Dental Phobia: Dental Sedation Techniques for Nervous Patients

If you’re afraid of dental visits, you’re not alone. Studies show that over one-third of people are afraid of going to the dentist. Bad previous experiences are typically to blame. 

However, it’s critical that people get the dental treatment and preventive care they need to keep teeth and gums healthy. The good news is, your dentist has several ways to help calm your nerves and keep you comfortable during your dental visits.

On-Site Medications and Cutting-Edge Technology

One of the most common techniques that a dentist will choose involves the use of a topical anaesthetic. This is intended to numb the immediate area where any work will be occurring. 

Note that gels and small injections may be used, depending on the procedure in question. You will be happy to learn that topical gels will always be applied before any injection takes place, virtually eliminating any pain that you may experience.

Nitrous Oxide

You could opt for nitrous oxide (laughing gas). This provides a mild sedating effect and is the most common choice for those with dental phobia. The effects of this gas wear off quickly and unlike the techniques mentioned above, you will be allowed to drive once the visit is completed.

Dental Sedation

Sedation medication will be delivered intravenously, and patients will remain awake during the procedure. The main point here is that while you are conscious, you will be extremely relaxed. 

You may also be provided with a supply of oxygen via a face mask. Generally, an anaesthesiologist is present to monitor your vital signs. Note that this approach is now used more commonly when compared to traditional oral sedatives. 

There may also be times when a more in-depth procedure is required or you are extremely nervous. In such situations, a dentist may use general anaesthesia. 

This medication will put you to sleep for the duration of the treatment. The anaesthesia is delivered intravenously and due to certain risks (such as rare unexpected drop in blood pressure), this technique may be performed in a hospital setting. General anaesthesia is generally reserved for those who suffer from extreme levels of dental phobia.

Useful Psychological Techniques to Keep in “Mind”

There is little doubt that medical science has come a long way in terms of providing patients with dental phobia a sense of relief. However, we also need to recognise the power of the mind in terms of controlling your fears. We’ll now take a quick look at some coping mechanisms that have been proven to offer tangible results.


While this may appear rather simple at first glance, distracting yourself with pleasant stimuli can often help you to relax. For example, you could choose to bring along a portable music player or watch a movie on your smartphone during the procedure.

Deep Breathing Techniques

Some studies have also found that deep breathing may provide a measure of relief when dealing with chronic and acute discomfort. It is thought that certain hormones known as endorphins play a significant role. Let’s also remember that breathing deeply provides your body with more oxygen, important in terms of feeling refreshed and alert once the procedure has been completed.

Acupuncture and/or Acupressure

Nervous patients could turn to traditional Eastern medicine. Acupuncture and acupressure have been used for millennia to treat pain, to provide a sense of relaxation and even to address acute ailments such as muscle spasm. 

Either method causes the body to release pain-killing chemicals known as analgesics (natural anaesthetics). If you are afraid of needles, acupressure will often produce comparable results. Either can be employed immediately before the dental procedure if required.

Talk to Your Dentist About Your Fears

It’s very important that you get the dental care you need. If you have a dental phobia or extreme nervousness about dental visits, make an appointment and discuss your feelings with the dental staff. 

Today’s dentists are trained to handle these fears, and take great pride in helping patients like you get this all-important dental care. 

Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with being afraid of the dentist. However, allowing this fear to prevent necessary oral treatments can make matters worse. There is little doubt that you will be able to find a realistic solution. 





Why Teeth Whitening Should Be Done By a Dentist

Having cleaner, brighter, whiter teeth and a confident smile is a goal that many people strive for but often fail to achieve. 

Brushing, flossing and visiting a dentist regularly will certainly help keep teeth in good condition — but cannot fully combat the staining and discolouration that will inevitably occur.

The solution to discoloured teeth is to have them whitened, but it’s important to be careful how you do this. 

There are numerous over-the-counter products on the market today and many beauty boutiques also now offer a service to whiten teeth. Unfortunately, many home kits can be harmful to dental enamel. 

And professional beauticians can inadvertently do more harm than good. They may be acting illegally as only registered dental professionals are allowed to carry out this form of dental treatment.

For these reasons it is ALWAYS best to undergo teeth whitening at a dental practice where the highest standard of care can be ensured and better, longer-lasting results achieved.

The Procedure

There are two methods used for teeth whitening at a dentist. One is by using a custom-made mouthguard and gel — and the other is with the use of lasers.

Mouthguard and Gel

In order to ensure that all the surfaces of the teeth are whitened and there are no areas missed, it is necessary to have a mouthguard made that perfectly sits on the teeth. 

