10 ways to overcome fear of the dentist

Girl frightened by dentists covers her mouth

Girl frightened by dentists covers her mouth

Dental fear is the fear of dentistry and of receiving dental care.   If that’s you, we’ve got some top tips to get you back in the dentist’s chair

Does the thought of going to the dentist give you anxiety? We want all our patients to feel as relaxed as possible. That’s why we’ve put together 10 tips and facts to take the fear out of your visit.

  1. You’re not alone!

Did you know one in four people have a fear of the dentist? Often, our fears are much scarier than the reality. We want to fix your pain, not cause it, which is why we invest in the best technology for a more pleasant patient experience. You can rest assured that you’ll feel much better after you leave than before you came in.

  1. Improving your smile, not ruining it

Unlike the gung-ho dentists of the past, we specialize in minimally invasive dentistry to ensure we don’t do more work than is necessary so you shouldn’t suffer from persistent problems. Remember that dental procedures have greatly improved in the past few years. Modern dentistry offers new methods and treatment options to make you feel comfortable.

  1. Talk it through with us

Your dentist can explain the entire procedure to you beforehand, as well as walk you through step-by-step while the procedure is being performed. You always have the right to fully understand the work being done on your teeth. Letting us know you have dental anxieties means we can make your visit as comfortable as possible and even talk through anesthesia options with you.

  1. First times aren’t so bad

Unless you’re in a lot of pain and need emergency treatment, your first visit will simply be a check-up of your teeth, gums and jaws. If you do need a little work, we’ll discuss it with you, answer all your questions and invite you back another day.

  1. Come for a clean

Visit the dentist regularly to prevent problems. For fearful patients, just going for a check up can be nerve-wracking, but the more you go to the dentist for routine cleanings, the more likely you are to avoid larger problems that result in extensive procedures. Why not book a cleaning with one of our friendly hygienists first?

  1. Stress relief

Breathe deeply and try to relax. Some dentists recommend practicing relaxation techniques before and during the appointment. Other dentists find that listening to music, or scheduling an appointment first thing in the morning, before the stresses of the day add up, also help patients to relax. Taking a few minutes to do this before your appointment can help balance your mind and settle your nerves.

  1. Go early

Book an early morning appointment so you have less time to get worked up during the day.

  1. Agree on a Signal

If you’re concerned about pain, devise a signal with your dentist so they know when to stop. Then they can give you a break if you need one and address any worries.

  1. Invite a friend

Does your fear make you feel alone or trapped? Bringing a friend or family member can give you the emotional support you need.

  1. Get support

When your fear of the dentist interferes with your life or stems from a generalized anxiety or medical disorder, speak to your GP. They can signpost you to counselling or other support services to help you tackle those stresses.

If you’re concerned your dental health, Square 1 Dental Center can help. We provide general family dentistry as well as cosmetic enhancements and restorative procedures. Contact us today at 905-270-7206 and make an appointment.

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Why Do We Have Morning Breath?

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Ever wonder why your breath smells after a night of sleep? Learn the common causes of halitosis and how you can best combat that sour morning mouth.

Does this sound familiar? You wake up in the morning and quickly cover your mouth with your hand so your partner doesn’t get a whiff of your bad breath. Morning breath, halitosis — whatever you call it, it can be unpleasant and it probably isn’t the way you want to greet your partner, or the day.

“Everyone has morning breath to some degree,” says Sally J. Cram, DDS, a periodontist in the Washington, D.C., area and a consumer adviser for the American Dental Association. Here’s the simple reason why: When you sleep, your mouth dries out. When your mouth dries out, odor-producing bacteria proliferate. “When you sleep, your normal flow of saliva decreases,” Dr. Cram explains. “That’s why your breath can be worse in the morning.”

If you snore or breathe through your mouth at night, you’re more likely to have bad breath in the morning than those who don’t, she adds. In both situations, your mouth is even more prone to drying out, setting the stage for bacteria to grow.

Other Causes of Bad Breath

Some medications can cause your mouth to become dry overnight, worsening your halitosis. That’s why older people, who are often on many medications, frequently find their breath more unpleasant in the morning.

Smokers also may find they have bad morning breath. Smoking not only causes your saliva — your natural mouth rinse — to dry up but also can raise the temperature of your mouth, making it a breeding ground for that dreaded bacteria that causes bad breath. Add this to your list of reasons to quit smoking.

Allergies, too, can lead to bad breath. The mucus that drips down the back of your throat becomes a food source for bacteria. Should your postnasal drip become infected, it can put more odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.

