Alleviating Anxiety Related to Pediatric Dentistry

Dental anxiety is a common challenge in pediatric dentistry, affecting both children and their parents. Addressing these fears is crucial for ensuring a positive dental experience. Likewise, a favorable dental experience fosters a lifelong commitment to oral health. Pediatric dentists employ various strategies to create a welcoming, anxiety-free environment for their young patients.

ChildOne effective approach is the use of child-friendly language and explanations. Pediatric dentists explain procedures in ways that are understandable and non-threatening to children.  This helps demystify the dental experience and reduce fear.

Another key strategy is the introduction of “tell-show-do” techniques, where the dentist explains a procedure, shows the child the tools or actions involved, and then performs the procedure. This method helps build trust and reduce anxiety by familiarizing the child with the process.

Sedation dentistry is also an option for children with severe anxiety or those undergoing extensive procedures. Options range from nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help relax the child, to more profound sedation methods for a pain-free experience.  Your dentist carefully considers and administers these options under strict guidelines to ensure the child’s safety and comfort.

Parents play a critical role in alleviating dental anxiety as well. Preparing a child for a dental visit through positive reinforcement, reading books about dentistry, and maintaining a calm demeanor can significantly impact the child’s perception and experience of dental care.

Pediatric dentists are committed to creating a positive, anxiety-free dental experience for children, laying the foundation for healthy oral care habits that last a lifetime. Through specialized training, child-friendly environments, and supportive techniques, pediatric dentistry aims to alleviate anxiety and ensure that children view dental visits as a normal, unthreatening part of their health care routine.  Blashford Dentistry specializes in dental sedation services.  Learn more on our services page.


Tooth Grinding: Bruxism and Tooth Attrition

Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding, is a condition that can lead to significant dental health issues, including tooth attrition. This involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth, especially during sleep, often goes unnoticed until complications arise. Understanding bruxism and its impact on your teeth is crucial for maintaining good oral health.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is often categorized into two types: “awake”, where teeth grinding happens during waking hours, often due to stress, anxiety, or concentration; and “sleep”, a sleep-related movement disorder. People with sleep bruxism are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring or sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Bruxism:
  • Grinding noises during sleep
  • Flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of the tooth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw or face pain and soreness
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles
  • Dull headache originating in the temples
  • Damage from chewing on the inside of the cheek
  • Sleep disruption
Consequences: Tooth Attrition and Beyond

Tooth attrition, the wearing down of the tooth’s surface due to grinding, is a primary concern with bruxism. This can lead to dental sensitivity and can also alter the appearance of your teeth, making them shorter and affecting your smile. In severe cases, grinding can lead to jaw disorders, headaches, and damaged teeth requiring crowns or dental restorations.

Managing Bruxism and Preventing Tooth Attrition
  1. Custom-Fitted Night Guards: The most common treatment for sleep bruxism is wearing a night guard. These custom-made devices fit over the top or bottom teeth and protect them from grinding.
  2. Stress Reduction: Since stress is a significant factor in bruxism, relaxation techniques such as meditation, counseling, and exercise can be beneficial.
  3. Dental Correction: Misaligned teeth or an abnormal bite can contribute to bruxism. Corrective dental treatments might be necessary.
  4. Avoiding Hard Foods: Chewing on hard foods or objects can exacerbate the effects of bruxism. Avoid nuts, popcorn kernels, and ice, and do not use your teeth as tools.
  5. Regular Dental Check-Ups: Frequent check-ups can help monitor the progression of tooth attrition and other complications associated with bruxism.
  6. Medications: In some cases, medications such as muscle relaxants might be prescribed temporarily.

Lifestyle Changes for Relief

  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol, as they can increase the tendency to grind your teeth.
  • Practice good sleep habits to improve the quality of your sleep and reduce grinding.
  • Be conscious of not clenching your teeth during the day. Place the tip of your tongue between your teeth to train your jaw muscles to relax.

In conclusion, teeth grinding is a condition that should not be overlooked, given its potential to cause tooth attrition and other oral health issues. If you suspect you might be grinding your teeth, consult with your dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. With the right care, grinding and its effects can be managed effectively.   Contact Blashford Dentistry to learn more about how you can prevent teeth grinding, as well as restore your healthy smile.

Sleep Dentistry

Sleep Dentistry: A Solution to Anxiety at Your Dentist Appointment

Sleep dentistry, also known as sedation dentistry, is an innovative approach.  It’s used in dental practices to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for patients undergoing various dental procedures. This method is particularly beneficial for individuals who experience dental phobia.  If you’re anxious about going to the dentist, you’re not alone.  It’s a common condition that can prevent people from seeking necessary dental care.

The core principle of sleep dentistry is to use medication to help patients relax during dental procedures.  There are various levels of sedation used, ranging from minimal, where the patient is awake but relaxed, to general anesthesia, where the patient is completely unconscious.

Sleep Dentistry Options:

Sleep DentistryMinimal Sedation: This is the lightest form of sedation, often achieved with oral sedatives or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). The patient remains awake and responsive but feels calm and untroubled by the dental procedure.

Moderate Sedation: Formerly known as “conscious sedation,” this level involves the use of stronger sedative drugs. Patients under moderate sedation are often awake but may not remember much about the procedure due to the sedative’s amnesic effects.

Deep Sedation: In this state, patients are on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened. This level is less commonly used and is monitored closely by dental professionals.

General Anesthesia: This involves medications that render the patient completely unconscious. General anesthesia is typically used for extensive dental procedures and requires close monitoring of the patient’s vital signs.

What You Should Know

The choice of sedation level depends on the nature of the dental procedure and the patient’s level of anxiety. Before undergoing sleep dentistry, patients are evaluated for their medical history and any potential risks associated with sedation.

The benefits of sleep dentistry are significant. It helps reduce dental anxiety, making it easier for patients to receive necessary treatments. It’s also beneficial for those with a low pain threshold, sensitive teeth, a strong gag reflex, or the need for extensive dental work.

However, it’s important to note that sleep dentistry is not without risks. These can include potential reactions to sedatives, particularly in patients with certain medical conditions. Therefore, it’s crucial for patients to discuss their medical history and any concerns with their dentist before opting for sedation dentistry.

Sleep dentistry offers a valuable solution for patients who find dental visits stressful. By providing different levels of sedation, it ensures that dental procedures are comfortable and anxiety-free, thus encouraging regular dental care, which is essential for maintaining oral health.  At Blashford Dentistry, we’ll do everything possible to help your dental visit be as relaxed and stress-free as possible.  Ask us about the option of Sleep Dentistry.