Johns Family Dentistry

Recovering From a Bone Graft: What to Expect

If you’re having a tooth extracted or are planning on getting dental implants, you might need a bone graft to ensure that there’s a sufficient level of healthy bone in your jaw. As with most kinds of oral surgery, you can expect to need a few days to recover after the procedure. The following post can give you an idea of what to expect during bone graft recovery and what you can do to speed up the healing process.

The Dental Bone Graft Procedure
A dental bone graft involves taking tissue from elsewhere in your body (or from a donor) and applying it to the parts of the jaw where there’s not enough bone. Dr. Johns will need to make small incisions in your gums to access the jawbone. Your mouth will be numbed so that you don’t experience any pain, and we can offer dental sedation to keep you as comfortable as possible. Once the procedure is complete, your gums will be sutured shut, and you’ll be given the necessary aftercare instructions.

What Normally Happens During Bone Graft Recovery
It’s normal to notice pain, swelling, and bruising in the days following a bone graft. These symptoms should normally diminish on their own over time. Many people are able to return to work after one or two days, although others might need a full week to recover before they can resume their regular activities. Keep in mind that while your mouth should feel normal again after just a few weeks, it normally takes months for the grafting material to be fully integrated into the jaw.

Tips for Bone Graft Recovery
There are several steps you can take to make sure that the healing process stays on track:

Take any prescribed medications as directed. You can also use an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling.
Avoid spitting or drinking through a straw. These actions can dislodge the protective blood clot from the surgical site, which may result in pain and delayed healing.
Plan on eating only soft and liquid foods for a while. You can return to a regular diet once your mouth starts feeling better again.
Practice good oral hygiene by rinsing with salt water; this helps get rid of harmful bacteria that can cause an infection. You can start brushing the area around the grafting site as soon as your dentist says that it’s okay.
Once you know what you can expect after a bone graft, you can make the proper preparations for a speedy recovery. After a successful healing process, you’ll be able to focus on the next steps for restoring your smile, whether it’s dental implant placement or another kind of procedure.

Why It’s Never Too Late to Get the Perfect Smile

 

Is there something about your smile or your teeth that has been impacting your confidence? We offer a range of cosmetic dental solutions, so no matter the issue our dental team in Puyallup, Washington can work with you to deliver the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.

The first step is usually coming in for a new patient appointment, so we can take x-rays if necessary and examine your teeth and gums. After your visit, our dental professionals can propose a range of cosmetic dental options from which you can choose.

 

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry describes non-essential dental treatments that are focused on perfecting your smile, but don’t necessarily affect your overall tooth health.

Some people choose cosmetics dentistry for that little something extra after orthodontics or braces. After all the time and money you’ve spent straightening your teeth it only makes sense! You may have done your Invisalign, but still need a little whitening or teeth shaving to get that perfect Hollywood smile.

Whitening

We offer several teeth whitening options at Johns Family and Implant Dentistry, and during a consultation can talk you through options to whiten at home or at the dentist office. At home trays can be a less expensive option, or we use Zoom professional whitening system for in-office laser whitening. Getting your teeth shiny and white is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve the look of your smile.

Bonding

Many people also choose to get cosmetic bonding after completing teeth straightening to even out the shape and size of their teeth. Bonding can help reshape your teeth, close any gaps that are left after braces, and repair chips. Whatever your need, you can trust our experienced dental professionals to create a stellar smile for you and make sure you complete your orthodontics with the complete package.

Porcelain Veneers

You may also need cosmetic dentistry to restore the appearance of your smile if you have required treatment for more severe dental issues like cavities, extractions, or tooth-decay. Options like porcelain veneers or dental implants can fill the spaces of missing teeth and give you that million-dollar smile.

Shaping and treating gums

We also offer laser gum shaping treatments to perfect any gummy or uneven smiles. One of the growing uses of dental technology, laser treatments offer a quick and less invasive way to deal with any obtrusive or unsightly gum-lines. Gum sculpting can also be done alongside veneer treatments to give you a flawless smile all at once.

Compassionate patient care

We offer a range of sedation and pain management options for patients to ensure your dental treatment is as pleasant as possible. Our dentists and dental assistants’ goal is for you to leave our office all smiles, and they’ll take great care of you to make sure that’s possible. At the dental office, we offer anaesthesia and a range of options to help you conquer any fears, removing any obstacles between you and perfect teeth.

