Preventing Dental Anxiety

One of the most common yet unnecessary fears people hold is that of the dentist. Often times this fear stems from a bad previous experience, but this doesn’t need to define your future with dental work. The consequences of avoiding the dentist are far greater than you may realize. Make the necessary changes to prevent dental anxiety, ensuring a positive experience.

 

The Root of the Problem

 

There are different levels of dental anxiety with some so bad that they often lose sleep over the very thought of the dentist. This fear is most common in older people who have lived through some of the less advanced methods of oral care. It is important to recognize that much has changed in the past few decades, making dental care safer, more comfortable, and all around better. If you have had a previous bad experience with the dentist, don’t let that define your future oral care.

 

Communication

 
 

 
Any good relationship requires communication to be successful, and the dentist is no different. To better understand and defeat your dental anxiety, have an open conversation with your dentist, letting them know your fears. This will help your dentist understand why you are nervous, and provide solutions to these fears. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you are fearful, you are definitely not alone, and not even in the minority.

 

Sedation Dentistry

 
 

 
The stress can be just too much for some people. In these cases, sedation dentistry may be the best or only option. This gives you a medicated escape while the procedure is going on, helping to rid your experience of discomfort and anxiety. While most people won’t need their dental appointments to go this far, it is a possible option to discuss with your dentist.

 

Distract Yourself

 
 

 
Most dentist offices will offer entertainment to their patients to help take their minds away from the treatment. Don’t reject this service, instead use the headphones and television programs to distract yourself from the procedures happening in your mouth. Even just letting yourself daydream can be a welcomed distraction from the dental procedures.

 

Bring Someone You Trust

 
 

 
If you are still dreading your visit to the dentist, bring a trusted friend or family member with you for the first appointment. This familiar face can be a great comfort while you are in the dental chair, and can even work as a distraction to keep your mind off the work at hand. Talk with someone you feel close to and ask them to fill this role.


Don’t let your past dental anxieties have an impact on your future oral health. There are things you can do to make visiting the dentist a better experience. Make an effort, and understand that some of the fears you are experiencing may not even be relevant anymore.


Don’t Forget Your Dental Benefits!

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Another wonderful year is coming to a close. We have enjoyed getting to know each of our patients better throughout the past year and look forward to our visits! As we get closer to 2015, it is important to look at your insurance benefits still available for the 2014 calendar year. We have sent out letters to those who, according to our records, still have these benefits available to them and must use by the end of the year. If you have received one of these letters, it is time to start looking at your options for the end of the year.

 

Check your records and see what benefits you have left in your insurance plan. These advantages can be used for regularly scheduled visits, or more advanced treatment. If we have talked through a treatment plan with you, let’s get you in to complete the work, benefiting your oral health and subsequently your overall health. We look forward to working with each of our patients, helping them achieve their ultimate health goals. Together we can help you achieve these oral health goals by the end of the year, or at least gain significant headway in the process.

 

Don’t let these important dental health benefits go to waste by waiting too long, we want to work with you to take full advantage of these! Call our office to schedule your treatment as soon as possible. We want all our patients to know just how much we value your trust in our services, and your loyalty to our practice. It is an honor and pleasure to be on your healthcare team.


Don’t wait another year, schedule your appointment with Dr. Thomas today: 801-322-4900


4 Things You Didn’t Know About Dentistry

We all know to brush our teeth and floss twice a day, and go to the dentist every six months, but how much beyond that do we know about dentistry, our teeth, and how it all works? Take a deeper look at the dentist with these four little known facts about dentistry. You might be surprised just how important your oral health is to the overall well being of your body.

 

Dental Health is Connected to your Overall Health

 

Our mouths can be a good indicator of our overall health. Similarly, the care we give to our teeth have the potential to directly affect the health of our body. When you visit your dentist for a six month checkup, your dentist will look for gum disease, cavities, and plaque that have manifest themselves over the past few months. When not properly taken care of, these problems can lead to greater issues down the road, even leading to heart problems. Get rid of the oral bacteria that can cause great problems, schedule your six month appointment.

 

Oral Cancer is Common

 

 

One of the tragedies of cancer is that when caught early, there are many types that can be stopped before it progresses too far. Oral cancer can be detected early with the right training and know how of what to look for. Your dentist is doing more than just cleaning at your six month checkup, he is actively checking for cancer in your mouth, looking for the most common signs and symptoms. By getting this checked on a regular basis, it will be easier for you to deal with the problem should it arise.

 

Gum Disease

 

 

Going to the dentist will help you to identify gum disease, as well as the ways to best rid your mouth of it. While you may think that this is a problem that only plagues a few, take note that more than three fourths of Americans have gum disease in some way. It is the top cause of tooth loss for adults 35 years of age or older.

