Posts Tagged ‘dental anxiety’

Want To Feel Relaxed At Your Dental Visit - Sedation Dentistry Can Help

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

If you have a hard time feeling relaxed at your dental visit, don’t feel like you are alone. Many people experience dental fear or anxiety over dental visits but fortunately, sedation dentistry can help.

Sedation dentistry can be used for a range of treatments from a simple cleaning to a full-mouth restoration. How it is used and the type of sedation utilized depends upon the severity of the fear and the patient’s needs.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Dentists who are trained in sedation dentistry use medication to help patients feel relaxed and calm during dental procedures. Sometimes this is called “sleep dentistry” but patients aren’t actually asleep unless general anesthesia is used. Levels of sedation include:

  • Minimal Sedation – Patients are awake but medication makes them feel calm and relaxed.
  • Conscious Sedation – This is a more moderate form of sedation and although patients can follow instructions they may not remember the procedure occurring.
  • Deep Sedation – This places the patient on the edge of consciousness and is used for patients with high levels of anxiety.
  • General Anesthesia produces an unconscious state which brings added risks. This is usually reserved for oral surgery.

Are You A Candidate For Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation is appropriate for people with fears or feelings of anxiety that are preventing them from receiving the dental care that they need. Sedation dentistry can also help in cases of:

  • A bad gag reflex.
  • Patients with a low pain threshold.
  • People who can’t sit still in a dental chair.
  • Patients who need a large amount of dental work.

Most dentists can administer minimal sedation such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or pills to make patients relax.

Conscious sedation permit requirements vary slightly from state to state, but typically a mini-residency with a minimum of 60 hours of didactic/classroom education and direct participation in administering IV sedation to 20 to 30 clinical dental cases will cover most state requirements. Wilbanks Smile Center and Dr. Wilbanks are certified by the state of Georgia to provide IV conscious sedation. The differences in oral conscious sedation and IV conscious sedation are:  the training requirement of 100 hours of continuing education credits; safety and the ability to regulate the amount of sedation and medication to keep the patient comfortable, which is not possible in oral sedation; and the patient is monitored throughout the procedure with a vital sign monitor.

Find out more about sedation dentistry and how it can help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile without fear by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.

Dental Phobia Helped By Therapy

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

Lots of people suffer from dental phobia or fear of the dentist. Researchers at Kings College in London found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) offered a long-term solution to the problem.

This study looked at 130 patients and “fear of injections and drilling was the reason for the phobia in the majority of the patients.” These patients were then treated to a series of sessions that slowly incorporated the usual things that happen during a dental visit. After several weeks of exposure to various aspects of dentistry, patients reported a reduction in their fear of dental treatment.

Many patients avoid dental treatment altogether and live with pain and disfiguring dental problems because of anxiety.

Patients can get the treatment they need without long-term therapy simply by talking to a dentist that provides sedation dentistry. There are different levels of sedation available depending upon each patient’s needs and levels of anxiety.

Depending on a patient’s anxiety levels, different degrees of dental sedation may be required. These varying degrees include:

  • Conscious Sedation – Most dentists use conscious sedation, a state that lets patients feel relaxed but also remain awake and able to respond to commands. You will not remember most of the procedure with this sedation.
  • Deep Sedation – Patients with higher anxiety levels may feel more comfortable with deep sedation, which provides a state somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness. In this state, patients cannot respond to commands and may need breathing assistance.
  • Unconsciousness – An unconscious state is also occasionally obtained but requires general anesthesia and brings about added risks. This is usually only used for oral surgery.

Sedation dentistry allows patients that have avoided dentistry for years to have several procedures during one visit, without feeling anxiety or discomfort.

Find out more about sedation dentistry in Toccoa, GA by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center at 706-391-8777 today.

Dreading Dental Visits?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Does the thought of a dental visit fill you with dread? You aren’t alone – many people are dental phobic to one degree or another. At one end of the spectrum are those that seek regular care — but never really relax in the chair. At the other end of the spectrum are people who are so fearful that they put off needed care for years, often living in pain, just to avoid the dentist.