Make an appointment

If you’re ready to get your perfect smile, call our dentist office today! Whether you want to whiten your smile, straighten teeth out with braces, or want full veneers, our Puget Sound dental team is on hand to help. We offer affordable dental and cosmetic care for patients in South Hill/Puyallup. Our team has been delivering state of the art dentistry services for over two decades, so you can rest assured you’re in good hands. Book your appointment now by calling 253-848-3723 and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Facts About Teeth Whitening

Cosmetic dentistry has gained immense popularity in recent years. More and more people are now asking their dentists about how they can enhance their smiles.

A recent study done by RealSelf found that 40% of Americans want to improve their teeth with Invisalign, veneers, or whitening. With that in mind, there are still plenty of myths surrounding the issue of tooth whitening.

In this post, we will separate the facts from the misconceptions and help you gain a better understanding of what teeth whitening is all about.


Top 10 Facts About Teeth Whitening

1. There are many factors that impact how white your teeth are. Foods and beverages like wine, coffee, and tea can stain your teeth over time. Smoking can stain your teeth as well. Genetics can also play a role in how white your teeth are.

2. If plaque is not removed regularly through flossing and brushing, it can accumulate to form tartar. Tartar (which is also referred to as calculus) can also influence how bright your teeth are.

3. Some individuals may have stained in the inner layers of their teeth. This can be caused by tiny cracks in the teeth that allow stains to penetrate. Antibiotics can also cause deep stains to develop.

4. No matter the cause of your teeth stains, the natural color of a person’s teeth is defined at birth. The only thing a teeth whitening product or procedure can do is to eliminate all the stains that have developed over time.

5. Bleaching is the most widely used teeth whitening method and can whiten your teeth to look brighter and more radiant. The main ingredient in bleaching products is usually carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. As this substance is broken down, oxygen is absorbed into the tooth’s enamel, and the color of the tooth becomes brighter.

6. The results of teeth whitening can last for up to three years. But, this can vary from one individual to another. If you drink or eat heavily-colored foods or smoke, it’s likely that the whitening will not last as long. This means that you have to take care of your teeth in order to enjoy maximum benefits.

7. In most states, teeth whitening can only be legally done by a professional dentist. With that said, getting your teeth whitened in whitening stores or by beauticians is not permitted under the law. Doing this could expose you to harmful products that may cause permanent damage to your gums and teeth.

8. In the U.S., the teeth whitening products that you can get at your local pharmacy are not allowed to have more than 0.1 % hydrogen peroxide concentration. This concentration is too low to achieve any observable results on the color of your teeth.

9. Tooth whitening can only brighten your existing tooth color and might not be as effective in removing deeply-ingrained stains.

10. You can easily make your teeth brighter by reducing the number of drinks and foods you consume that can stain your teeth. You should also avoid smoking, as this can also contribute to the staining and discoloration of your teeth.

Top 3 Tooth Whitening Tips

1. Don’t buy teeth whitening products from abroad

While the cost of these products may seem like a bargain, it’s not advisable to get your teeth-whitening products from overseas. It is very difficult to know for sure what ingredients have been put in these products, and this may put your health at risk. It is much more difficult to trust online companies, so you cannot be certain that their products are properly tested and of the highest quality. The best way to establish where a teeth whitening product is safe is to consult your dentist.

2. Consult your dentist

When considering teeth whitening, there’s no better place to get accurate and factual information other than your dentist. Not only are they licensed and qualified to perform the treatment, but they will be able to properly address your specific concerns and needs. Dentists are allowed to use bleaching agents that have up to 6% hydrogen peroxide concentration. This is almost 6,000 times stronger than any tooth whitening product you can get at your local pharmacy. Because of this, getting your teeth whitening done by a professional dentist is the smartest decision you can make.

3. Don’t break the law

It is unlawful for anybody other than a licensed dental professional to perform such procedures. Anyone that claims to offer teeth whitening services are essentially committing a crime. By having your teeth whitened by a professional dentist, you can be sure that you are operating within the boundaries of the law and that you are getting a quality service. When teeth whitening procedures go wrong, it can result in permanent and costly damage – it is not worth it to save a few dollars only to put your health at risk.

For more information about tooth whitening, feel free to contact us at (253) 848-3723.

The Truth About Your Missing Tooth

Some Benefits Of Fixing Missing Tooth Issues

We know how embarrassing it can be to be missing a tooth. We also know how difficult it can be to visit your dentist after a long layoff from visiting. We are here to let you know that you don’t have to be embarrassed. We are here to help. When you are experiencing a missing tooth or missing teeth, waiting even longer to get it fixed is only going to make it worse.

