Saturday, 23 May 2015

Helping Reduce Dental Fear in Children at Your Dental Surgery

Thousands of children around the world suffer with dental problems. We have seen this problem escalating in the United Kingdom with almost five hundred children being hospitalised each week for dental work. A high number of these children need up to eight of their milk teeth extracted with a minority needing all twenty removed under general anaesthetic.

This is a serious concern which is growing and I have found that educating expectant mothers in my dental practice has helped them understand the importance of good oral health in their children moving forward. Many expectant mothers are not even aware how important it is for them to ensure they have enough calcium in their diet while pregnant and that their baby’s teeth start forming while the baby is still in the womb.

The First Appointment   
I try and make the first appointment as stress free as possible for the parents. I have found that when the parents are on edge at that first appointment, the child acts the same way, which can make the examination exceptionally difficult for both the child and myself. Over the years I have found that keeping the parents calm, explaining the process and ensuring they understand what the examination entails, helps calm their fears, which is passed on to their child.

Make Appointments Fun

While a dental appointment should be a fun experience, I ensure that all the children that visit my practice have fun and enjoy the experience. We have plenty of toys and books for children in the waiting room and I make use of puppets and toys to calm them throughout the examination and treatment process.

I also ensure the parents are taken care of, keeping them calm and relaxed, building up a good relationship with them and their children. I often find after the initial visit, the children are excited to visit me and walk in quite happily on their own because they know that they can trust me.

We play some fun nursery rhymes in the back ground and when they leave I have special oral health packs make up which include a toothbrush and toothpaste. I sit and explain to the children the importance of oral health and ensure they know how I am going to proceed with the examination before I touch them.

I find that I treat children the same as I treat my anxious patients. Explaining the process in terms they understand helps put them at ease and ensures the examination goes according to plan.

Recommend a Pretend Visit

Over the years I have found that parents who fear the dentist automatically pass that fear onto their children. While they don’t mean to do it, I will get a child in that has never visited the dentist and is absolutely petrified. When a parent phones in and advises us that their child is scared, we recommend a pretend visit.

A pretend visit is we go through the paces of booking an appointment, making them come in and wait in the waiting room and come into the surgery, except I don’t do any work. I sit and chat to the child, explain what I do and let them have a look around. I let them hear the drill and experience the noises. Once they are comfortable, we then set up the real appointment for a future date.

Always Be Prepared

Even the most experienced dentist will come across that one child that just won’t sit in the chair and be treated. It’s not unusual. The best thing is to be prepared. I expect it from every child patient I see and have found that turning the experience into a positive one and not forcing the issue, helps in the long run. The last thing you want is the mother holding down the child while you work on them, this is only going to cause a negative memory which will affect them in the future, which is why I allocate more time to the children appointments, ensuring the treatment and examination is carried out at their pace.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Benefits of Attending Your Regular Dental Appointment

Thousands of people miss their routine dental appointment each year. In many instances patients aren’t aware how important their routine dental appointments are and are under the false impression that they can miss it as they don’t feel there is anything wrong.

Dr Tariq Drabu, a leading dentist and specialist oral surgeon, advised that the problem with patients missing their routine dental appointment is that important dental problems can be missed, which would be caught early if they attended their appointments. Most dentists will set up routine requirements for their patients at six or twelve month intervals, depending on their overall dental health.

There are many reasons you shouldn’t skip your appointment. You may feel your teeth are in good condition and you brush and floss regularly so you have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately this isn’t always true.

The main benefit to attending your routine dental appointment is that problems are caught early on. The dentist does a thorough examination and checks your teeth, gums, mouth and face to ensure that there aren’t any problems that need urgent treatment.

As with any oral problem, catching it in the early stages can save you money in the long run. If you have a cavity which is just starting but you aren’t aware of it yet, having it treated sooner rather than later can reduce the risk of having to consider root canal treatment or possibly extraction in the weeks or months to come. 

As with most dental treatments in the UK, having a root canal treatment can cost more than a basic filling on your routine appointment, so you actually save money by making the time and actually going to your appointment at the required time.

