Archive: January 2016

Techniques to Handle Adult Dental Anxiety

We all know that dental health is very important, but for some adults, dental anxiety can hinder their ability to get necessary treatmentWith further understanding of dental anxiety, and with advanced dental care techniques, we can help patients feel more comfortable visiting the dentist

adult dental anxiety

How To Tackle Common Triggers

Needles are the #1 fear in the dental office. To help alleviate this fear, numbing alternatives such as topical anesthesia are used to help numb the gums in the area that will receive anesthesia. Dental Design Studio uses a device called The Wand to administer anesthesia. The Wand delivers a computer-regulated flow of anesthesia. This allows for a more comfortable numbing experience. Patients love The Wand! 

Some patients feel anxiety because they would like more control over their treatment. We encourage patients to play an active role in their dental care.  Our dentists, hygienists, assistants and office team are happy to walk you through your treatment plan and present all the options. You can feel free to ask anyquestions in order to feel better prepared. It can be calming to have open communication with your dentist and to walk through each step of the procedure. You can also develop signs or signals to indicate the need to stop during the procedure. 

If you’re worried that your current dental health is “embarrassing”- don’t be! Let us know about your dental health and history, even before your first visit. It’s understandable to feel anxious with someone working in your mouth, but getting everything out in the open can help ease fear of being judged, making you more relaxed for the care you need.

Preparation Is the Key!

Open communication with your dental team can go a long way in alleviating your fears, but self-preparation can also be empowering. Here are a few tips to stay calm throughout the visit. 

  • Meditate or practice breathing exercises before your visit
  • Wear comfortable clothing to your appointments
  • Bring calming activities, such as music, books or magazines, to distract you before and during dental treatment

Frequency is Important

The more you visit your dentist, the better you will feel over time – it may be difficult at first, but it will become easier as your dental treatments become more regular. Also, more frequent dental visits can help lower your chances for more invasive procedures. Regardless of your past experience, your oral health is worth working through your anxiety. You may be pleasantly surprised with the advancements in dental treatment and how relaxed and friendly your dental visit can be!

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Single Tooth Loss

Losing a tooth due to injury or decay can have big effects not only for the space previously occupied, but also for the surrounding teeth and gum tissue. Learn more about the aftermath of single tooth loss and what you should review with your dentist to reduce the risk of damage to gum tissue and mouth structure.


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The Causes of Teeth Grinding and Preventative Steps You Can Take

woman grinding teeth

Teeth grinding is more common than you may think! And it can come in many shapes and forms. While occasional grinding is unlikely to do any long-term damage, constant teeth grinding and/or clenching can affect your health in several ways.

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is difficult to diagnose because it most often occurs while sleeping in younger adults. But it can also occur in older adults subconsciously throughout the day, during periods of prolonged task focusing and problem solving. Symptoms are a dental issue, but the cause is more challenging to address. By understanding the cause and prevention of teeth grinding, you may be able to find relief from this pesky condition and thereby protect your teeth, oral muscles and jaw joints.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is characterized by the clenching and/or grinding of the teeth. The condition most often affects younger individuals at night, specified as sleep bruxism, but can also occur during the day. For many, it can go unnoticed until symptoms begin to surface, which include:

  • Teeth clenching or grinding, which is often loud enough to wake others
  • Flattened, chipped, fractured, or loose teeth
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Soreness or tightness in the jaw or face
  • Dull or extreme headache or earache
  • Ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus
  • Deep grooves along the gum line of your teeth caused by flexural forces from clenching/grinding

Why Does It Occur?

Several physical and psychological causes have come to the forefront:

  • Emotions – Stress (both good or bad), anxiety, frustration, or anger can trigger bruxism.
  • Focus or Coping Strategy – Some individuals clench or grind teeth to relieve pressure or help them focus. While this can happen during the daytime, most people are completely unaware that they’re doing it.
  • Oral Structure – Those with poor teeth alignment, also known as malocclusion, may develop bruxism.
  • Sleep Conditions – Individuals with sleep apnea may experience bruxism as part of their apnea condition.
  • Other Medical Issues – Grinding can also be caused from other medical disorders, by various anti-anxiety medications medications, or even acid reflux.

Three Major Treatment Options for Relief

Talk to your dentist about your teeth grinding – it can be a serious condition! Some young adults/children eventually “grow out” of the disorder, or there could be such minimal disruption such that no treatment is required.

If treatment is needed, there are several options available:

  • Dental Treatment – Dentists can make impressions for splints and mouth guards to prevent damage to your teeth. Your dentist can also determine if misalignment is causing your problems and, if so, offer appropriate treatment solutions.
  • Therapies – If bruxism is caused by stress factors, therapies such as stress management, behavior therapy, increased physical exercise and/or biofeedback may help address the underlying cause and reduce teeth grinding in the process.
  • Medication – While not common, bruxism can be treated with medication in some extreme cases. Doctors can sometimes prescribe medication or Botox injections to relax the muscles in prolonged spasm.

By understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatments of teeth grinding, you can find relief and protect your smile from damage. Treating bruxism can help you to rest easy knowing that teeth grinding is no longer wearing down your teeth or their supporting structures – and ensuring you keep a healthy smile for life!

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Dental Design Studio, LLC 561 Merchant Drive Norman, OK 73069 Phone: (405) 321-6166