Having a missing tooth can end up putting your healthy teeth in danger. There are plenty of benefits that come with correcting your missing teeth. Here are some of them:

  • You get to restore your smile and regain your confidence.
  • You get to correct any chewing issues you have as a result of the missing teeth.                  
  • You get to retain the natural shape of your face.
  • You get to correct your bite’s function.
  • You can keep your healthy and remaining teeth from shifting.

    There are so many benefits that make it more than worth it. It could be time to give your dentist in Puyallup a call.

    Some Of The More Common Tooth Replacement Options

    The optimal solution is going to differ based on your personal needs. However, there are numerous options to choose from. Here are a few:

    A Single Dental Implant

    A dental implant can be one of the best restorations to opt for when you have a missing tooth. Getting an implant will deliver the most natural result. The implant will act just like the tooth you lost and affix to your tooth’s natural roots. This ensures that your jawbone doesn’t lose density. This can help to retain the natural shape of your jaw structure and keep your remaining healthy teeth from getting negatively affected.

    With a tooth implant, you will get a customized tooth-colored crown that is going to function much like your missing tooth. It will help you continue eating foods you loved to eat before you lost your tooth. When well-maintained, a tooth implant can be long-lasting if not a lifetime solution.

    Dental Bridge

    A dental bridge is something that can close the gap created when you lose several teeth or a single tooth. You will get the dental bridge made custom to your needs. The bridge will rely on your adjacent healthy teeth to support it. These teeth will essentially be used as anchors for your false tooth/teeth which will then fill the subsequent gap. You could have the bridge supported by an implant, but the optimal solution would change based on your personal needs.



    This is typically the most common solution when you are missing several teeth. If so, dentures could be a good option. Dentures can help restore your smile so you can regain the confidence you once had. Dentures can be used to replace teeth in all quadrants of your mouth. This includes the upper and lower sections of your mouth. They can be customized to look natural and aesthetically identical to your natural teeth.

    You can call Johns Family and Implant Dentistry to get your free consultation. We can assess your oral health to figure out the best solution to solve your missing tooth or teeth problem. We will create an optimized treatment plan that works with your smith and your respective budget. We look forward to seeing you soon!

My Gums Bleed! What Does This Mean?

So, you see a little blood while you brush and floss and you think it’s nothing because it doesn’t hurt. Well, in reality, it is your body trying to tell you something. It’s a warning sign that your gums are inflamed. What is this “inflamed” business you ask? Well, inflammation is your body’s natural defense system when we are sick or injured. It can be a swollen ankle or foot from a sports injury but it can also be swelling around infections and disease. So, what does inflamed gums have to do with our oral health? Great question and a very important one.

Our gums surround our teeth and play a vital role to our ability to smile and eat. The bone that lies around the teeth are effected by the gum tissue that lay over it. If the gum tissue isn’t health, the bone underneath it mirrors that. So, what happens to the bone when the gum tissue is unhealthy. A WHOLE LOT! If the gum tissue is so inflamed and is trapping harden bacteria (aka tartar), your bone slowly disintegrates- it literally goes away. If there isn’t good bone around your teeth, you get LOOSE teeth. This is the “gum disease” or periodontal disease and it can start from some bleeding gums!

So, how do I take care of my bone and gums. It’s quite simple and you have heard it from grade school. Good brushing and FLOSSING. With good home care and routine visits to Johns Family and Implant Dentistry in Puyallup, we can prevent gum disease from destroying your bone. So, the early signs of gum disease is a little blood while you brush and that’s when we want to nip it in the bud and prevent further progression of the disease.

The Negative Effects of Mouth Breathing

WE ALL KNOW WHAT it’s like to have a cold, with a nose so stuffy that you can’t breathe through it. At times like that, we breathe through our mouths instead, and that’s pretty much how it should work. Mouth-breathing is an emergency backup, not the default. There are many negative effects of mouth-breathing full-time, particularly if the habit begins in childhood.

Why Does Mouth-Breathing Become A Habit?
Many things can lead to a mouth-breathing habit. A small child might get a cold and then simply continue breathing through his mouth when his nose clears. A problem with bite alignment can make it difficult to keep the mouth closed. Persistent allergies, overlarge tonsils, or a deviated septum could make nose-breathing difficult or impossible most of the time. Fortunately, these problems can often be solved by orthodontic treatment or surgery.