The dentist will do a thorough examination of your entire head, mouth, teeth and gums during your routine dental appointment, this may or may not include x-rays to identify potential problems, catching them as early as possible. With recent increases in mouth and oral cancer cases throughout the world, the dentist has become an integral part of catching the disease early and ensuring the patient gets the right treatment as soon as possible.

As with any cancer, being diagnosed early increases life expectancy and increases the chances of the treatment working. Ignoring potential problems when it comes to oral health can only cost you moving forward.

Dr Tariq Drabu also advised that a routine dental appointment isn’t time for the dentist to scold the patient in terms of their oral health, but it does provide an opportunity for the dental professional to ensure the patient is carrying out a good oral health routine at home and educate them on oral health.

 It is also an opportunity for the patient to ask questions and discuss the future of their oral health to promote healthy teeth and gums in the future.

If you have plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, your routine dental appointment may include a visit to the dental hygienist. The dental hygienist will give you a professional clean, removing the hard tartar to ensure that you enjoy a healthy mouth. The build-up of tartar can lead to irritation and gum disease, which is a problem on its own and can lead to tooth loss if ignored.

The final benefit of a routine dental appointment is to provide you with peace of mind. Visiting the dentist and being given the “all clear” ensures that you can continue to your next appointment knowing that you are carrying out a good oral health routine at home that is providing you with the results you need.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Your Teeth are affected by What You Eat

It is so important that you realise that what you eat can affect your oral health. Many patients don’t realise that eating certain foods can promote tooth decay and gum disease, while certain foods can help protect their teeth in the future.

I believe in educating my patients, helping them enjoy good oral health in the future. One of the important things to note when looking at foods to eat to help your teeth and gums is to avoid processed foods. We all hear about eating a healthy and well-balanced diet to enjoy good overall health, but the fact is that a good diet can also improve your oral health and reduce the risk of decay, cavities and gum disease moving forward.

Avoid refined flours, foods high in sugar and excessive alcohol. It is also advisable when choosing a mouthwash to avoid those that contain alcohol. Alcohol dries the mouth, which leads to a reduced amount of saliva. What you may not realise is that saliva is imperative to your oral health. Saliva is alkaline and thereby protects your teeth on a daily basis.

If you are taking prescription medications, then ensure you follow a strict oral health routine and drink plenty of water. Some prescription medications can have a negative impact on your oral health moving forward.

There are certain factors you can take into consideration to help promote your oral health and prevent tooth decay and cavities, based on what you consume.

Green tea is very healthy and is also very useful in promoting oral health. Green tea is an antioxidant, but also contains fluoride which is important to your oral health.

Reduce your sugar intake. While this may sound obvious, you may not realise what damage sugars actually do to your teeth. If you enjoy fruit juice, reduce the amount you drink from the shop and rather make your own. Fruit juices that are shop bought usually contain sugars, which is something many people don’t realise.

Making your own fruit juice means you know it is only real fruit in the juice. Bear in mind that some fruits have natural sugars, so you may want to drink them through a straw, pointing the straw to the back of your mouth, so the liquid doesn’t affect your teeth.

Eat plenty of crunchy fruits and vegetables. Eating crunchy foods increases saliva production, which can help protect yourteeth from acids and sugars moving forward.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Tips to Dealing with Dental Pain

Toothache is one of the worst pains anyone can experience. Unlike other types of pain, toothache can be constant and nagging, leaving you depressed and miserable until you get to see your dentist.

The good news is that most dentists do keep emergency appointments available each day to cater for patients who suffer with severe pain. Remember you will have to phone your dentist as they open in the morning to secure one of these appointments to ensure you get seen that day.

In the event that the pain worsens overnight and you can’t control it, you can visit the accident and emergency department at your local hospital. They cannot repair the tooth, but they will be able to help you manage the pain and make you feel more comfortable.

There are certain items you may have in your home cupboard, which you can use to control the tooth pain until you get to see your dentist, according to leading dentist and specialist oral surgeon, DrTariq Drabu.