This will entail a couple of visits to the dentist who will take dental impressions and have a mouthguard made to fit. The mouthguard is filled with a special bleaching gel and is used daily for a few weeks. 

How long the process takes will depend on how badly discoloured the teeth are. As a general rule, it takes a number of weeks before the desired result is achieved.


Laser whitening is quicker than using a bleaching gel. Sometimes called power whitening, lasers can be used to quickly remove discolouration and staining from teeth. The teeth are coated by a bleaching agent which is activated by the laser beam. The process can take as little as one hour to complete but this will depend on the severity of the staining and discolouration.

Clearly a much faster process than a mouthguard and gel, laser teeth whitening should only be carried out by a qualified dentist or registered dental professional.

Risks of Non-Professional Treatment

Some people may choose the option of home treatment rather than undergo teeth whitening at a dentist as they perceive this as being just as effective and cheaper. 

Using store-bought teeth whitening kits may seem an attractive proposition but there are risks attached. Many kits are simply ineffective no matter how long they are used. There may not be sufficient whitening product in the gel to remove stains or it may not be strong enough. 

Also, the mouthguards provided with home kits are not custom-made; this may result in a poor fit, causing the bleaching agent to leak onto gums and into the mouth. This can create dental issues including blisters, lesions and tooth sensitivity.

Similarly, having the teeth whitened at a beauty salon can lead to serious dental issues as the staff are often not qualified, or even properly trained, to carry out this procedure and may do more harm than good.

Of course, some home whitening kits are very good in removing stains and discolouration. But it is advisable to discuss the pros and cons of using any kit with a dental professional and only use those that are recommended.


Having the teeth whitened does not mean that a set of perfectly white teeth will be the outcome. Whitening involves bleaching, whereby stains such as caffeine, nicotine or wine that has built up over time are bleached away. 

For most people, having perfectly white teeth can only be achieved through the use of dental veneers or other forms of cosmetic dentistry.

Whitening will only remove stains and brighten the natural color by a couple of shades. Once the discolouration has been removed the results can last anywhere from a couple of months to three years. 

The time will depend on the individual’s lifestyle and personal habits. A heavy smoker or coffee drinker cannot expect these habits not to discolour teeth and the results achieved will only last months rather than years.

Pros and Cons

Undergoing teeth whitening at a dentist is not suitable for everyone and all options should be discussed before any decision is made. The procedure is usually not recommended for patients with gum disease or those with crowns or dentures. 

Whitening does not work on crowns, dentures or false teeth – or on teeth with bonding applied. Whitening in such cases will result in mismatched teeth of different shades and colours.

Another possible downside to professional whitening is the risk of an adverse reaction to the bleaching gel which could result in tooth sensitivity or oral lesions.

However, adverse reactions are rare and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Even with the mouthguard and gel system, there is a noticeable improvement in the appearance of the teeth after just a few days while laser treatment gives almost instantaneous results.

Teeth whitening is safe, tried and tested when carried out by a qualified dentist and the results are almost immediate. 

Many people have their teeth whitened on a regular basis and most will speak highly of the boost in self-confidence achieved by being able to talk and smile without the embarrassment stained and discoloured teeth can cause.

Reviving Smiles: Navigating the Benefits of Restorative Dentistry

Restoring a damaged or missing tooth not only helps revive your smile, it improves your oral health, too. If a tooth is loose, chipped, broken or painful, you should book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The earlier a damaged tooth is treated the easier it is to restore.

Your dentist will be able to perform any necessary dental restoration work. After assessing the damaged tooth or teeth, they can recommend a treatment course to help restore your smile and allow you to comfortably chew once more.

Restorative Dentistry

Restorative dentistry aims to restore functionality as well as improve your oral health. Whereas cosmetic dentistry focuses on aesthetics alone, restorative dentistry can improve how your teeth function and how they look.

A restored tooth allows you to chew and bite again where once it may have been difficult or painful. A restored tooth will be made to look like the surrounding teeth, providing a natural appearance to your smile. Being confident once more in your smile can help boost overall self-confidence.

Several oral health issues can be addressed with dental restoration. These include:

  • Cavities
  • Broken or fractured tooth
  • Cracked or chipped tooth
  • Damage caused by tooth decay
  • Missing teeth

Oral health issues like gum disease and tooth decay can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Restorative dental work can help prevent a cavity or damaged tooth from worsening to the point where it can become infected and even require extraction.

A missing tooth could also be the result of an impact injury. Whatever the reason, if you have a tooth gap, it is important to replace a missing tooth. This helps prevent a loss of jawbone, a process which can result in facial muscles starting to sag.