Why Mouth-Breathing Is A Problem
In the short term, mouth-breathing leads to a variety of issues, including:

Dry mouth: mouth-breathing dries out the mouth, removing the first defense against oral bacteria. This can lead to consequences such as chronic bad breath and tooth decay.
Lack of energy: getting less oxygen by breathing through the mouth will result in poor sleep quality and lowered energy levels overall. For kids, this means difficulty paying attention in school, and for adults, work productivity can suffer.
The negative effects of mouth-breathing don’t stop in the short-term. They can actually be life-altering, particularly when the habit begins in childhood and goes unchecked.


Facial structure: mouth-breathing can actually lead the bones of the face to develop differently, yielding flat features, drooping eyes, a narrow jaw and dental arch, and a small chin.
Sleep apnea: the risk of sleep apnea goes up with mouth-breathing, and this can make it difficult to get a restful night’s sleep.
Orthodontic treatment: the narrowed dental arch of a chronic mouth-breather rarely has enough room for the full set of adult teeth, and this will require orthodontic treatment to correct.

The Benefits Of Nose-Breathing
Breathing through the nose doesn’t just help you avoid the effects of mouth-breathing; it comes with additional benefits too! Here are just a few of them:

The nose acts as an air filter, delivering clean air to the lungs and reducing the amount of allergens that get in.
Nose-breathing produces nitric oxide, which helps with oxygen absorption and sterilizes the air.
Nose-breathing strengthens the immune system by activating immunoglobulin production.
Need Help Building Healthier Breathing Habits?
If you or your child has a mouth-breathing habit, it can be tricky to break, especially if the cause is a physical obstruction that requires treatment. Schedule a dental exam with Johns Family and Implant Dentistry right away so the cause can be detected and you can get on the road to healthier breathing and all the benefits that come with it!

5 Tips To Avoid Periodontal Disease

When the bacteria responsible for plaque and tooth decay build up underneath the gum line, they produce toxins that damage the connective tissues that keep teeth firmly in place. This is called periodontal disease, a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep your gums and teeth healthy. Here are five tips for preventing gum disease.

1. Brush Longer

Use fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at least two times a day, preferably after meals. Take your time when brushing, carefully scrubbing near the gum line. Brushing correctly should take two or three minutes.

2. Floss Every Day

Flossing isn’t just for removing food stuck between your teeth. It also helps to prevent plaque formation in places the toothbrush can’t reach. It’s important to get into the habit of flossing every day.

3. Use High-Quality Mouthwash

A trustworthy mouthwash can kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontal disease. It’s not designed to replace brushing and flossing, but to enhance their effects. Always look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on mouthwash.

4. Eat Healthy Foods

Your body needs the right minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to take care of gums. Some vitamins boost your immune system, helping fight oral bacteria. Others are involved in creating new gum tissue, strengthening your teeth, and improving blood flow to the gums. Here are several essential vitamins for vibrant gum tissue:

Calcium
Vitamin D
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
B Vitamins


For example, vitamin C improves gum healing, while vitamin D increases the amount of calcium available for bones and teeth. In addition to getting positive nutrients, it’s also important to cut down on sugary foods. Mouth bacteria feed on sugars to create plaque.

5. Avoid Tobacco Products

Cigarettes can lead to gum disease. They also put you at risk for oral cancer. Tobacco can increase the amount of plaque on teeth, speed up bone loss, slow down healing, and harm the gums directly.



Plaque is one of the biggest enemies of healthy gums. A big part of avoiding periodontal disease is preventing plaque from forming. If you follow these gum care tips every day, a regular dental checkup is usually all that’s needed to clean any leftover plaque from teeth.

When to Schedule a Visit With Your Dentist

Always paying attention to the warning signs of periodontal disease. This can help you catch minor issues before they become more serious. It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with our dental professionals if you notice these symptoms:

Gums that bleed easily
Purple or deep red gums
Swollen gum tissue
Bloody saliva after brushing or flossing
Gums that appear to shrink or recede
Bad breath


These early issues can indicate the beginning of gum disease. As it progresses, other problems can appear that warrant calling a dentist immediately. For example, if any teeth become loose or wobbly, or fall out, contact a periodontist as soon as possible. Pus, pain when chewing or bite changes are also signs of serious dental health issues.

Contact the Experts at Johns Family and Implant Dentistry Today!

At Johns Family and Implant Dentistry in Puyallup, our gum health professionals can provide an in-depth periodontal examination to check for signs of gum disease. Modern technology gives us a close look at areas of the teeth normally hidden from view, such as underneath the gum line. After this exam, we can take great care of your gums with a complete periodontal cleaning. This includes removing tartar and plaque and polishing tooth surfaces. To learn about patient financing options and specials, or to schedule an appointment with an expert periodontist, contact our friendly team right away.

