Scared of the Dentist?? There’s no need to be……..really!

Scared of the Dentist!


OK…… you need to see the dentist. You may be in severe pain or, you might just need a regular cleaning and check-up appointment. BUT, you’re scared, terrified, afraid, petrified…..and a host of other descriptions for being fearful of visiting the dentist. I myself, (I’m Tina by the way, one of the receptionists) am a little wary of the thought of having my teeth seen by a dentist or hygienist.

SO!! What do you do? How can you overcome this fear? You know you have to see the dentist, because either the pain will just not go away and only get worse over time, or by missing the checkup and cleaning appointment something small that needs to be done may grow into something big.

Well, dentists have unfortunately always had bad press over the years. Mainly because we don’t understand what they are doing and the area that they work in is very tender and sensitive, especially if we are already in pain. Also of course, we may have had a bad experience with a dentist when we were younger, and this fear resurfaces every time we need to make a dental appointment. However, there has been a lot of progress in dentistry training and dentists are now much better trained in how to make their patients feel more at ease and be more aware of their patients’ needs, concerns and fears.

In our own office, I have to say, our priority is making patients feel welcome and at ease. Dr Dave and his assistants are more than happy to have new patients come in for a free consultation before any regular appointments are made. This allows Dr Dave to introduce himself and his team and show you around the office and what to expect. We at the front desk are also happy to answer any questions you  might have, including advising you about insurance and costs.

We find that understanding is the main problem, whether it be understanding the actual treatment needed or understanding the administrative side with forms, insurance and payment options. Once patients understand the needs, the process and that they are valued and their fears will be taken seriously, quite often that helps to eliminate some if not all of the fear. The most important thing of all though, is to let your dentist know about your concerns. Believe me, there is probably nothing your dentist hasn’t heard before concerning fears of dental work.  Dr Dave is especially good at explaining procedures and telling you what he is doing and why, I know this from firsthand experience and it certainly helps me.

You can help yourself though too. When you go to the dentist take a good book with you to read while you are waiting; listen to music that soothes and calms you; bring along a stress ball or toy so that you can squeeze your tension and stress away; try doing some breathing exercises or even bring a friend with you if that makes you feel better. Think positive, be positive – there is no end to the benefit of just feeling positive about something, even a visit to the dentist. Of course, you could always set up a treat or schedule something fun to look forward to after your dental visit. Remembering of course, that you will have to consider  any instructions from your dentist or hygienist with regards to eating and care for the rest of the day.

How do I stay calm? I pretend that I’m not scared and try to be positive about it!! Plus of course, I’m lucky in that I now work in a dental office and am able to get to know the staff and the procedures really well and I can assure you that understanding it all is very helpful to me.

So……..prepare yourself, calm yourself, arm yourself with information and be positive and eventually you WILL love visiting your dentist.

I Love My Dentist







OK – Got my braces – Now What??

In our last blog we discussed some of the reasons why people need braces. Today, we’ll discuss the ages they can be used,  what to expect and how to look after them.

When?? How old do I have to be? I don’t now about you, but usually when I think about braces I tend to immediately think about teenagers in high school. However, this is completely wrong!! Our teeth can be straightened at almost any age, because even as adults, as long as our teeth are healthy and we have the necessary supporting teeth, our teeth can be re-trained to ‘sit’ properly so that we have wonderful smiles. Of course, the majority of people still do have braces as children, particularly during the teenage years as this is when a lot of the growth in our faces occurs, so it makes sense to do any necessary orthodontic work then, as in the long term it saves time and expense at a later stage of our lives.

Adults wear braces too!!!

Adults wear braces too!!!

What to expect from your braces?

As well as the medical benefits of having braces such as; straightening teeth, correcting your bite, closing gaps, stopping your jaw hurting, relieving headaches and muscle aches you may also benefit from many other factors. As appearance has a lot to do with confidence you may find that you are more outgoing and confident as a result of your teeth and your smile being ‘fixed’. Many children and even adults can be bullied or picked on because of perceived problems with their appearance and braces can in some cases help with this. Just by having the braces in, they can help you feel more confident, even while wearing them because you now know that your smile and teeth are going to get better. So, your confidence and self-image can increase throughout the whole procedure.

