While some people are scared of spiders, the ocean, and small spaces, there are others who are scared of going to the dentist. It’s actually a very common phobia, but while those who fear spiders can generally avoid them and it doesn’t cause any harm to their health, people who don’t visit the dentist due to fear unfortunately may suffer some consequences. Luckily, more and more dentist offices are now offering solutions for people who are fearful or anxious of the dentist in the form of dental sedation.

The amount of anxiety or fear a person has about the dentist can determine what kind of sedation will be used, and will also decide whether or not you’ll need to bring someone along with you. There are three main types of sedation, including:

Laughing Gas

Commonly known as nitrous oxide to healthcare workers, this method does not require any assistance from another person in your family or circle of friends because of its short effect. This method is useful for those individuals who only have mild anxiety as you will be awake and aware for the procedure, but relaxed.

 Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is sometimes used on top of laughing gas, but it can also be used on its own. This method requires the patient to take an oral sedative the night before their procedure, as well as another one hour before. Oral sedation makes the patient very relaxed and fuzzy, but still conscious, but it works so well that patients sometimes don’t even remember being at the dentist. Due to its nature as well as some side effects, patients who opt to go down this route require someone to drive them to and from the dental office. This method is useful for those with a higher level of anxiety.

IV Sedation

For patients with extreme and crippling anxiety of the dentist, IV sedation is their best option. There are two forms of IV sedation, the most common one being “twilight” sedation. This method puts the patient into a very sleepy state so they are still conscious, but completely unaware of their surroundings. However, if a dentist needs to rouse a patient for any reason, it is very easy to do so.

Only specialized dental clinics and hospitals offer the next form, known as general anesthesia. This is the same method that doctors use when their patients undergo surgery and therefore, this method requires an anaesthesiologist to be present as the patient will be totally unconscious and the dentist can not monitor vitals and perform their other tasks at the same time. Both forms of IV sedation require a patient to have someone to drive them home. However, depending on age and other factors, some patients may not even be cleared for this form of sedation, so it is generally not used or recommended. A chat with your dentist will be able to determine the right type of sedation for you.

With Halloween out of the way, it’ll be only a couple short months before the New Year is here, which means it’s time to start on those New Year Resolutions. If you’re having trouble starting a list, how about this one: if you’re unhappy with your current dentist, switch it! But maybe you’ve been with your old dentist for so long, you don’t know where to start looking. Luckily, we have some tips for you so you can decide whether or not your new dentist is right for you. Here are 7 things to consider before choosing a dentist.

CLEANLINESS: Any place where a medical service is performed should be held to the highest of sanitation and cleanliness standards. 

THE STAFF: You can immediately tell this one by a simple phone call or by walking into the office itself. The receptionists are your first point of contact and should be friendly and inviting towards you.

 THE DENTIST: One of the most important things to consider when choosing your next dental practice is the dentist themselves. Does he or she pride themselves on providing the best patient treatment? Are they specialized in other areas besides general dentistry. The more qualifications a dentist has, the better.

INSURANCE POLICY: Does this dental office see your insurance provider as a valid one? Not all services will be covered by insurance and different offices have different policies. Avoid having to pay out of pocket and double check before booking an appointment.

TECHNOLOGY: How are the machines and tools that dentists use? Are they the latest models or are they looking a little prehistoric/ As time rolls on, technology advances to make our lives better, so dentists should also be keeping up with the times and upgrade their machines whenever possible.

CONTINUING EDUCATION: Does the office pride itself on keeping their staff continuously updated on all the latest advancements? There’s always something new to learn, and a good dental office will put in the time and money to ensure their staff are well aware of the new practices and procedures.

COMFORT: Are there services available to those who suffer from dental anxiety? Not all dental offices will offer sedation services if they’re not qualified. If you suffer from dental anxiety, be sure to double check and see what is available to you.

Tooth decay can happen in a number of ways and a surefire way to restore a tooth that has undergone decay is to receive a filling. Fillings also prevent future decay to the tooth as it seals off the area where bacteria can grow and spread and cause more damage. To seal it off, dentists will use one of four materials. But which one is best? Which one is the most affordable? Let’s find out.

The material that is used for your filling all depends on a few factors. How bad is the decay? Do you have any allergies to the materials being used? Are you on a certain budget? Where in your mouth are you going to be getting the filling? All of these will help determine the type of filling that you recieve.

Amalgam fillings are the most common ones that you see, mostly because they stand out with their silver sheen, but also because they are relatively inexpensive compared to the other materials. However, because of their noticeability, they are discouraged for use on frontal teeth.

Gold fillings are the most expensive out of all of the materials, but have a very low allergic reaction rate and are known to last over 20 years. The only downside besides the cost is that it requires you to visit the dentist multiple times.

Composite fillings are generally used for teeth where amalgam and gold are not suitable because of their natural appearance. However, because of this, they are prone to staining from coffee, wine, and tobacco and only last about 10 years.

For larger areas of decay, a crown may be recommended instead.

For teeth where bacteria has reached the nerve of the tooth, root canal therapy may need to be done first before a filling is placed.

If you suspect that you have a cavity and are in need of a filling, or have questions about other services we offer, book an appointment with us and come in for a consultation.

Along with brushing and flossing, using mouthwash should be part of your oral health routine to prevent gingivitis, gum disease, and to keep your breath smelling fresh, just to name a couple benefits. Along with these, here are four benefits of using mouthwash and why it should hold a space in your bathroom cabinet.