No matter where you fall on this scale, the modern dental office has a way to help.

First, think about what you really fear at the dental visit. Are you worried about the anesthesia injection being painful? Today many dentist first numb the area with a topical anesthetic and then utilize computerized machine that gives a virtually painless shot. Some people are uncomfortable with the feeling of not being in control during their treatment — guess what — you can simply raise your hand and ask us to stop for a moment and we will gladly accommodate you.  Using nitrous oxide during your appointment makes the time fly by and eliminates anxious feelings, and once the gas stops, you are able to resume your regular activities. See, the dental visit is sounding better already!

Dentists can also provide fearful patients with medication to help them relax prior to an appointment. Patients who experience serious dental phobia or patients who need extensive dental care may find that sedation dentistry is the perfect solution. Years of dental neglect can be corrected in just one visit. There are different levels of sedation available, simply discuss your needs with your dentist. It is possible for you to get the care that you need without worry and panic.

Find out more about sedation dentistry by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 today.

Dental Anxiety Passed On By Parents

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Fear of the dentist is not just confined to the United States. All over the world lots of people experience anxiety about dental visits. A recent survey found that much of this fear may be learned from parents!

The survey asked a group of parents about dental anxiety and about 48% said it was a problem for them. Surprisingly, when the children were asked the same question the percentage was almost identical. ”It’s easy for kids to pick up on their parents’ anxieties when it comes to the dentist,” said Dr. Bill Kohn, Vice President of Dental Science and Policy at the Delta Dental Plans Association, which commissioned the survey. “If children have a bad experience, it could jeopardize their willingness to visit the dentist throughout childhood and into adulthood.”

Children should visit the dentist about the time they get their first tooth. Early dental visits allow the child to be comfortable in the dentists office and also will allow the dentist to spot any problems early. For example, disharmonies between the growth of the upper and lower jaw can happen as your child is growing. An inconsistency between the length or width of the jaw can result in an imbalance of the facial bones, muscles and teeth. Early orthodontic treatment can reposition the jaw so that as the child continues to grow, the bones and teeth align correctly. If these inconsistencies are not addressed during childhood, they can result in major jaw issues that require orthognathic surgery on the jaw.

What about adults who already have dental anxiety? Patients who are fearful or anxious can receive all the care they need while feeling relaxed using sedation dentistry. Varying levels and types of sedation are available for patients depending upon their needs.

Find out more about solutions to dental anxiety by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Each year, millions of dental patients find themselves needing root canals, one of the most commonly-performed dental procedures. A root canal is an endodontic dental treatment, which focus on the treatment of issues inside the mouth.

Let’s learn a little bit more about the root canal procedure, and what it entails.

  1. What causes the need for a root canal? Inside of the tooth, located under the white enamel, is a soft tissue known as “the pulp,” which contains connective tissues which enable the root of a tooth to grow during its development. As a tooth grows, the pulp provides nourishment that provides proper development to the tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, bacteria can eat through enamel, damaging the pulp. A pulp can also be damaged by trauma to the tooth. A root canal will remove the damaged or infected pulp. Fully-developed teeth can function well without the pulp.
  2. What are the symptoms of a damaged pulp? Patients with a damaged or infected pulp may experience a severe toothache, discoloration of the teeth, swelling, tenderness, and sensitivity whenever you eat or drink a hot or cold beverage.
  3. What will a root canal procedure involve? Patients may need to undergo a series of office visits for a root canal. First, the dentist will remove the pulp through a small opening, then clean and seal up the tooth to prevent any further damages. A temporary filling will be placed in the opening to protect the tooth. Local anesthetic will be used to numb the area, and your dentist may prescribe medication to control any infection and allow the area to heal properly. The temporary filling will be removed at your next office visit.
  4. Is a root canal painful? Despite the fact that many people associate a root canal with severe pain, the procedure is normally not very painful. Local anesthesia helps the patient relax.
  5. Are the results of a root canal permanent? In most cases, the results of the procedure are considered permanent, though patients must continue to care for their teeth effectively in order to avoid similar future issues.

