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How to get over fear of dentist

Monday, July 27th, 2020

Fear of the dentist is one of the primary reasons that patients give for not visiting the dentist regularly. However, this can often lead to the progression of tooth decay or gum disease which can progress painlessly on the whole, only becoming noticeable at home when there is pain, at this point it may be too late to prevent the disease doing irreparable harm.

If only these patients had been to the dentist sooner, they could have prevented this pain and treatment… So let’s look at how we can overcome fears of the dentist.

I’m scared to go to the dentist because my teeth are so bad, what can I do?

The 1st thing to note is that your dentist will not judge you, they see this all of the time and they are there to help. Here are a few simple tricks if you are scared of going to the dentist.

  • Book an appointment time early in the morning. This means you simply wake up, get ready and go to the dentist, without having to worry all day.
  • Bring a friend. This means you have a distraction, a good tip is to agree topics you will talk about when you are at the dentist, for example your latest holiday.
  • Tell the dentist. Do not try to be brave and just put up with being scared. Let your dentist know, they are trained to help and can modify the treatment accordingly (For example, giving you longer breaks).
  • Agree a stop signal. This is a great way to let your dentist know that you need a break, usually razing of one of your hands is a good idea.
  • Avoid alcohol. Whilst it might be tempting to have a drink before you go to the dentist it can actually exacerbate the problem.

How to distract yourself at the dentist

It would be good to think of things to do before your appointment, during your treatment and afterwards.

Before your appointment – bring a friend to the dentist and agree a topic you will talk about, this can be a really great way to help you distract yourself from any anxiety in the waiting room. If you have to go to the dentist alone then take a book or magazine that you find really interesting.

During your treatment – we recommend that at the beginning of the appointment you listen to the dentist, let them know you are nervous and agree a stop signal. This puts you in control. During the actual treatment it can be good to take your mind off somewhere else. If you have an interesting hobby, think about that hobby, plan what you might be doing next, plan your next project, think about all of the details of your hobby. This can be a really good way to take your mind off things with something you enjoy doing.

After your dental treatment – why not treat yourself. Consider treating yourself to something good. If you are able to eat after your appointment why not visit a local cafe and have something you really enjoy. Having something to look forward to after the treatment can really help time fly!

How does sedation help?

Dental sedation can often help with dental phobia, Very often a simple oral tablet can be taken in advance, allowing you to relax. If you an extremely nervous patients then ask your dentist about either inhalation sedation (gas and air) or intravenous sedation. Both of these techniques can help you relax and disappear into your own world and to feel comfortable during dental work.

Will I be judged by the dentist if my teeth are really bad?

Definitely not. Your dentist is there to help and not to judge. Your dentist is a healthcare professional that wants to help you be as fit and healthy as possible, even if you are afraid of the dentist they want to help you overcome any bad experiences and dental anxiety. Looking after your oral health is their primary concern.

What dentist anxiety medication is available?

There are usually 3 types of anxiety medication available:

  • Oral medication – usually taken a few hours before treatment help you relax.
  • Inhalation sedation – typically known as laughing gas. Modern administration techniques have changed hugely since the old mask design. You now simply were very comfortable nose piece allowing you to read your nose and gently relax.
  • Intravenous sedation – this is where a drug is injected into your bloodstream, it allowed you to drift into a twilight world where you are still conscious but have no recollection of what’s happening

Summary

The key takeaway from this blog post helping you to find a dentist that can help with dental anxiety is to talk to your dentist. They are there as a professional to help you with your dental health, they are there to modify any treatments and never judge you. Be honest, let them know that you are fearful and they can help you with relaxation techniques during treatment such as root canal and treatment of other dental problems.

 

lip injections, are they a good idea?

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Lip injections, are they a good idea

As a practice that offers facial rejuvenation from our clinic in Oxford and Didcot we are often asked about lip injections, people often want to know if they are a good idea and what the potential problems could be. Our latest blog post is dedicated to answering these questions.

Do lip injections hurt during/after lip injections?

Lip injections will always be given with a topical numbing cream such as lidocaine and prilocaine, this ensures that the skin is numb prior to having any injections.