How Does Dental Health Affect Overall Health?

Many people make the mistake in considering dental health as a separate component from physical and even mental health. In actuality, each of these is highly interconnected and can set off a chain reaction for better or worse, depending on how well you take care of your body. It’s a much better paradigm to consider your health comprehensively and take care of it as such. Though we frequently hear that proper dental hygiene and care is essential, it’s not so often that we hear why this is so.

Johns Family and Implant Dentistry answers these questions in the context of dental health as well as explaining how dental, physical, and mental health are all integral to each other.
ORAL HEALTH CARE MATTERS
Dentist and patientAs organic beings, humans are host to many naturally-occurring bacteria or microorganisms. For most people, healthy habits such as proper nutrition and good hygiene are enough to keep things in balance and under control. Oral care including proper brushing, regular flossing as well as regular dental check-ups help the body’s natural defenses keep these levels in check. However, when people relax on these proper dental routines, this can allow the ‘bad’ bacteria to excessively proliferate, possibly leading to numerous different health issues.

Researchers have found that there are billions of bacteria inhabiting the average person’s mouth; Dr. Walter Loesche from the University of Michigan estimates around 20 billion. Some oral bacteria was also found to proliferate in ideal conditions every 5 hours. However, brushing your teeth and your tongue can help prevent this proliferation. But Dr. Loesche warns, “There are 20 billion bacteria in your mouth and they reproduce every five hours. If you go 24 hours without brushing, those 20 billion become 100 billion!” To put it in perspective, that’s more than 14 times the amount of people inhabiting this earth!

Besides being a fascinating ‘petri dish’ of bacteria, why does this matter? If bacteria is left behind without proper brushing, it begins to form plaque, a sticky, invisible residue comprised of bacteria. If left longer still, this plaque develops along the gumline into calcified build-up called tartar. Mineral build-up in saliva can also contribute to the development of tartar. Either way, both tartar and plaque can begin to irritate the gingiva, or the part of the gums at the base of your teeth. The irritation can lead to red, swollen gums given to bleeding easily, noted especially during teeth brushing or cleaning.

GINGIVITIS AND PERIODONTITIS
When gums become swollen and inflamed, this condition is known as gingivitis. If left untreated, the worst case scenario is that the gingivitis will lead to periodontitis, or gum disease.

Periodontitis is serious for several reasons. At this stage, the inner lining of gum and bone incur damage, causing them to pull away from the tooth/teeth. This forms a gap or a pocket which is most inviting for bacteria to collect. As this toxic bacterial environment proliferates, the body’s immune system is triggered to fight the infection. In more serious cases of periodontitis, the damage caused by both the toxins and the body’s attempts to destroy the bacteria continue to affect the surrounding tissue, weakening the tooth’s support system and eventually leading to tooth loss.

THE BRIDGE BETWEEN ORAL & PHYSICAL HEALTH
Here we see the most obvious connection between oral and physical health. With chronic inflammation and irritation, harmful bacteria are more likely to enter the bloodstream and take up residence in other places of the body.

For people with strong immune systems, the risk factors of a more serious complication are less. However, for those with compromised immune systems, these circumstances can present an endangerment to their health.

The following are some of the more serious complications resulting in the spread of bacteria through the bloodstream:

Cardiovascular Disease: The traveling bacteria can affect the arteries of the heart and contribute to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Plaque in the form of cholesterol and other substances collect in these areas which can eventually restrict or even block blood flow, resulting in heart attack or stroke. Researchers at the University of North Carolina discovered that people with gum disease were twice as likely to die of heart attack, and three times as likely to die from a stroke.

Endocarditis: Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart. This can result from bacteria spreading through the bloodstream and attaching to your heart.

Respiratory Infections Bacteria traveling through the bloodstream and settling in the lungs can escalate into respiratory infections like pneumonia or chronic conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Diabetic Complications Diabetes and gum disease are more interconnected than most other complications from gum disease. Bacteria thrive on sugars, which people with diabetes have trouble controlling. Those who are less stringent with their diabetic care can promote these problems more easily. The blood vessels of people with diabetes are typically thicker, which slows down the delivery of nutrients through the bloodstream, as well as slowing the movement of waste and toxins away from their source. Consequently, gums and bone tissue can weaken and become more susceptible to infection. However, people who adhere to proper diabetic care and are able to reduce blood sugar levels see a correlated improvement in their oral health as well.