Dental Health in Toccoa

If you would like to learn more about root canal therapy, or any other procedure, contact us today. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you!



Don't Fear the Dentist: The Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Does the thought of going to the dentist or needing to have dental work done make you feel anxious, distressed or scared?

Dental procedures shouldn’t be something to be and feared and avoided – regular check ups, cleanings, routine and restorative procedures are a vital part of taking care of your health and preserving your smile. Don’t neglect your dental health because of fear of getting into the dentist’s chair!

To ease your worries and discomfort regarding visiting the dentist, let’s look into sedation dentistry and how it can improve your experience. Although sedation dentistry is sometimes referred to as sleep dentistry, most patients are usually remain awake throughout the procedure.

Sedation dentistry implements the use of medication to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for people who are undergoing dental treatment. It can be used on patients of all ages – including young children over a certain age, so consult with your child’s pediatrician and dentist regarding whether sedation dentistry is right for them.

Other benefits of sedation dentistry include:

  1. It accommodates a low pain threshold or sensitive teeth
    For those with the often painful and bothersome condition of having sensitive teeth, undergoing dental work can be especially unpleasant. Sedation dentistry makes the process significantly more comfortable for these patients.
  2. It’s great for those who can’t sit still in the dentist’s chair
    For younger patients of those who usually get antsy or impatient while undergoing a prolonged dental procedure, sedation therapy allows them to feel settled and calm during complex and lengthy procedures.
  3. It helps those who have a bad gag reflex feel more comfortable
    For many people, having any type of dental work done in their mouths makes them feel uncomfortable and triggers their gag reflex. Knowing that sedation dentistry helps to repress this makes it easier for some patients to undergo elective procedures that they may have otherwise been apprehensive about.
  4. It’s perfect for patients who need substantial dental work done
    As a result of the soothing and sleepy experience that sedation dentistry provides, patients feel as though time flies by during their treatment, so their lengthy procedures seem to last for only a few minutes.

Sedation Dentistry in Toccoa

If you would like to learn more about sedation dentistry or any of the dental treatments that the Wilbanks Smile Center offers, contact us today and schedule your consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be contacted at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dietary Supplements and Dental Care

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

American’s love dietary supplements and we spend about $30 billion a year on them. Do dietary supplements affect your dental care?

Dentists always ask about drugs that patients are taking. We do this because certain medications can affect bleeding during a procedure or healing after. Most patients are very conscientious about listing all the medications prescribed by their doctor, but they don’t always remember to list the ones that they buy at the vitamin store or over-the-counter. Many of these dietary supplements can have similar effects on the body and dentists need to know if they regularly taken.

For example, patients who experience anxiety about dental visits and regularly take St. John’s wort or valerian may be limited in their choice of sedatives used before the dental visit. “Significant interactions exist between St. John’s wort or valerian and the most commonly used benzodiazepines,” said the authors of a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Antibiotics are used to fight oral infections and the study found that amoxicillin, cephalexin, metronidazole and penicillin were the best choices for patients taking dietary supplements. They noted that calcium supplements could prevent doxycycline and tetracycline from being absorbed properly.

A survey completed by the National Institutes of Health found that 67% of those 50 and older had not discussed alternative medicines and supplements with their healthcare provider. Because patients older than 65 are seven times more likely to experience adverse reactions to drug interactions it is important that all healthcare providers be provided an up-to-date list of medications and supplements.

The study noted that there were four dietary supplements that had the greatest potential for adverse drug interactions. These are St. John’s wort, ginkgo, evening primrose and valerian.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit and remember to update your medication list in our files.

Gag Reflex A Problem During Dental Visits?

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

A new study from Italy shows that accupuncture can help dental patients who gag during dental visits. If your gag reflex is a problem, you aren’t alone. 

Patients who have a sensitive gag reflex often avoid the dentist, depriving themselves of needed care. The researchers from the University of Palermo completed a small study that compared taking impressions on patients who normally gag, with and without accupuncture treatment.