 

The Sooner the Better

 

There are some illnesses that can be waited out until they get better, such as the common cold. When it comes to dental problems, the opposite is true. A cavity will not fix itself on its own, instead needing treatment to mend. The sooner you get in to see the dentist, the easier it will be for treatment to occur. If you have a toothache that just won’t seem to go away, schedule an appointment immediately to fix it.

These four little known things about the dentist can be just what you need to encourage you to set your next dental appointment. By getting it to the dentist when necessary, you will keep your mouth and your body healthy and strong.


Dental Restoration Procedures: Dental Implants

For people who have experienced tooth loss, replacing teeth is extremely important. One common method of replacing lost teeth is through a dental restoration procedure that uses dental implants. These are devices implanted within the bone of the jaw as a root device to mimic the root of a tooth and eventually fuse with the bone to replace teeth, anchor tooth movement, and supplement a dental prosthesis, like a bridge, dentures, or crown. The implant is meant to function as and resemble an actual tooth, and this procedure can be a positive solution to replace lost teeth. Here is a look at some of the advantages of these procedures.

 

The Implant Procedure

 

Like any medical procedure, the exact nature of the process will be unique to the individual. For dental implant procedures, the first step typically involves personalizing a treatment plan and assessing your individual mouth. The root implant is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. This implant is simply a titanium post that will eventually fuse with the jawbone. The implant will be anchored in the jawbone, and as it heals, the implant will become fused to the jaw. This healing process normally takes six to twelve weeks. After the implant has fused to the jawbone, a connector post is attached to the implant post to hold the new ‘tooth’. The dentist will then take impressions of your teeth and make a model of your bite for suitability of the implants for your mouth.

 

The final step to the process involves attaching the crown replacement tooth to the post that has been fused to the jawbone. The new tooth is then matched in color to the rest of your teeth. After an adjustment period, the dental implant should look, feel, and function like a natural tooth. Maintaining dental implants is the same as general dental care–brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.

 

Restoration Advantages

 

Dental implants can offer a variety of advantages to those recovering from tooth loss. Since implants are designed to fuse with the jaw bone, they eventually become permanent teeth. For those missing teeth, implants have the advantage of looking like natural teeth in addition to functioning like real teeth over time. For those who previously had dentures, dental implants can markedly improve speech since the implants function as embedded teeth. For function, implants will also enable more natural chewing compared to dentures.
Dental implants avoids affecting nearby teeth like tooth supporting bridging. Neighboring teeth are not altered to support the implant, so there is more access between teeth to allow for easier cleaning and improved oral hygiene. For total tooth loss, implants can be a more natural, comfortable, and durable alternative than removable dentures. With consistent, positive oral care, dental implants can last a lifetime.


Common Oral Diseases: Gingivitis

Oral Diseases GingivitisWhen dealing with your overall well being, there are a few common oral diseases that can be damaging to not only your mouth, but your entire body. One of the most common periodontal diseases is gingivitis, which can come in a couple of different forms. Learn more about the identification and treatment of gingivitis to rid your mouth of this disease.

 

What is Gingivitis?

 

 

Gingivitis is when the gums directly surrounding the teeth become inflamed. This is just one of many periodontal diseases that have a direct impact on the periodontium, better known as the tissue surrounding the teeth, soft tissues, and bones in this area. When left to fester, gingivitis will cause the gums to recede, damaging the teeth.

 

The Cause

 

 

Most commonly gingivitis is caused by poor oral hygiene, but there can be some genetic factors linked as well. Because of this it is important for everyone to practice good dental habits. This includes brushing a minimum of twice a day, flossing every day, and visiting the dentist every six months for checkups. These practices together will help reduce your chances for gingivitis.

 

The Symptoms

 

 

There is a great difference between gums that are healthy and gums that have gingivitis. It is very rare that this disease will be coupled with pain, meaning the other symptoms must be looked for and stopped before they progress:

 

  • Swollen gums
  • The gums appear to be receding
  • Soft puffed up gums
  • The gums will be slightly tender at times
  • When you floss, the gums bleed easily
  • The gums will turn darker red than the normal healthy pink
  • Halitosis

 

If you notice any of these symptoms arising, seek the help of your dentist before they have the chance to get worse. Catching gingivitis early is the best way to eliminate the most frustrating problems associated.

 

Solutions

 

 

The symptoms of gingivitis can often be countered through early detection and treatment. With the help of your dentist, these steps will effectively rid your mouth of this periodontal diseases, and the damaging symptoms it will bring. First, see the dentist to identify that this is the real problem at hand. If so, your dentist will be able to remove the plaque that has built up. After this checkup continue to brush and floss normally, ensuring the plaque does not have the chance to build up again.
Gingivitis is one of many different types of oral diseases. Take better care of your mouth through good oral habits. By brushing and flossing on a regular basis, you can significantly lower your chances for this disease, keeping your mouth healthy.


