buster is there to comfort people who may experience anxiety before and during their dental appointments.

We love it!

Check out ‘Bay Area Buster’ and go ahead and give his Facebook page a ‘Like’ while you’re at it

Basically, some people feel as if the dentist appointment will surely involve pain, or at least discomfort.

It’s OK to feel that way, we understand.

But, things have changed a great deal, and patient comfort and experience in particular have really changed since the times of the kick drill and the spit sink.

Our comfort is among one of our dentists’ primary concerns. We think doggie dental concierge is a great idea to help reduce patient anxiety – share yours!

How can your dental office visit be more enjoyable, less stressful, or more convenient?

Would having the loving, calming presence of the family canine calm your anxious dental nerves?

The first person to share their thoughts on our Facebook page gets a free lolly…or pig’s ear! J

(BTW – Pain is virtually a thing of the past, if you don’t believe us, just ask your dentist!)

Adult Dental Care…Will That Be Shaken or Stirred?

In Dental Anxiety, Dental Humor - Oxymoron? on May 17, 2011 at 4:30 AM

We have all sorts of reason for not keeping up with our dental appointments; the excuses range from our dog ate our appointment card to we didn’t get the reminder message sent in triplicate to our mobile phone, email, Facebook wall, Twitter profile, and personal satellite downlink. Time is always at a premium and we don’t need to be hit over the head with it, right?

But sometimes the reason for ignoring our dental appointments is something totally different. For a lot of people fear is often the main reason for ignoring their teeth, and their dentist. Overcoming those fears proves challenging for both the patient and the dental office. The end result a lot of the time is missed dental appointments and poor oral health, but how can we work together to ensure optimal oral health and minimal dental anxiety?

A dentist in Texas may have found the answer…in beer and wine.

What is it about going to the dentist that has us acting like grade schoolers armed with an array of excuses at the ready?

Time management issues aside, if we ignore the proper care of our teeth and gums we could not only be doing irreparable harm to our movie star smiles, we could be endangering our overall health as well.

Is it just convenience, are we really too busy to ignore our teeth and gums or is it something else entirely?

According to dentalfearcentral.org, dental anxiety is a reaction to an unknown danger. Anxiety is extremely common, and most people experience some degree of dental anxiety especially if they’re about to have something done which they’ve never experienced before. Basically, it’s a fear of the unknown.

While dental anxiety is quite common, dental phobia is a more serious concern. Dental phobia is the serious, often paralyzing fear of seeking dental care. It has been reliably reported that 50% of the American population does not seek regular dental care. An estimated 9-15% of all Americans avoid much-needed dental care due to anxiety and fear surrounding the experience. This translates to some 30 – 40 million people so afraid of dental treatment that they avoid it altogether. (http://www.floss.com/fh_men_phobia)

If you know someone that is fearful of the dentist but could sure use a smile tune-up, don’t just ignore it anymore. Help them out and share some knowledge. Let them know it’s not really as bad as they think, but more importantly arm them with information to overcome their fears.

Deep breathing relaxation techniques can help anxious dental patients relax, and easy listening on the iPod to splendiferous aromatherapy can transform a dental appointment into a spa treatment for your teeth. Even for the most serious dental phobia, conscious and IV sedation dentistry methods have also become more popular as the dental world continually develops new ways to treat those dental phobic patients.

Communication and education are often the best prescription for dealing with dental anxiety. But how about the borderline dental anxiety sufferer, is there anything out there to possibly ease the pain and maybe take the edge off a bit?

Turns out a dentist in Texas has developed an entirely new pre-treatment regime for his anxious dental patients…he offers them a beer or a glass of wine before their appointment. Click here to see the local news story from WLBZ and see what all the buzz is about…then tell us what you think.

Would a beer or glass of wine improve your ‘dental experience?’