  1. Preventing Plaque Build-Up: The keyword here is build-up. Regular use can stop plaque from forming and hardening on your teeth, but it is not a miracle worker and cannot remove the plaque that is already there and solidified. Therefore, regular brushing, flossing, and a trip to the dentist is needed to remove the existing plaque. Mouthwash is still a great preventative tool to use afterwards to prevent the issue from happening again.
  2. Makes Brushing and Flossing More Effective: People commonly use mouthwash after brushing and flossing their teeth, but did you know that it can be beneficial to use it before brushing and flossing? This is because mouthwash has the ability to remove particles that are trapped in between your teeth, making them much easier to remove and not get left behind when you move on to brushing and flossing. 
  3. Freshens Your Breath: Mouthwash can freshen your breath instantly as it contains ingredients that target and eliminate the bacteria associated with foul-smelling breath. Be careful not to use it too much as your breath refresher, as most mouthwashes contain alcohol and can dry out with your mouth with excessive use.
  4. Prevents Cavities: Regular use of mouthwash can prevent cavities from forming, especially the ones that contain fluoride as fluoride strengthens the enamel of the teeth, making them less likely to weaken and become more susceptible to cavities. If your main goal with mouthwash is to prevent cavities, make sure you read the label and find one that contains fluoride.

Confused on which mouthwash might be best for you? Speak with your dentist and they’ll be able to guide you to the right one to fit your oral healthcare needs.

You’ve heard of the traditional plastic brushes, you’ve heard of electric toothbrushes, you’ve seen wooden toothbrushes, but…have you heard of silicone toothbrushes? While traditional toothbrushes use nylon bristles, these new silicone toothbrushes remove the nylon altogether and replace it with silicone. But do these silicone toothbrushes live up to the hype, or are they ineffective against fighting plaque and gingivitis?

The silicone bristles that you find on silicone toothbrushes are similar in size to the regular bristles that you would find on a traditional toothbrush. They function the same way as well, cleaning between the teeth and removing particles along the gumline. For electric toothbrush users, the silicone toothbrush also comes in an electric form. 

As for whether it fares to the competition on the market, yes it does. In fact, using the rubber tipped toothbrush may actually be better and softer on your gums, while still providing the right amount of cleaning power that you need from a toothbrush. However, because of their newness on the market, more studies are needed to see if they truly are better in the long run than the traditional variety.

Silicone toothbrushes are not entirely new, though. In fact, they’ve been on the market for quite some time, just not in the form that we’re used to seeing. Silicone toothbrushes are popular amongst parents to use on their babies and young children both for cleaning and teething purposes because they massage the gums and work to lessen discomfort.

Whatever toothbrush you happen to stock in your bathroom cabinet, be sure to follow the recommended guidelines of brushing at least twice a day, followed by flossing and a good mouth wash for a healthy smile. If you’re not sure which toothbrush you should be using, ask your dentist the next time you go in for a cleaning.

None of us are strangers to jaw pain. It can come on suddenly with seemingly no cause, or develop slowly over time. Whatever the case may be for your situation, more than likely, it has something to do with your temporomandibular joints (TMJ). If you experience any jaw pain, report this change to your dentist as they will be able to diagnose the cause and formulate a treatment plan to alleviate you of your pain, and educate you on how you can prevent it from happening again.

Your TMJ are located on either side of your mouth and serve the purpose of connecting your mandible, commonly known as the lower jaw, to the skull. Although your TMJ are able to move freely so you can do daily tasks such as eating and speaking, overuse or trauma to the area can make your TMJ click and slide out of place, which in most cases can be painful and require medical attention.

Although the joint itself is abbreviated to TMJ, when your TMJ is diagnosed as having a problem, it becomes abbreviated to TMD, standing for temporomandibular disorder.

Causes of TMD

Trauma: As mentioned above, trauma is one of the main causes of TMD and can vary in severity from slight clicking and popping to painful sliding and constant dislocation.

Bruxism: Also known as teeth grinding, putting pressure on your TMJ can cause jaw pain.

Arthritis: Diseases and conditions which cause joint pain can aggravate your TMJ, even if no trauma has occurred.

Nerve Damage: Should the nerves by the TMJ become damaged, the pain will manifest itself in the jaw.

Improperly Fitted Dental Devices: Devices such as dentures, retainers, and braces, when installed incorrectly, can cause jaw pain.

Symptoms of TMD

Besides the obvious one being jaw pain, those who suffer from TMD have reported the following symptoms that coincide with their jaw pain, including:

  • Headaches ranging from mild up to severe migraines
  • Limited movement in the lower jaw including jaw locking, sliding, and popping.
  • Difficulty performing tasks such as talking and eating food.

Contact your local dentist in the event that you experience any of the symptoms accompanying your jaw pain.

Treatment of TMD

As there are several causes to TMD, there are many treatment options to correct the condition. In order to reach the correct diagnosis, your dentist may order x rays, blood tests, and MRI’s to get an accurate read. Once a solid diagnosis has been made, the treatment plan can be created and put into action.

Depending on the severity and nature of the TMD, treatment may be as simple as going through a dose of antibiotics, but there are other courses of treatment as well including, mouth guards, steroid injections, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and even surgery in the most severe cases.

If you suspect that you have TMD, please contact us to schedule your free consultation by calling  805-486-6327, or by visiting our website at https://www.oxnardgentledentistry.com/contact/