How to Treat Bad Breath

If you’re one of the 65 percent of Americans with halitosis, there’s good news: Bad breath is treatable.

Brush. Odor-causing bacteria accumulate between your teeth and on your tongue, so practicing good dental hygiene will do a lot to improve your morning breath.

When you brush, be sure to do so for at least two minutes, not the 35 or 40 seconds that many people do.

After you brush, go directly to bed! “Don’t eat or drink anything so you’re not leaving food in your mouth,” Cram says.

Also, when you brush your teeth, brush your tongue too. Another favorite repository for odor-causing bacteria is the back of your tongue. You’ll notice your breath is fresher in the morning if you brush your tongue before you go to bed.

“Eighty-five percent of bad breath comes from the tongue,” says New York dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS, the president and founder of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. “It really helps tremendously to use a tongue cleanser before you go to sleep, or anytime during the day.”

Floss. Brushing alone won’t remove the food particles that can become stuck between your teeth and gums. “Flossing is as important as brushing,” says Kimberly Harms, DDS, a dentist in Farmington, Minn., and a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association.

Rinse. Mouthwash will get rid of the odor but only temporarily. Cram suggests that when you are buying mouthwash to kill the germs that can cause bad breath, you look for one that has a seal of approval from the American Dental Association.

A quick swish won’t do it. If the directions say rinse for 30 seconds, then rinse for 30 seconds. “The mouth rinse has to be in there long enough to kill the bacteria,” Dr. Harms advises. “Rinse for five to ten seconds, you’re not getting the full effect. The trick is you have to follow directions.”

Source: https://t.co/BkX4YgPjF7

Why Visit the Dentist’s Office Every 6 Months?

Let’s talk about it.

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Oral health professionals recommend that their patients see them at least bi-yearly for a check-up and a cleaning. But why is this so? Today, we’re going to tell you why:

1. To discover issues in their early stages

Discovering dental issues sooner than later is imperative. If detected too late, the prognosis for certain problems won’t be as great as if they were detected earlier. One example of this would be tooth decay that’s discovered in its initial stages, when it simply appears as a chalky white spot and not a cavity, can often be reversed before needing a filling.

On the contrary, cavities that are detected too late might not be able to restored with just a filling – and may require root canal therapy instead, or worse, extraction.

The dentist will also be checking for signs of a nighttime teeth grinding habit, enamel damage, gum recession, oral cancer and any problem with your bite.

2. To keep the gums in top shape

Regular visits with the hygienist ensures that your teeth and gums are kept clean and plaque/tartar-free, and plays a big role in preventing gum disease. Special tools are used by the hygienist to scale and polish the teeth clean… something that can’t be achieved with brushing and flossing alone. With cleanings every 6 or so months, a patient will also be working to prevent any chronic bad breath… which no one wants, ever!

So, when’s the last time you’ve had a visit to the dental office? Always keep in mind that bi-yearly (or as necessary) check-ups and cleanings are totally worthwhile when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile for life!

Think it’s time to see us again? Call and schedule a visit today!

Your Eating Style and How It Affects Your Oral Health

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A patients’ smile not only depends on good oral hygiene practices to stay healthy and attractive – but it depends on healthy dietary habits, too! Today, let’s see how the way you eat might be influencing the state of your smile:

1. If your diet is high in sugar and carbohydrates…

If your diet includes a lot of sugars and carbs (cereals, breads pastas, juices, sodas), you aren’t exactly eating for your smile! Why is this? Well, the bacteria in your mouth use these kinds of foods and drinks to create acids that lead to tooth decay. Brushing and flossing after eating or drinking sugar or carbohydrate-based foods and drinks will go a long way in helping to protect your teeth.

2. If your diet includes a lot of acidic foods or drinks…

If citrusy fruits and juices or vinegar-based dressings are a common theme in your diet, you may want to beware that these very acidic substances have the ability to wear away at your valuable tooth enamel. Luckily, you can reduce the harm done by limiting your consumption of these acidic things, or at least after eating or drinking, swish some milk or water around in your mouth to neutralize the levels of acidity and ultimately help you prevent enamel damage.

3. If you happen to snack a lot throughout the day…

If you’re one to snack regularly throughout the day, especially on sugary or carby foods, it might be a smart idea to try and adjust your eating habits. Frequent snacking subjects the teeth to more instances of increased mouth acidity, ultimately leading to tooth decay. Eating larger portions less regularly, or incorporating more veggies as snacks will play a part in helping to protect your teeth.