The above-described are the more serious consequences of a chain reaction from poor oral and dental care. However, the reverse can happen as well.

PHYSICAL, DENTAL, & MENTAL CONNECTIONS
Sometimes, certain diseases or chronic conditions of the body can affect a person’s dental health, even if they practice good oral hygiene. In particular, diseases or conditions that involve a compromised immune system such as cancer, HIV, Crohn’s, Down’s Syndrome, etc. make a person more susceptible. The body’s reduced ability to fight off bacteria lead to increased infections and inflammatory conditions. In other cases, such as osteoporosis, periodontitis is caused by overall increased bone deterioration.

Mental health is also affected by proper oral & physical health care, for various reasons. Often times, when a person’s physical health is poor, their psyche reacts accordingly. With chronic or severe health conditions especially, a person may feel frustration, despair, or even anger. Studies have shown people that depressed spirits or a negative/cynical attitude slows the healing process, as opposed to the uplifting effect of a more positive outlook.

Additionally, people with dental health problems may feel insecure about their teeth or their smile. With our culture’s emphasis on appearance, this can contribute to self-esteem issues as well.

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR OVERALL HEALTH
For all of these reasons, it is crucial to have regular dental check-ups. As we discussed, some conditions cannot be prevented with good oral hygiene alone.

Johns Family and Implant Dentistry encourages you to take charge of your health. Whether you are seeking a dentist, needing to switch to a new one, or just want to make an inquiry, our compassionate staff is here to help. We realize it can be difficult to make a trip to the dentist, but our goal is to make you as comfortable, happy, and healthy as we can.

We are accepting new patients. Please contact our Johns Family and Implant Dentistry practice to schedule an appointment or discuss any questions or concerns. We look forward to hearing from you!

Dental Anxiety

How Can I Overcome Dental Anxiety?


The first and most important step in overcoming dental anxiety is to build a trusting relationship with a dentist. By communicating your fears, your dental team will be able to work with you to address and manage your specific concerns

Dental Anxiety: Why Does It Happen & How We Resolve It

Millions of people experience a phenomenon known as dental anxiety, which can prevent them from seeking the essential oral health care everyone needs. Dental anxiety is a real problem, and if you suffer from it, you know how crippling it can be. While it seems like your anxiety is telling you to ignore the dentist, we want to encourage you to confront your fears with new knowledge and helpful tools to cope.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is a state of apprehension, anxiety, or fear produced by the thought of an impending dental appointment. Some also call this condition dental fear or dental phobia. Odontophobia, literally fear of the dentist, is a recognized condition according to the World Health Organization (WHO). They estimate that fifteen to twenty percent of the population suffers from dental phobia or anxiety.

We often absentmindedly use these terms interchangeably, but in truth, “anxiety” and “phobia” indicate differing levels of severity. A person with mild dental anxiety may commit to consistent dental visits but exhibit signs of stress during the visit, such as high blood pressure, sweating, irritability, etc . . . However, someone with a severe dental phobia may suffer from panic attacks before even entering the dental office.

While many with mild dental anxiety may be able to rationalize and fight their fears in relation to which procedures they need to undergo, someone with severe phobia is too terrified to even call and schedule an appointment.

Who is Most Susceptible to Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety can affect anyone, but certain groups of people may be particularly susceptible. Past experiences, stories we hear, and the perceptions of our loved ones all shape the way we respond to the need for dental care.

Children

Children often fear new experiences, and the sights and sounds of a dental office can be intimidating. A parents’ reaction to visiting the dentist plays a large role in the way the children perceive dentistry. Parents who suffer from dental anxiety are very likely to pass this on to their children.

Mental Health Disorders

Those who suffer from any mental health conditions have a greater risk for experiencing symptoms of dental anxiety too. Mental health disorders may cause people to assume the worst-case scenario or have extreme paranoia towards the unknown. This can lead them to fear and cause them to avoid situations in which they cannot be in control, such as dental visits.

Major Dental Treatment

It goes without saying that the more extensive the necessary dental treatment is, the more likely we are to feel anxiety regarding an upcoming appointment. Patients who have neglected dental care for some time may require considerable treatment on many teeth. The prospect of such long, invasive appointments can cause significant fear and/or anxiety.

Bad Experiences in the Past

When someone has a negative experience with a dentist, it can influence our view of every dentist, assuming all future encounters will be similar. Often, these bad experiences occurred during childhood, and the powerful memories can induce a lifetime of fear.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dental Anxiety?