Benefits of Restorative Dentistry

Restorative dental work — to repair or replace damaged or missing teeth — offers the best chance for improved long-term oral health. This is the key benefit of restorative dentistry, and there are treatment options to address different issues for all ages.

As well as restoring your immediate oral health, further benefits of restorative dental work include:

Types of Restorative Procedures

Your dentist will evaluate any issues with your oral health before recommending the relevant restorative treatment. There are different options to suit the degree of damage to a tooth or row of teeth. We will begin by looking at the most common restorative option.

1. Dental Fillings

Most people have had a tooth restored at some point with a filling. Dental fillings are used to repair smaller cavities resulting from decay and the erosion of the tooth enamel.

An amalgam filling, which can be tooth-coloured, is used to fill the cavity once the decayed part of the tooth has been removed. A filling helps prevent further decay of the tooth, as well as reduce the risk of further problems arising.

2. Inlays and Onlays

A larger cavity may require an inlay or onlay to restore the tooth. They act like fillings but are custom-made before being bonded to the tooth in need of repair.

Inlays are smaller as they are made to fit within the cusp of a tooth and cover the chewing surface. The larger onlay covers at least one cusp and can extend down the side of a tooth.

3. Crowns

Crowns are also used to repair large cavities, as well as to restore and enhance the appearance of a fractured tooth. The crown is a cap that is shaped to cover the tooth.

Some of the tooth enamel may need to be shaved off first before the crown can be placed. This is to ensure a snug fit, fully encasing the repaired tooth.

4. Dental Bridges

A dental bridge provides an artificial tooth to replace a missing tooth or a row of missing teeth. The natural tooth at each end of the gap is used as a support for the bridge.

A tooth acting as the support may need a little enamel removed to aid the fitting of a bridge. The bridge is a fixed restoration and is not removable like dentures.

5. Root Canal

Tooth decay can cause an infection in the inner pulp of a tooth. This can threaten the tooth. However, root canal treatment can save an infected tooth from extraction.

The procedure removes all infected areas from the inner pulp before filling in the tooth. A filling may be enough to seal the tooth and protect it from the risk of further infection, although a crown may also be placed for additional strength.

6. Dental Implants

A dental implant is a post usually made from titanium that is screwed into the jawbone to act as a tooth root. This helps support the surrounding bone and prevents bone loss.

Dental implants are seen as the gold standard in restorative dentistry. Once fitted they can support a crown, bridge, or dentures to replace a missing tooth.

7. Dentures

Partial or full dentures are one of the more traditional dental restorative measures. They are removable and are fitted on the top of the gums to replace missing teeth.

Using dental implants to attach dentures rather than setting them on the gums can offer a more stable feel to the dentures.

Dental restoration work helps restore function as well as improve overall oral health. If you have a cavity or fractured or missing tooth, consult with your dentist who will recommend the most suitable dental restoration.

Toothpaste Tablets: Do They Work Better than Regular Paste?

Brushing your teeth at least twice daily is a key part of a good oral health routine. Alongside daily flossing and regular dental appointments, brushing your teeth helps maintain a healthy-looking smile. 

Most people will instinctively use toothpaste as part of their oral health routine. However, toothpaste tablets provide another option, one which can be easier to use when traveling and more friendly to the environment.

What Are Toothpaste Tablets?

Toothpaste tablets are as they sound, small pill-like tabs that you pop in your mouth when you want to clean your teeth and freshen your mouth. Also known as tooth tabs, these tablets are easy to use. 

You just put one in your mouth and chew on the tablet. The tablet will combine with your saliva to form a paste that you can then use to clean your teeth with your toothbrush.

Most tablets contain fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel. They also contain abrasives that help remove plaque from the teeth. However, you may require a couple of extra rinses once you have finished brushing than you would normally to remove any feeling of grittiness.

You can use tablets twice a day as you would regular toothpaste to help preserve a confident, healthy smile. The tablets contain sweeteners and flavorings to keep your breath smelling fresh, which can provide a further boost to a confident smile.

What Are the Advantages of Using Toothpaste Tablets?

Of course, you may not consider swapping from the regular toothpaste you have always used to tablets — unless there are some distinct advantages in doing so. One of the primary reasons people consider switching to tablets is for the environmental benefit.

We are all familiar with the plastic tubes used with regular toothpaste. You can imagine the vast quantities of these plastic tubes manufactured each year, most of which end up in landfill sites. Plastic waste continues to be a huge environmental issue and a particular threat to ocean habitats.