The study participants self-reported their “gag reflex” scores on a 0-10 scale. During the impressions taken normally, the participants averaged a score of 7. Accupuncture needles were applied just before taking the second round of impressions and the average gag reflex score dropped to a 1! Accupuncture  is not currently a common therapy used in US dental offices but this study may offer future insights into the problem of gagging for patients.

Sedation dentistry is often used for patients with dental anxiety or a strong gag reflex. Sedation can also help those who simply have a hard time sitting still for dental treatment or those who require extensive treatment. Options range from the very mild, including nitrous oxide, to deeper sedation using medications. Sedation dentistry allows patients to receive needed dental care, even extensive procedures, while remaining completely relaxed.

Find out more about sedation dentistry and if it is right for you by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA at 706-886-9439.



Sedation Dentistry - Is It For You?

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Have you ever found yourself living with dental pain rather than calling to make an appointment? Does the thought of a dental hygiene visit fill you with anxiety? Sedation dentistry is the perfect answer for people who experience dental fear or anxiety.

Sedation dentistry can help people who don’t really have dental fear but may have other issues that make getting dental care problematic. Sedation dentistry can help people who:

  • Have a low pain threshold
  • Have a bad gag reflex
  • Have problems sitting still in the dental chair
  • Need to have a large amount of dental work completed

Avoiding dental treatment, even preventative treatment like dental cleanings, is never the answer. Oral health problems like gum disease and tooth decay simply cannot “go away” on their own. The good news is that we can correct years of neglect in just a few visits using sedation dentistry.

How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?

There are several different levels of sedation dentistry. Most people are familiar with the most common type, nitrous oxide or laughing gas. Nitrous oxide offers a minimal amount of sedation that allows you to relax and wears off quickly. Oral sedation uses a pill that will produce mild to moderate sedation depending upon the dose. Patients will need someone to drive them home following treatment.

Wilbanks Smile Center is one of the few practices in this area to offer a full range of sedation options including IV conscious sedation. We have many patients who come to our beautiful area for a “dental vacation” and receive their needed care in a comfortable, anxiety free setting and then can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Find out more about sedation dentistry and how it can help you by contacting your  Toccoa, GA office for sedation dentistry, Wilbanks Smile Center, at 706-886-9439 today.

Alligators a Model for Missing Teeth

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Human beings only get two sets of teeth so we need to take care of them. Alligators keep replacing teeth throughout their lives and researchers are hoping they can serve as models for tooth replacement in human adults.Can the American alligator teach us how to regrow human teeth asks Wilbanks Smile Center.

Researchers from the University of Southern California studied the repeated tooth formation in American alligators. Did you know that alligators can repeat tooth formation up to 50 times throughout their lives? Alligators were chosen because they live a long time, and have well organized teeth with many physical traits that are similar to mammals. The researchers discovered that at an early stage in the development of the alligator tooth, a small bulge is created that holds stem cells. The study authors hope that the finding can someday aid efforts to trigger tooth renewal in human beings.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to regrow a tooth that had been lost to accident, decay or gum disease?  Until that day arrives we do have wonderful options for tooth replacement. Years ago, the only tooth replacement available was a dental bridge. Dental bridges are still done and are fine restorations but they require adjacent teeth to be  prepared in order to serve as anchors for the bridge.

Today we have a better way to replace a missing tooth – a dental implant. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are inserted into the jaw and the jaw bone actually joins with the implant. This serves two purposes – it provides a strong, permanent base to anchor the replacement tooth (a dental crown or bridge) and it helps preserve the health of the jaw bone itself. Our bones have a “use it or lose it” rule and when a tooth is no longer anchored in the jaw bone the body feels like it doesn’t need to keep replenishing the bone that isn’t being used. Dental implants help avoid the shrunken, aged look that so many people get after they have lost teeth.

Find out more about your tooth replacement options by contacting the Toccoa, GA office of Wilbanks Smile Center today at 706-886-9439. We’ll be happy to schedule your visit and if you feel nervous about visiting the dentist just let us know – sedation dentistry is a wonderful option.


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