Those who suffer from dental anxiety often miss the warning signs because they can be subtle and seemingly unrelated to an upcoming dental visit. The manifestations of dental anxiety can be different for each individual. You may experience one or more of the following:

·       Restlessness or trouble sleeping the night before a dental visit

·       Feeling tearful or sad before, during or after a dental appointment

·       Flushed cheeks

·       Fast heartbeat

·       Elevated blood pressure

·       Sweating despite a cool room temperature

·       Feeling angry or easily irritated

·       Fainting or dizziness

·       Consistently missing dental appointments or canceling them at the last minute

Why Do I Have Dental Anxiety?

It can be easy to understand why many suffer from dental anxiety, whether it is caused by a fear of the unknown or a past negative experience. But what exactly are dental phobic patients afraid of? The most common triggers are thoughts of pain, the injection of local anesthetic (the “shot”), or choking or gagging during the procedure. These are quite understandable fears, especially if you have experienced trauma or stress from these things in the past.

Aside from physical discomfort, some patients are more bothered by the sounds of a dental handpiece (the “drill”). Many others fear putting themselves in the control of another person because they lack a trusting relationship with their dentist. Patients have also shared with us a fear of being shamed or ridiculed for the poor state of their dental health. Any reason for fear is valid and overcomable once identified.

While there can be aspects of a dental visit that are relatively uncomfortable, the risk of a true injury is extremely rare. Research estimates that the risk of death during a dental procedure is about one in ten million!

Why is it Necessary to Cure or Treat Dental Anxiety?

The biggest problem with dental anxiety is that it often causes people to avoid essential dental care. This can become a vicious cycle in which avoiding the dentist increases anxiety, and increasing anxiety leads to greater avoidance of necessary care. The longer someone goes without dental care, the worse his or her oral health will become. The worsening state of dental diseases only increases dental fears and anxieties because of the knowledge that worsening disease requires more extensive treatment, thus heightening dental anxiety even further.

In addition to worsening dental disease, avoidance of the dentist makes you more unfamiliar with the sights, sounds, and other sensations of a dental visit, leading to an ever-worsening fear of the unknown. The longer you stay away, the more scary any dental procedure seems in your mind, and the more difficult it becomes to return to the dentist again.

We do not mean to imply that someone with severe dental phobia should simply power through and force themselves into receiving dental care. We understand the truly uncontrollable nature of some anxieties. If a patient is faced with a severe phobia, we advise you to seek professional help through therapy or medication so you can safely undergo necessary dental care.

Is There a Cure or Treatment for Dental Anxiety?

There are many treatments for dental anxiety, and there are many compassionate dentists who will work with you to help you overcome your fears and receive the essential oral health care you need. Because dental anxiety ranges widely in its causes, manifestations, and severity, the treatments also range widely. These can be as simple as meditation or prayer, or as detailed as single-step dental treatments utilizing sedative medications.

However, the first and most important step in overcoming dental anxiety is to build a trusting relationship with a dentist. By communicating your fears to a compassionate dentist, they will be able to work with you to address and manage your specific concerns. Here are some suggestions to find a dental practice that can help ease your anxiety.

An Attentive Team

A large part of dental anxiety comes from a fear of not being in control. By understanding the various aspects of your dental treatment and trusting that your dental team will allow you to take breaks or ask questions throughout the visit, you can regain some sense of control. Tell your dentist your concerns, and they should respond with kindness and a desire to help. Don’t be shy about asking questions regarding your treatment until you understand the procedure. Communication plays a very important role in fighting dental anxiety.

A Practice with Modern Technology

If you have not sought dental care in many years, you will be happy to learn that improved technology has made many dental procedures less invasive and more comfortable for patients! From the initial check-in process, to impressions and digital imaging, dentistry has modernized to make appointments shorter, safer and more enjoyable for our patients. Ask your dental practice what new procedures they’ve implemented since your last visit.

Options for Comfort and Convenience

Many dentists offer amenities to help anxious patients relax, including headphones with music to listen to or shows to watch, blankets, and neck pillows. Some dentists can also provide those requiring more than just physical comfort with sedative options. Laughing gas is a mild anxiety-reducer that does not have any lingering effects, allowing you to drive yourself to and from your dental appointment. Deeper sedation is also available, so that you sleep through your entire visit and remember almost nothing!

Dental Anxiety: Your Next Steps

If dental anxiety has kept you from seeing a dentist in recent years, your next step is finding a dentist you trust. Building trust can take time, but you can expedite that relationship building in a few ways. Read online reviews to understand the experience of other patients in your community. Schedule an interview with the dentist so you can assess your own impression of his or her compassion and communication before they provide you treatment. And ask questions about how this dentist handles patients with dental anxiety.