The brands behind regular paste are looking to find alternative recyclable packaging options, but in the meantime, some people have looked to tablets instead. This is because most toothpaste tablets come in recyclable packaging. These could be small glass or tin containers. Some are even packaged in compostable pouches.

The use of natural ingredients is also a priority by many of the brands offering tablets as an alternative to regular paste. This again has a large appeal to consumers concerned about the processed ingredients they are putting into their bodies. You are less likely to find preservatives or parabens in the ingredients listed on tablets.

Lifestyle choices and sustainability concerns attract people to toothpaste tablets. With tablets, there is a good range of gluten-free, cruelty-free, and vegan options when it comes to combining looking after your oral care and finding a product that matches your lifestyle choices.

A Good On-the-Go Option

Tablets can be a more convenient option when on the go. They are easier to pack, taking up less room in your bag than tubes of regular paste. Tablets are also TSA-friendly which is handy if you fly regularly. They can be packed in your carry-on bag, removing the need to hunt for travel-friendly tubes of regular paste ahead of your trip.

Tablets also mean you don’t have to skip brushing your teeth when on the go. Whether you are at the office or just out for the day where you don’t have a toothbrush to hand you can still use a tablet to clean your teeth and freshen your mouth. 

In these scenarios, you can still place a tablet in your mouth and chew on it to form a paste. If you have a bottle of water to hand you can rinse your mouth out afterward. This will not clean your teeth as thoroughly as a toothbrush, but it still offers a good replacement alternative for those times when you do not have access to a toothbrush. 

Are Tablets Better than Regular Paste?

Toothpaste tablets, therefore, have environmental and travel benefits that will make them attractive to many people. If you are concerned with the environmental impact of plastic packaging or are looking for product options to suit your lifestyle, tablets offer an alternative to regular paste. 

Similarly, the prioritizing of natural ingredients in tablets will appeal to many people. If you are often away from home without access to your toothbrush, easy-to-pack tablets mean you don’t have to skip cleaning your teeth.

However, in terms of whether tablets offer the same protection for your smile as a regular paste, it is difficult to answer at the moment. There has not been enough research to establish the effectiveness of tablets when compared to regular paste. This is a crucial consideration when choosing oral care products. Therefore, it is best to consult with your dentist first when contemplating switching to tablets from a regular paste.

The cost of tablets will also be an important consideration for people. Tablets are considerably more expensive at present compared to tubes of toothpaste. A four-month supply of tablets can cost $30, whereas a similar supply of regular paste may only cost up to $6. 

This is a difference that is hard to ignore, but for many, it will be seen as a price worth paying for the environmental benefits of recyclable tablet packaging.

Ultimately, which product is better will come down to the individual and their requirements and preference. Both tablets and regular paste have benefits, but also some potential disadvantages when compared against one another. 

However, whichever product you choose, the key point is to ensure you clean your teeth twice daily at least to help maintain a smile that you can be proud of. Your dentist can help you make decisions on purchasing the oral care products that are most suitable for you. 


5 Signs You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Wisdom teeth are the third set of big molars located at the back of the mouth. Most people have four of them (one in each far corner of the mouth) and these particular teeth usually emerge during your late teens or early twenties. 

If your wisdom teeth are healthy, emerge fully through the gums and are positioned correctly, they are generally left in place. 

But sometimes there isn’t enough room in the mouth for the teeth to grow and emerge properly. 

Problems can occur when the teeth do not come through the gums fully, get stuck (even below the gumline) or grow at an odd angle.

Dentists refer to these as impacted wisdom teeth and it’s quite common to have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. 

Your dentist can take an X-ray to see how the teeth are growing and how they are impacted. If necessary, the dentist will arrange to remove these teeth. 

Most dentists prefer to do this when patients are younger because the bone and roots are not fully developed and healing will be much faster — and this is one reason why younger people may have their wisdom teeth removed. 

However, it is possible for problems to occur later in life too – even if your teeth are not impacted, and there are some warning signs that you should be aware of. 

Signs of Problems With Wisdom Teeth

1. Pain

Impacted teeth can cause pain and swelling in the jaw and face. Some people may experience headaches too. In addition, because partially impacted teeth are much harder to clean, the chance of other dental issues like cavities, gum disease and infection increases.

2. Bleeding, sore or reddened gums

Painful sore gums which bleed easily are an early sign of gum disease (also known as gingivitis or periodontal disease). Keeping partially emerged teeth clean is difficult. Food and debris can get trapped around the teeth causing a build-up of plaque and tarter. This can lead to gum disease.