One of the items that works wonders when it comes to dental pain is cloves. Whether you have whole cloves or clove oil at home, you can use it directly on the tooth to numb the pain. Cloves are a natural anaesthetic, numbing the tooth and relieving the pain.

Be careful when using clove oil on the tooth, as you don’t want to get it on your gums. Tip an ear bud into the liquid and then gently hold it on the tooth. While the taste may be horrid, the effects are almost immediate and can provide some relief. You will have the repeat the process over a few hours until you get to your dentist and they can help you with the problem, relieving the pain moving forward.

When experiencing tooth pain, Dr Tariq Drabu also recommends you rinse your mouth with warm water and salt. Mix salt in warm water and then rinse around the area. Salt is a natural antiseptic, while this may not relieve the pain itself, it will reduce the risk of infection. With infection you may have to take antibiotics before dental treatment can be carried out, therefore ensuring you take precautions ensures when you see the dentist they can treat you straight away, helping you relieve the pain.

Dr Tariq Drabu also recommends that you take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of dental pain on a daily basis. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to your oral health. This means reducing your sugar intake. Sugar is a leading cause of dental cavities and by reducing the amount of sugar you consume, you can significantly reduce the risk of oral pain in the future.

Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated. Dry mouth or dehydration can result in your teeth suffering as a result. Saliva is alkaline and imperative to protecting your teeth on a daily basis. By drinking plenty of water you can help keep your mouth moist and therefore protecting your teeth.

You will also want to enjoy some crunchy fruits and vegetables. Stay away from acidic foods. The crunchy foods will increase saliva production, which in turn helps you protect your teeth moving forward.

Finally, Dr Tariq Drabu advised that it is imperative that you keep your routine dental appointment. Many patients don’t realise the importance of a routine dental appointment, especially if they aren’t in pain.

During a dental appointment, the dentist will examine your mouth, face and neck. This helps them identify any potential problems and treat them early to reduce the risk of tooth pain moving forward.

Friday, 15 May 2015

How to Reduce Dental Anxiety

Thousands of people suffer with dental anxiety around the world. The good news is that you are not alone in your fear, but each person’s fear varies. The problem with dental anxiety is that unlike some other fears, you are completely aware of your fear, which can make visiting the dentist the most horrific experience in your life.

The biggest problem for people suffering with this anxiety is that they won’t visit the dentist until they are in complete agony. Those suffering from anxiety will ignore signs and symptoms that there is a problem with their teeth or gums, they will wait until they cannot take the pain anymore and only then, they may consider visiting the dentist moving forward.

There are a number of symptoms you can look for which can help you identify if you have a problem. One of the most common signs that you may be suffering from dental anxiety is problems sleeping the night before your dental appointment. The anticipation and fear may be so overwhelming that you find it impossible to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Another sign that you may be suffering from fear of the dentist is you get exceptionally nervous in the minutes leading up to your dental appointment. Once you enter the practice and sit in the waiting room, the fear starts to overwhelm you. Some people may even hyperventilate because they get themselves so worked up.

Some people find that after their dental appointment, they are so relieved it’s over that they start to cry. The crying is a sign of relief and is a definite sign that you suffer from dental anxiety.

The causes of this condition vary from person to person. The most common reasons result from past experiences. Some people find that they are afraid because their parents were afraid when they were children and the fear passed on to them, as they didn’t know any better.

For some people the fear of pain is so debilitating that they will wait until they can’t take the problem any longer before seeking professional help. Some people have a fear of needles and the thought of having to have an injection is too much to bear, while others fear the outcome of an anaesthetic or they don’t like the feeling of not being in control.

Dr Tariq Drabu advised that dentists are more sensitive to dental anxiety these days and work with the patient to help them manage their fear and get the treatment they deserve. A good example is patients who have a fear of needles can have gas to numb the area while being worked on, rather than subjecting them to a needle.

There are ways to manage your fears and help you relieve your anxiety when you need to visit the dentist. The first step is to discuss your fear with the dentist in person. Your dentist will be able to make note that you suffer from anxiety and work with you so you feel more comfortable and help you get the treatment you need.