Don’t be afraid to start small. When you’re ready, schedule a relatively short and non-invasive procedure first, then work your way toward the more extensive treatments you need. We want every patient to receive the dental care he or she needs to be healthy for life!

 

 

 

 

Toothache Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

What is a toothache or tooth pain?

Tooth pain, also known as a toothache, occurs when the nerves within or surrounding a tooth become inflamed or irritated, resulting in discomfort.  
What are the symptoms of a toothache?

Toothaches are often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:

*Pain resulting only when pressure is applied to the tooth or when you bite down
*Swelling around the tooth or of the jaw
*Fever
*Headache
*A foul taste in the mouth caused by drainage from the infected tooth
*Sensitivity to cold or heat
*Tenderness or ache in or around your tooth


What causes tooth pain?

Tooth pain, or toothaches, can arise from various causes, including improper tooth development in young children, minor injuries such as biting into a hard object or aggressive flossing, as well as more severe underlying conditions.

Painful or sensitive teeth can be the result of tooth fractures, periodontal disease, or dental decay.

Causes of toothaches may include:

*Tooth Decay. Tooth decay is the most common reason for a painful toothache. However, for the tooth and the surrounding area to be in pain, the tooth decay would need to be significant enough to reach the inner layer of the tooth (the dentin). When this has happened, the tooth becomes very sensitive and a cavity has formed.

*Abscessed Tooth. When tooth decay advances to the point of affecting the root beneath theTooth decay illustration with hand that has numbing ointment on finger visible part of the tooth, there’s a high probability that the root and the surrounding tissue have become infected, resulting in widespread, pulsating pain.

*Tooth Fracture. Teeth can be cracked or chipped in many different ways. If you’re experiencing pain in a fractured tooth, the fracture has made its way to the middle of the tooth where the nerve endings are. Note that this may not happen as soon as the tooth is damaged, but can develop over time as the damage becomes worse.

*Damaged Filling. A dental filling protects vulnerable parts of a tooth and, when it becomes damaged, the sensitive parts of the tooth are exposed to extreme temperatures, food particles, and bacteria. This can result in pain that can be anywhere from dull to sharp.

*Grinding Teeth. Teeth grinding is a common cause of tooth pain and can lead to sore jaw bones and joints, headaches, and even cracked or chipped teeth.

*Toothaches can also result from the loss of a tooth, such as after an extraction, when the nerves of surrounding teeth have been jarred or exposed.

Sometimes tooth pain is pain from other areas that has radiated to the jaw, where it seems to be a toothache. Ear pain, sinuses, and the temporomandibular joint—or jaw joint—can all develop pain that, over time, may seem to originate at the tooth.

How long will a toothache last?

There is really no way to tell how long a toothache will last. If it is simply the result of biting or brushing too hard, it may subside immediately or shortly after. If it is caused by something more serious, the pain may come and go, but never really go away completely.

Chances are if you are experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, there is probably an underlying reason that needs attention. Putting off going to the dentist will most likely exacerbate the problem, leave you in pain longer, or even progress into something else even more painful. When in doubt, schedule a visit with your dentist so he or she can identify the cause of your pain and provide some appropriate treatment options.

When should I be worried about my tooth pain or toothache?

If your toothache pain is severe, does not respond to over-the-counter pain relief, or lasts longer than 1 or 2 days, you should consult your dentist. Another cause for concern is if you are also experiencing an earache, fever, or pain when opening your mouth.

How is toothache treated?

The toothache treatment options depend primarily on the cause of the tooth pain, which can only be determined by a dentist. If your dentist determines a cavity is causing your discomfort, you will need to have the cavity filled or the tooth extracted. If the tooth’s nerve is infected, you may need antibiotics and/or a root canal. A root canal is a dental procedure that removes the infected pulp of a tooth—the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth—then cleans and seals the tooth.

There are things you can do at home to treat your tooth pain while you wait for an appointment. Avoid very hot, cold, or hard foods, and use an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Treating Toothaches and Tooth Pain with Johns Family and Implant Dentistry

Don’t let toothaches or tooth pain keep you down. Johns Family and Implant Dentistry makes getting the dental care you need fast, easy, and convenient. From routine dental cleanings and checkups to emergency dental care, Johns Family and Implant Dentistry’s caring and professional staff in Puyallup, South Hill, Sunrise are ready to help. Schedule your appointment today.