Top 5 Dental Apps

Dental Apps

Running a dental practice in the digital age requires taking maximum advantage of the latest dental apps for mobile devices. These range of apps serve many purposes–from educating patients to streamlining administrative processes for your practice. There are a diversity of apps ranging in price, with many useful apps available for free. Here is a look at some of the top dental apps to help make your dental practice more efficient.

 

1. DDS GP

 

This app centers on patient education and demonstration, allowing a dentist to illustrate the effects of a variety of dental conditions over time. As an app that raises patient awareness about a host of dental conditions, this tool can prove extremely valuable for dental professionals. With over 200 demonstrations, the app allows dentists to draw directly on screen, save drawings, add images to a library, and create and send individual treatment plans for patients. The app costs $400 and is available for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

 

2. CDT Code Check

 

The Code Check app allows dentists and staff to reference procedural codes when a hard copy of the CDT manual isn’t available. For dentists who divide their time between offices, this can be a very useful app, and at $20 it is a cost effective app for your practice. Developed by the American Dental Association, all CDT codes are searchable by category of service, code number, and keyword. A full listing of CDT codes and new and revised code showing changes is also featured.

 

3. Lexi-Dental Complete

 

This app is a resource dental library including: drug information and effects, patient resources, laboratory and diagnostic procedure information, natural product information, dental conditions, a dental emergency handbook, a Stedman’s medical dictionary, and a variety of other resources. For a complete office reference, this app is highly useful. This app is priced at $285/year and can be downloaded free on a 3 day trial for iPhone, iPad touch, iPad, and Android powered devices.

 

4. iRomexis

 

This is a free 2D and 3D mobile image viewer app for the iPad and iPhone. The app is designed to display images generated by Planmeca X-ray units. These images can be easily used for patient education and consultations with colleagues in a convenient, portable medium. Patient images can be categorized with the app and easily shared among mobile devices. The app also allows for image contrast and brightness adjustments, zoom, and numerous other image editing and viewing functions.

 

5. MyDentist

 

This is the app for interacting, connecting, and transacting with patients. Patients can use MyDentist to contact your office, request an appointment, and access pre and postoperative information. This app helps ensure that patients are getting the best quality and most informed service possible. The app even has GPS to help patients locate your offices. Additionally, MyDentist app allows patients to refer other patients to you directly from the app. The app is on the higher end of pricing at $200 to set up and $90/month, but is rich in features to make your practice more efficient and help generate new business. It is available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.


Ancient Dentistry: Origins and Advancements

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Going to the dentist to have your teeth checked out or a problem corrected was, for much of human history, much different than it is today. Evidence of dentistry goes back as far as 7000 B.C.E and the ancient Egyptians and Greeks developed extensive understandings of the development of teeth, treating tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth extractions as a basis for the study and practice of dentistry. By today’s standards, these understandings and practices are extremely crude and even intimidating given the potential for pain and infection in many procedures. The science and profession of what we know as modern dentistry wouldn’t develop and begin to emerge until well into the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Nevertheless, human tooth care has fascinating origins.

 

Early Dental Care

 

 

The earliest form of dentistry involved attempting to treat and cure tooth related disorders using ancient drilling tools known as bow drills–commonly used to start fires. The earliest example of a dental filling was made of beeswax and was dated to 6500 years ago. Ancient Egyptians further developed dental care by developing treatments for minor problems and eventually evolving into treating more complex procedures by performing dental surgeries. The Etruscans and Greeks both pioneered new methods of treating dental problems and correcting irregularities using procedures like fillings, early braces, and even prosthetics.

 

Infection from cavities was a serious risk and could often mean a lifetime of pain or even death, so treating cavities by filling the tooth with beeswax and sometimes linen cloth soaked in medicine to ease pain was common. The living and eating habits of these ancient societies made things like wear of the teeth common–though in the absence of refined carbohydrates, cavities were less common. Coarse diets caused the teeth to wear extensively–exposing the pulp of the tooth at times with infection resulting. Gum disease was also a serious problem since teeth cleaning and preventative care were essentially non-existent. Still, dental care was performed and there is notable evidence of complex procedures like restorative dentistry where missing teeth were restored and bound with gold wire.

 

Modern Advancements

 

Dentistry today is a highly specialized, technologically advanced profession capable of addressing any dental and maxillofacial problem. Dentistry for a significant portion of human history was a painful and, at times, life threatening affair. Crude medical instruments, difficult procedures, limited understanding, and lack of anesthetic carried a serious risk of infection, pain, and even death. With time, advancements in education and tools would eliminate many of these complications, but the process was slow until the 18th and 19th centuries. Developing dental instruments, prosthesis capabilities, braces, and improved anesthetics enabled dentistry as we know it today to take hold and progress quickly over the past 250 years or so.