3. Bad breath or a bad taste

Halitosis (bad breath) or a nasty taste in your mouth can indicate various dental issues including infection, decay and gun disease and is a sign that you need to see a dentist. 

4. Damage to neighbouring teeth

If wisdom teeth are growing sideways or pushing other teeth out of line because there isn’t enough space in the mouth, neighbouring teeth can become damaged or shift.

5. Cysts

Cysts (fluid-filled swellings) can develop around impacted teeth. You should contact your dentist if you experience any lumps or changes around your teeth.

See Your Dentist Right Away

If you are experiencing any of these issues, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible so that they can examine and X-ray the area. 

If necessary, your dentist or dental surgeon will arrange to remove the affected wisdom tooth or teeth. This involves a surgical procedure and usually a local anaesthetic. 

You may experience pain and slight bruising for the first few days after the teeth have been removed but full recovery generally occurs in about two weeks. You can usually carry out your normal routine and attend work or school within a few days of the procedure. 

There are a few complications associated with the procedure. These include a condition known as ‘dry socket’ which can be felt as a dull pain in the empty socket if the blood clot is dislodged. However, you can help prevent this by following your dentist’s advice after surgery. 

There is also a slight risk of nerve damage which may feel like a tingling or numb sensation, but this is usually temporary. It is also important to know that smoking can delay the healing process and increase your risk of infection, so if you are having surgery, try to use the opportunity to quit smoking

You can’t prevent impacted wisdom teeth, but you can be aware of any associated symptoms or issues. Ignoring symptoms can lead to further problems like abscesses and infections and this can damage other healthy teeth. 

It is always better to see the dentist right away — as this can help reduce costs and the amount of treatment needed in the long term. 

As always, remember to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. This helps to prevent the build-up of plaque and tarter and reduces the risk of gum disease and cavities – which can further complicate wisdom teeth treatment.

For more information follow the links below:

Too Much Fluoride Can Cause White Spots on Teeth

too much fluoride can cause white spots on teeth

A common cause of white marks on your child’s teeth is consuming too much fluoride:

– This can happen in areas where the drinking water is treated with fluoride or from regularly swallowing toothpaste.

– Your dentist can discuss options for restoring the teeth, including whitening and veneers.

– White spots on children’s teeth can be prevented by good oral hygiene and being careful with fluoride.

“If a person notices that the white spots on their teeth are changing in size or number, or they are starting to have tooth pain, they should see their dentist.”

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Top Oral Care Tips For Parents With Young Children

top oral care tips for parents with young children

Since toddlers are unable to care for their teeth themselves, it’s important that parents take over this task by following the guidelines below.

Key takeaways:

  • Gently brush your kid’s teeth with a fluoride-based toothpaste twice a day.
  • Fruit juices and milk (formula or breastmilk) should not be drunk before bedtime.
  • Pay attention to symptoms of oral disease, like breathing through the mouth.

You should also schedule regular appointments with your dentist, even if your children only have baby teeth.

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Do Pacifiers Interfere With Your Child’s Dental Health?

do pacifiers interfere with your child's dental health

Although pacifiers have proven benefits for your child’s overall well-being, they could also pose some risks that every parent should be aware of.

Key takeaways:

  • Prolonged use of pacifiers could change the shape of the roof of the mouth leading to an improper bite.
  • Teeth and jaw misalignment issues can appear with the overuse of pacifiers.
  • Pacifiers are often dipped in sweet substances, which can result in teeth decay.

If you’re concerned about the use of pacifiers, talk to a dentist who specialises in paediatrics.

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Top Tips On How To Extend The Life Of Dental Veneers

how to extend the life of dental veneers

If you’ve recently had veneers fitted and are proud of your new smile, you’ll want to make sure that you do all you can to keep them in good condition for as long as possible.

Key takeaways:

  • Avoid being overly aggressive when brushing your teeth and when flossing.
  • Don’t chew on hard surfaces.
  • Use a mouthguard when playing sports to avoid damaging your veneers.

Also, make sure you have your veneers checked by your dentist on a regular basis.

Check out more information here:

How To Keep Your Gums Free Of Gum Disease

how to keep your gums free of gum disease

Strong and disease-free gums are just as important as healthy teeth when it comes to your overall dental health. Here’s what to do if you want to keep gum tissue in good condition

Key takeaways:

-Be gentle when brushing and flossing, and use a soft-bristled brush.

-Never ignore swollen or bleeding gums.

-Reduce stress level, which has been shown to cause inflammation and can potentially affect gum tissue too.

In addition, you should visit your dentist as soon as you notice changes in gum sensitivity.

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