After treatment you may find there is some mild discomfort as the injection sites settle down, this will not normally last longer than a couple of days.

Why use lip fillers to enlarge your lips?

Lip fillers are one of the most natural ways to enlarge your lips, hyaluronic acid (dermal fillers) is a naturally occurring acid in your body. It is using your body to bind water and retain moisture, hence, as we age and hyaluronic acid levels decline asking can look drier and more wrinkly due to the dehydrated skin. Fillers can help to reverse this process.

Do lip injections damage lips?

So long as the lip injections are done in a controlled environment by professional with full training then no, lip injections do not damage your lips. This is one of the reasons that dental practices are some of the best places to go for a lip injections, dentists have such a detailed knowledge of the anatomy of the muscles, nerves and blood vessels in your head, face and neck. Beauty therapists, on the other hand do not have this detailed knowledge.

What is the lip enhancement or lip augmentation procedure?

The process is usually quite simple and includes:

  • An initial consultation to work out if lip fillers are the best form of treatment for you. During the consultation we will discuss any possible side-effects, additional treatments, ongoing care and costs.
  • Treatment begins at an appointment time suitable for you.

Usually all treatment can be accomplished in one single appointment.

What’s it like to undergo lip augmentation?

Treatment is usually:

  • Comfortable. Anaesthetic is given to numb the skin.
  • Affordable. Lip enhancement is usually start from about £380.
  • Quick. Treatments can often be completed in a single appointment.
  • long-lasting. Treatments often last for up to 2 before needing to be redone.

How long do lip injections last?

Typically treatments will last up to 2 years. Typically you may find that anywhere between 6 and 12 months you might see some difference in your appearance and require a top up.

What did your lips look like before and after lip injections?

The easiest way to answer this question is to show photographs of patients having before and after lip injections.

Before lip augmentation

Before

After lip augmentation

After

Before lip filler injections

Before

After lip filler injections

After

How much do lip augmentations usually cost?

Treatment costs can vary depending on the exact nature of the augmentation of treatment and the exact treatment. Typically lip enhancements start at around £380 and lip contouring from £350. There are also usually many special offers available.

More information on fees here.

Do lip fillers shrink lip size afterwards?

No, however after your lips have been made fuller and more plump with lip fillers, by contrast, once the fillers have been fully absorbed into your body it may look as though your lips have shrunk, they will only however have shrunk back to what they were prior to treatment.

Why are Botox and filler injections so expensive?

Botox and filler injections are always worth investing in the highest quality. After all, you are going to be asking someone to inject something into your face! You need to be sure that:

  • You know absolutely 100% what is being injected. NEVER purchase these treatments online and try to inject yourself.
  • You 100% trust the person doing the injections. A dentist is the ideal person to trust for this type of treatment as they have a detailed knowledge of the anatomy of your head, face and neck. Someone that has been on a short training course will not have this detailed anatomy, nor may not have the emergency facilities available in the event of any unforeseen allergic reaction.
  • The environment in which you will be seen is completely clean and sterile. You want to ensure that any cross contamination chances are all but eradicated, again this is another good reason to choose a dental practice as they will have proven cross infection control procedures in place and will also be highly regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

It is for the reasons above of using the best materials,  the best clinician in the best environment that makes Botox and fillers injections expensive.

One last thing to say about the cost is that it is worth considering this over the life of the treatment. A typical augmentation may cost £380 but could quite easily last two years, taking the cost over a two-year period means that treatments cost approximately £3.64 a week – The price of a large cup of coffee!

What is the difference between dermal fillers and botox?

These treatments working completely different principles. Wrinkle relaxation treatments such as Botox are a toxin which reduces the ability of muscles to move, by reducing visibility to move we can make the wrinkles disappear. Fillers, on the other hand inject hyaluronic acid into the treatment site, this is a naturally occurring body acid which binds water, therefore making your skin look more hydrated and younger.

Depending on which area of your face you would like rejuvenated will depend upon which treatment you have, dermal fillers or wrinkle treatments such as Botox.

Tooth wear and abrasion, what can you do about it?