Self Confidence

How to look after your braces?

Now the medical and psychological benefits of braces can only do so much. YOU have to do your part!! The most important part is keeping your teeth and braces clean! BUT remember although it might be  a bit more difficult to keep them clean, we all know that nothing worth while is easy, we all have to work at it!!!

Sometimes you may feel some soreness during treatment. More usually just after the braces are first placed and then sometimes after the periodic adjustments. This is only to be expected and should only last for a short while, everyone is different. Your lips and cheeks may also take some time to get used to the braces and need time to adjust to this ‘alien’ thing in your mouth. Don’t worry, this is quite normal, but if you have any issues about any discomfort or pain, please call your Orthodontist for reassurance and advice. Your Orthodontist does not want you be stressed about the braces and will give you advice to minimize any issues you might have. You might be given soft wax to place over the bands and brackets at night which helps your lips and cheeks to adapt to the braces. Another simple remedy is to rinse your mouth with a warm salt water mix (1/4 teaspoon in 1/2 cup of warm water) for the first week.

For ongoing maintenance you will need to check your braces daily to see if any are loose or broken as this can happen occasionally. Of course, if you do find anything loose or broken you will need to call you Orthodontist immediately to get it fixed.

Other maintenance issues are the very basic ones of brushing often and minimizing your intake of sugar, which, of course apply to ALL dental hygiene regimes. Those that specifically apply to braces are avoiding sticky foods such as caramels, Laffy Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Gummies; avoiding hard foods such as nuts, popcorn (well – the kernels are hard !!!!), hard pretzels, suckers, ice, Jolly Ranchers, Jaw Breakers; cutting apples, carrots and corn on the cob into pieces and tearing bagels, pizza crusts and jerky with your fingers NOT your teeth!!  Now, just because these are the only items on this short list – don’t think that they are the only ones you should avoid…..use your common sense!! THINK before you eat if and how the food will affect your braces. It is up to you to be careful, after all, it will be YOU back at the dentist in pain if you don’t pay attention.

Ultimately, your braces will result in a wonderful new smile for you – but only if you follow your Orthodontist’s instructions and attend all your appointments.

I’d like to thank the staff at our colleague the Betsy Meade Orthodontics (DDS, MS) office for helping with the information for these last two blogs about braces.


Do I need braces?  How do I know?  Why do I need braces?

seder orrtho







There are many, many reasons that people may need to have braces. Sometimes they are needed because a persons teeth are extremely crooked and cause them to not be able to chew properly. Other times it may be for cosmetic reasons and just occasionally, someone might just want to wear braces for a while.

In all cases, the prospective patient will need to visit a dentist who will determine if braces are actually needed. In some instances your family dentist will be able to help, in others you may be referred to a specialist called an Orthodontist.

Typical reasons for the need to have braces include;

Teeth straightening – Sometimes teeth can emerge crookedly or they don’t line up correctly. When this happens, it can affect the person’s ability to bite and chew food properly. Also, if your teeth don’t line up properly, you may be subject to headache and/or backache.

Correcting Bite – Many people have what is called an ‘over bite’ and many others have an ‘under bite’. An ‘over bite’ is a condition that makes the upper jaw jut out too far forward and an ‘under bite’ is where the lower jaw is the one that juts out too far. Both instances can result in a lot of tension that can give muscle ache or pain and, in some severe instances the teeth can bite into the tissues around your jaw.

Cosmetic – Some people may not medically require braces to ‘fix’ their teeth, but they may want to have a prettier smile.

Chewing – You may have problems with chewing your food properly. This would lead to possible stomach problems due to being unable to digest food that is not chewed properly.

Age – As we all get older, along with the rest of our body, our mouths and jaws will change. Sometimes significantly, requiring medical intervention.

In all instance where your dentist advises you to have braces, please take this seriously!! They do not do so lightly as problems with your teeth and jaw can have an adverse affect elsewhere in your body.

Next time we talk about braces we’ll look at ‘when’ they can be used, what to expect and how to look after them.

Until next time, have a wonderful day.