Reducing Anxiety To Improve Your Oral Health
Everyone can follow three steps to maintain their oral health for life:
▸ Brush your teeth twice each day
▸ Floss between your teeth and gums every day
▸ Visit the dentist a few times each year for cleanings and examinations
How many of these things are you doing?
Most people brush their teeth regularly. Yet, an American Dental Association survey found that less than half of the population flosses their teeth on a daily basis.
And we know at our dentist office in Salem, OR, that many people avoid coming to the dentist. In some cases, this is because of dental anxiety.
We may not be able to eliminate your anxiety, but we believe that we can help you learn to manage it if you come to Oregon Smile Care Center. Then, you can receive the general dental care that you need to keep your mouth healthy.
Keep Your Mouth Healthy
Let’s review the basics quickly.
According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, scrub your teeth on all sides. Brush your tongue when you are finished.
At least once per day, floss between your teeth and gums to remove bacteria and plaque from the places that you can’t reach with your toothbrush.
If you have difficulty using dental floss, talk to us about alternatives like flossers and water flossers.
The third step is just as important even though you don’t need to do it as often. When you come to the dentist office, two things will happen.
We will examine your teeth. We will look for any changes in the alignment of your teeth. We will watch for signs of tooth decay and periodontal disease. If we see anything, we will recommend a treatment that will eliminate the problem.
We also will give your mouth a professional cleaning. This will remove any plaque or tartar buildup that you may have missed, and we will polish your teeth when we are finished.
To further protect against cavities, you may want to take advantage of our dental sealants (which create a barrier over the teeth that are most vulnerable to tooth decay) and fluoride treatments to strengthen your enamel.
Managing Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety is a real condition that affects many people across Oregon. You may have had a bad experience with a previous dentist. You may have a fear of needles or a sensitive gag reflex.
All of these are valid reasons to feel anxious. Unfortunately, they could be contributing to oral health problems.
Some people with dental anxiety will overcompensate by brushing too often or too hard. This can cause you to damage your gum tissue or to wear down your enamel. These could increase your risk for periodontal disease and cavities, which is the opposite of what you want to do.
Too often, people with dental anxiety wind up with a dental emergency, which may add to their anxiety.
Many dentist offices use sedation dentistry (effectively putting you to sleep throughout your treatment), we prefer a different approach.
We do a number of things to make your experience as relaxing and comfortable as possible. We have found this will go a long way toward easing your anxiety — not in a single visit, but over time.
From experience, we have learned that talking about procedures in advance can go a long way toward helping patients feel more comfortable. We want to answer any of your questions so you understand what we are doing and why.
We also offer longer appointments. You might be surprised how beneficial this can be. If you know that you can take a break when you need one, then you may feel more comfortable receiving dental care a little at a time.
We do provide local anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain during certain procedures.
We also offer comfort options (such as televisions and music), which can make your visits more pleasant while distracting you from the treatment you are receiving.
We can provide anti-anxiety medication if absolutely necessary, but our goal is to help you gradually feel comfortable coming to see us for your routine procedures.
We Are Here For You
Always remember, the staff at Oregon Smile Care Center is here to support you. We want to answer any questions you may have, and we want to work with you to make your dental care manageable.
Who knows, with time and patience, you may start to look forward to coming to our dentist office in Salem, OR.
If you would like to learn more about our practice or you are ready to schedule a cleaning and examination, call (503) 809-4784 or fill out our online form.