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Have you found that as you have got older your teeth have begun to wear? You might have noticed that the teeth look squarer at the edges, have yellow stains in them and generally look worn down? So what causes this and what can you do about it?

In this blog our Oxford dentist walks you through the tooth wear index, what to do if you have wear and abrasion to prevent it getting worse and what your dentist can do to restore your teeth.

What is tooth wear caused by?

The wearing down of teeth is caused by one of three phenomenon namely abrasion, erosion and attrition.

Tooth wear by abrasion

This is where a tooth wears by some action other than the teeth rubbing together or by chewing. The most typical type of abrasion is abrasion from pressing too hard whilst brushing your teeth with a toothbrush. Other forms of abrasion can be caused by wearing lip or tongue piercings or chewing things like toothpicks and pens for excessive periods of time.

Tooth abrasion from a toothbrush is usually most apparent on the cheek side (buccal surface) of the tooth as this is where many people put too much pressure, the abrasion is very often down towards the gum margin where the enamel is thinner.

Tooth wear by erosion

This is where tooth structure is lost via chemical contact. This can chemicals which are ingested such as highly acidic drinks like fizzy drinks or excessive consumption of fruit juice. Tooth wear by erosion can also be caused by naturally occurring bodily acids which come into contact with the teeth, this is typically from reflux disease or various eating disorders.

Tooth wear by attrition

This is the most common cause of tooth wear and can be attributed to the teeth grinding together either during chewing (mastication) or teeth grinding (bruxism). Teeth will naturally where as we age but this wear rate can be increased if the teeth do not bite together properly.

Measuring tooth wear classification using the tooth wear index

Your dentist can measure tooth wear using this index as originally described by Smith and Knight, this can be useful if you feel that your teeth are wearing over an extended period, your dentist can use this index to monitor the wear of individual teeth. The index is as follows:

  • 0 – No loss of enamel surface characteristics and no change of contour.
  • 1 – loss of enamel characteristics and some minimal loss of contour.
  • 2- enamel loss which is just exposing the denting and less than 1/3 of the surface. Defect areas less than 1 mm.
  • 3 – enamel loss just exposing the dentine which is more than 1/3 of the surface. Defect areas 1-2 mm.
  • 4 – complete enamel loss or pulp exposure. Defect more than 2mm.

You may begin to notice sensitivity in your teeth when your tooth wear index reaches level 2.

Tooth Wear Management

The first place to start with managing tooth wear is to speak your dentist. They can assess the amount of wear using the index above and advise as to the cause, abrasion, erosion or attrition.

Tooth abrasion management

Advice and guidance on how to brush your teeth can be provided by the dental hygienist. They will be able to assess the location of the abrasion and work out what is causing it, very often it’s caused by pressing the toothbrush in difficult to reach areas.

Many electric toothbrushes also have a pressure sensor which let you know if you are pressing too hard, this can be very useful adjunct in controlling tooth abrasion.

Once you have the cause of the abrasion established and eliminated your dentist can then look to replace missing tooth structure. In minimal cases this will often be done using dental bonding, in more severe cases dental veneers dental crowns may be required.

Tooth erosion management

If the erosion is caused by external assets being ingested then the dental hygienist will be able to give you dietary advice on the amounts of these acidic drinks you should be drinking. If the erosion is caused by medical condition their medical advice will need to be sought.

Tooth attrition management

Your dentist will be able to assess the way your teeth move together, how they work as a unit and how your jaw functions. This is known as your ‘occlusion’ and your dentist will be able to spot malocclusions and recommend the best treatment. Sometimes this is rebuilding back teeth using dental bonding, ceramic overlays or dental crowns. It may also involve orthodontics to move teeth to a better position.

Before and after tooth wear treatment

After treatment, notice how the upper teeth have been rebuilt on the incisal edge ( this is the tip of the tooth on the opposite side of the gum). A more natural rounded shape has been achieved using dental crowns.

I am dropping a note to say thanks for all the work you have done for me, I am aware that I am not the easiest of patients. Your patience and explanations whilst work is underway was very much appreciated. The bridge work is really outstanding, here’s hoping I need nothing more than routine checks for some time.
- Mr R G
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General Dental Council BDA goodpractice member CareQuality Commission