You may want to learn some breathing techniques for relaxation to help you feel calmer as you wait for your appointment. Deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, concentrating on your stomach as you breath can help calm you and help you focus on something other than the treatment you are about to have done.

Whatever you do, don’t let your children see your fear. Dr Tariq Drabu advised that children of parents who fear the dentist are likely to also fear the dentist in the future

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Children and Oral Health

There has been so much news of late about the poor oral health of children here in the United Kingdom. As a dentist, this is a serious concern and my team and I spend a lot of time with the parents coming into our surgery, educating them on oral health in children, ensuring their children receive the best level of oral care possible, promoting good oral health now and in the future.

It is so important that children have a regular oral health routine at home from an early age. From the very first tooth that pushes through, brushing should be carried out twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.

What many parents don’t realise is that they can use family fluoride toothpaste on their children, it’s just important to supervise brushing up to the age of seven.

I do recommend that children under three only have a very small amount of toothpaste, you just want to ensure that the teeth are clean and the plaque has been removed. 

Unfortunately many parents don’t realise that even primary or milk teeth do wear and cavities can form, which is exceptionally unpleasant for children.

Many people don’t see the importance of worrying about the milk teeth, as they will fall out in the future and be replaced with the adult teeth. The idea of starting a good oral health routine early on is to get the child into the habit of looking after their teeth and gums, a routine they can carry on into the future, ensuring they enjoy good oral health as adults.Brushing should be carried out for two minutes twice daily. 

The most important time to brush is right before bed and then once more during the course of the day, usually after breakfast before they leave for school. You can make it a fun and positive experience by using an egg timer and setting it for two minutes.This can help the child ensure that they brush for the full two minutes, concentrating on each individual tooth.

With younger children, you will want to guide them.Hold their hand, but let them do the work. This can help them see how to hold the toothbrush and the correct brushing method to promote healthy teeth and gums later in life.

All children should visit the dentist from the time their first tooth pushes through the gum. It is important to ensure you make the dentist appointment a positive experience, reducing the risk of your child suffering from dental anxiety in the future.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Tooth Whitening 101

Tooth whitening has become one of the most sought after cosmetic dental procedures we offer on a daily basis. Thousands of people choose to lighten their teeth, eliminating discolouration and stains on a daily basis.

It is important to note that tooth whitening will not make your teeth white, what it does is lighten your teeth by a few shades to provide you with a gleaming smile that you can be proud of.

A large volume of my patients choose tooth whitening as a way to improve their self-confidence and help them feel better about their smile, improving all aspects of their lives.

Chemical Bleaching

Something to note, which is so important, is to only have your teeth whitened by a dental professional. In the United Kingdom, it is illegal for beauty technicians to offer   this service, it can only be carried out by a dentist or dental hygienist.

I also discourage my patients to consider over the counter bleaching kits, which can result in serious damage to your teeth in the long term and can also cause the bleaching to be uneven as the mouth guard you use hasn’t been fitted for your own teeth.

Bleaching is a chemical process which is carried out under strict supervision of a dentist. It is usually carried out in the dental surgery and possible at home. The aim is to lighten the natural teeth.

During chemical bleaching you will meet your dentist who will assess your desired results and fit you with a tray designed for your teeth. This ensures the correct size and whitening solution is used. This is an affordable solution, though it may require you visit the dentist on numerous occasions until the desired colour is achieved.

Laser Treatment

Laser whitening treatments are carried out in the dental practice. With this particular process the teeth become noticeably whiter in a shorter period of time. It is a relatively easy process which involves bleach being applied to the teeth and then a laser is used to activate the bleach, penetrating into the enamel to lighten the tooth colour. 

The amount of time taken for the treatment depends on the discolouration of the teeth. This is a fast and effective process, though it is more expensive than the chemical bleaching solution.

To identify the best solution for you, speak to your dental professional. Ensure you discuss your desired results and let them recommend the solution they feel best meets your expectations.