Well… did you learn something new today? If your eating style might be having a negative impact on your oral health, making some simple changes shouldn’t be too challenging. And if it’s time for a routine appointment with the dentist and hygienist again, our Square One Dental team will be waiting for your call! Give us a ring.

Our Teeth Love Calcium…

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Have you been getting enough of it lately?

Calcium is one special mineral! When it comes to oral health, here are the benefits of calcium:

Calcium helps to prevent tooth decay

That’s right – chewing on a piece of cheese is not only delicious, but will actually help to reduce your risk of tooth decay. When we eat something that contains carbohydrates or sugar, the bacteria in our mouths create acid bacteria that are a threat to our enamel health. Calcium helps to bring the acidity down… so it’s a smart idea to consume cheese or a glass of milk after eating anything that isn’t dental-friendly.

Calcium helps to ensure gum health
There are studies that determined that healthier gums were associated with a sufficient calcium intake – and participants taking inadequate levels of calcium daily were much more likely to develop gum disease.
Check out one study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10960010

Where can I find calcium?

Calcium is present in many different food sources, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, soymilk, salmon (with bones), kale and other greens. You can also get your calcium from supplements in the form of tablets or chewables or capsules, but the most effective way for the body to receive calcium is from fresh produce containing the mineral. Also, make sure you’re also getting enough Vitamin D in your diet as well, which will ensure enough calcium is being absorbed by the body.

If you’ve been on a quest to improve your oral health, we definitely recommend incorporating a healthy amount of calcium into your diet.

A Smoke-Free 2017

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Do you smoke? This one’s for you.

It’s a well-known fact that smoking is one of the biggest oral health (and overall health) sins. But other than bad breath and stained teeth, what else does this addictive habit put a smoker at risk for?

Smokers are putting their smiles at risk in the following ways:

1. Periodontal disease
Smoking limits blood flow in the gums by narrowing the tiny blood vessels, boosting the risk for gum disease. It also brings down the oxygen levels in the blood, leading to slower healing from infection. Periodontal disease begins as “gingivitis” (a mild form) and if no proper changes are made, can advance to “periodontitis” (a severe form) – where tooth loss is a complication of the disease.

2. Cavities
Smoking contributes to dry mouth, which increases the risk of tooth decay. Dry mouth encourages an unhealthy oral environment by welcoming harmful bacteria. Adequate levels of saliva are needed to neutralize plaque acids, helping to prevent tooth decay.

3. Oral Cancer
Just one cigarette contains thousands of hazardous chemicals. Smoking drastically increases a person’s oral cancer risk, with the individual risk associated with how long and often a person’s smoked. Luckily, the risk can also be significantly reduced after a person quits.

Quitting is the only solution

We understand that it can be so challenging to put an end to such an addictive habit. But once a smoker tosses that last cigarette for good, the risk for all of these issues dramatically declines.

If you, a friend or a loved one is still having trouble quitting, there are many resources available to help. Speak with your doctor today to learn about how you can successfully kick the habit.

It’s ‘Dentistry True and False’ Time!

How Much Do You Know?

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What’s up, Square One patients and visitors? Are you ready to test your dental knowledge? Take this short and sweet quiz and see where you stand on the “dentally aware” scale!

See if you know which statements are true, and which are fibs:

1. After consuming sugary or acidic substances, it’s smart to brush the teeth directly after so that the bacteria has no time to do damage.

2. Cheese helps to prevent decay by neutralizing the mouth’s acidity.

3. Bone is the hardest substance in the body, next is tooth enamel.

4. Toothbrushes require replacement every month.

5. An ideal oral care routine involves brushing twice daily and flossing once daily.

6. Periodontitis often progresses to gingivitis if not treated.

7. Dental hygienists clean the teeth by “scaling and planing”

8. The whiter a tooth, the healthier it is.

Answers:

1. False. You should brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after consumption, because brushing can damage the temporarily softened enamel.

2. True. Cheese contains calcium that helps to bring down the level of cavity-causing acids in the mouth.

3. False. The hardest substance would be tooth enamel.

4. False. Toothbrushes need replacing about every three months, or when the bristled begin to fray.

5. True. How well have you been looking after your mouth?

6. False. Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, then periodontitis!

7. True. That’s what the process is technically called.

8. False. Yellow teeth can be healthy, in fact, yellowing and staining is typically a cosmetic issue.

Well, how many did you get right? We encourage you to let us know! Hope you’re having a great Thursday! – Your friends at Square One Dental