Four Facts About Flossing

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We’ve all heard how important flossing is for our dental health, but do we really know just how critical it truly is? Check out these four fast facts about flossing to understand just how big of an impact flossing can have on your teeth. Even if you feel you don’t have time to floss, make an effort to floss after you brush. While three to five minutes per day is ideal, even just spending sixty seconds will be much better than forgoing flossing at all.

 

1. Flossing is the Most Important Way to Prevent Gum Problems

 

 

An astonishing number of people suffer from gum disease and other gum problems on some level or another. These problems may not happen all at once but will develop slowly over time, creating a more painful situation for you in the end. After you eat, small food particles can lodge themselves into tight spaces between the teeth resting along the gum. Some of these areas are where toothbrushes cannot reach, making it impossible to get without flossing. If this plaque is left to fester it will turn into tartar which can lead to problems such as gingivitis. Don’t let it get to this point, instead floss before your teeth can be affected.

 

2. Flossing Can be More Effective Than Brushing

 

 

While most people report brushing their teeth on a regular basis, an alarming number don’t couple this with flossing. Flossing is just as important if not more so than just brushing. Floss is made to get between the tight spaces where food debris is more likely to reside. These are places that the toothbrush cannot reach, and should be taken care of before plaque can do its damage. When it comes to taking care of your teeth, flossing should be a top priority.

 

3. There is More Than One Type of Floss

 

 

In addition to different brands, there are other variations among the different types of floss. These vary between waxed or unwaxed, wide or regular, flavored or unflavored, and more. Each of these types will effectively work and are mostly selected by a matter of preference. When choosing between the different types of dental floss, keep these things in mind:

 

  • For those who have bridgework, wide floss may be better. This is also a better solution for those who have bigger gaps between their teeth as it will more effectively get between every necessary area.
  • Those who have unusually close together teeth would do better with waxed floss as it is easier to slide between the teeth.
  • If you are uncertain as to whether you are effectively cleaning the plaque from your teeth, unwaxed floss may be the best option for you. This will squeak once it is placed against cleaned teeth.

 

No matter what type of floss you choose to use, make sure to use it daily to get the best results.

 

4. There Are Solutions for Those Who Have a Hard Time With Traditional Floss

 

One of the main reasons people choose not to floss their teeth is a matter of difficulty. Traditional floss requires the use of both hands, manipulating it back across all the teeth seems too difficult for many. There are other methods that can be used such as a battery-operated electric flosser. This contains a floss string that will vibrate between the teeth. In addition to this, there are Y shaped tools with a piece of floss between them to more easily navigate between the teeth using one hand. These can be cheap and effective solutions to your flossing problems.


Dental Technologies

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As our understanding of technology progresses, these methods become increasingly important in the medical fields. Each of these help to identify and correct problems before they have a chance to start, keeping more people healthy through preventative methods. Take a look at some of the tactics that are used by Dr. Allan S. Thomas and his office, in particular how these technologies are helping to keep your oral health in the best condition possible. Through these dental technologies found in our office, we are more easily able to identify and correct any problems that may be lurking here.

 

Intraoral Camera

 

There is only so much we can see in your mouth without taking images to get a deeper look. With an intraoral camera we are able to get moving images in colors from the inside of your mouth, and display what we find on a monitor for both Dr. Thomas and you to see. In this way you can be much more involved in the dental process as Dr. Thomas can show you what he has found and what that means for your mouth. The intraoral camera will give you a better picture of where your dental health stands and how to correct any problems.

 

Ultrasonic Scaler

 

While to some this may not seem like a “technology” per se, the changes made here have helped improve the way we are able to clean your teeth during an appointment. This works by delivering a controlled high-pressure force of water to remove plaque from the teeth. This is more comfortable and faster than previous methods that have been used for cleaning teeth.

 

Laser Dentistry

 

The laser dentistry that we now have is able to deliver teeth whitening, better oral hygiene care, decay removal, treatment of the gums, and sealant in a more comfortable way. Many times these treatments resulted in some of the most severe fears of the dentist, leading many to dread their time spent in the dental office. Now this technology will help you to spend less time at our office, yet feeling more comfortable through the whole procedure.

 

Digital X-Rays

 

X-ray technology has greatly improved since it was first introduced into the dental field. Now these digital x-rays are able to better capture the electronic dental image of a person’s mouth using an electronic sensor instead of using x-ray film.Because these systems use about 90% less radiation they will be a healthier option.
There have been many changes in dental technology that have taken place over the years. As these changes continue to take place, dental appointments will be made easier for everyone, helping to find the best solution.