As a dentist with a reputation for patient comfort, we occasionally see a new patient who is ‘forced’ into dental care because the pain has become so severe he or she can no longer avoid treatment. Sadly, many have already lost natural teeth and are at risk of losing more. Most have some level of gum disease.
When teeth are lost, a destructive cycle begins. It is a fact that, when a tooth is lost, the next you’ll lose is one adjacent. Too, natural tooth roots nurture and stimulate the jaw bone that supports them. When a tooth root no longer exists, the bone goes through a process known as ‘resorption.’ This is a shrinking of bone mass that can affect the health of neighboring teeth and contribute to changes in facial appearance.
A declining jaw bone leads to deep wrinkling around the mouth and jowls that form from the detachment of facial muscles. Bone loss also causes the mouth to appear collapsed into the face and the chin to point. This creates what is referred to as a ‘granny look.’
In addition to a higher risk of tooth loss, adults who avoid dentistry are at higher risk of gum disease. Periodontal disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Even worse, the infectious bacteria of gum disease can become bloodborne through tears in weakened gum tissues.
Research has found the bacteria of gum disease can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This potent bacteria has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers, preterm babies, memory loss and erectile dysfunction (ED).
A healthy smile is good for you, inside and out! In addition to supporting your overall health, studies have shown that smiling causes the release of endorphins, the brain’s ‘happy’ chemical. And, this occurs even when you ‘fake’ a smile. Too, people who smile frequently are estimated to add up to seven years to their lifespans.
A number of studies have been conducted over the years to show the power of a smile. (See: http://www.naturalhealth365.com/smiling.html/ for a summary of several). Yet, smiling occurs easily when an individual feels good about how their smile looks. When a smile is clean and healthy, it’s easy to smile even if some ‘flaws’ exist (such as gapped, crooked or chipped teeth).
My team and I pride ourselves on our commitment to combine exceptional care with a gentle touch. For patients who have high levels of fear, however, it is a challenge to just walk in the front door. During consultations, it is not uncommon for both men and women to become tearful as they recall traumatic experiences in a dental chair. These memories are so deeply embedded that many will endure severe pain rather than see a dentist.
Dental fear is nothing to be ashamed of and can be overcome. We realize that perceived pain can seem just as real as actual pain for those who had traumatic episodes in the past. However, we know that these fears can be overcome by many. We have hundreds of once fearful patients who now walk in with a smile and leave smiling, knowing their oral health is in excellent shape. You, too, can achieve this regardless of your level of fear.
For many anxious or fearful patients, we add Oral Sedation to treatment. This provides total relaxation during treatment and is helpful for patients who have lengthy appointments. For a deeper level of sedation, some patients prefer I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep). This requires a longer recovery time but allows patients to sleep through their visits. Both sedation options erase most or all memory of treatment afterwards.
No matter what your fear level, you can rest assured that your comfort is always a priority in our office. We want you to feel relaxed before, during and after your visit. And, like many of our formerly fearful patients, we know you can achieve a healthy, confident smile without having a white-knuckled experience!
Begin by calling toll free 1-877-966-9009 to arrange a no-cost consultation. This is a friendly discussion in our private consultation room, which is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, comfort options will be discussed as well as how we can structure your care at a pace that’s comfortable for you.
Don’t let your fears destroy your smile. In the right hands, you can achieve the healthy, attractive smile you’ve imagined.