Close

News & Articles

Why Should You Get a Dental Cleaning Every 6 Months?

There are a few things in life that you do over and over. You get your car’s oil changed on a regular basis. You pay your bills month after month. You mow your grass every time it gets long. Life is full of repetitive, yet important, tasks. Our bodies are no different. They need constant attention, often in the form of repetitive processes, in order to stay alive.

You’ve likely heard that you should see your dentist once every six months, but is that really the truth? Is that something you need to do with such a regular basis. Believe it or not, the answer to that question will always be yes! Your teeth need to be cared for and maintained just as many other aspects of your life. In fact, regular dental cleanings are some of the most important things you can do for yourself. Let’s discuss why.

Cleanings Prevent Tooth Decay

No one likes having a cavity. Cavities lead to pain and tooth sensitivity, which are annoying and unhealthy. If left unchecked, cavities can lead to root canals and other oral health complications. Tooth decay starts with little microbes called bacteria. Bacteria thrive in your mouth, and they also like to eat away at your teeth until they form cavities. While brushing and flossing can get rid of a lot of this bacteria, they can’t get all of them. This is where dental cleanings come in. With professional tools and training, your dentist is able to remove bacteria and the plaque they form in ways that you typically can’t. Less bacteria means fewer cavities. It’s a win-win situation.

Cleanings Prevent Disease

While it may seem too simple, dental cleanings can also help prevent serious oral disease such as gum disease and oral cancer. Consider this. You likely don’t have any idea how to identify oral cancer in its early stages. Don’t beat yourself up over that. Most people don’t. However, your dentist can easily identify those signs during dental cleanings once every six months. As you start to get on a regular schedule with your dentist, he or she will be able to observe changes in your oral health and prevent serious problems from forming.

Cleanings Boost Your Confidence

There’s no better feeling than walking out of a store or gym feeling confident in the way you look. You can achieve that same feeling after walking out of your dentist’s office! Your smile is one of the most important aspects to your look, and dental cleanings can make that smile brighter. A good smile can boost your confidence in ways that nothing else can. Regular dental cleanings will keep your smile white, healthy and bright.

What Are You Waiting For?

Now you know why regular dental cleanings are so important. So, what are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate to call and set up an appointment with our staff today. You have nothing to lose! In fact, all you have is a healthy mouth and confident smile to gain.

Why Do Gums Bleed?

gingivitis and bleeding gumsBleeding gums can be scary, especially when it’s never happened to you before. If your gums are bleeding after you brush or floss your teeth, you might want to know what’s causing them to do so. Knowing some common causes of this condition can help you better understand, treat and prevent it from happening to you again. In most situations, bleeding gums are easy to treat and even easier to prevent. Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons your gums might bleed and what you can do to solve the problem.

Gingivitis

The most common reason for bleeding gums is gingivitis. If left alone long enough, plaque can build up at and below your gumline. This typically happens when you don’t brush or floss well enough to remove the plaque. If you suffer from gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease, you may also experience tender and swollen gums that bleed during brushing. While gum disease is scary, if you start brushing and flossing better, you can usually reverse the symptoms of gingivitis in its early stages.

Pregnancy

Another common reason behind bleeding in your gums is pregnancy. Some women experience gingivitis-like symptoms during pregnancy, especially when they brush and floss. This is called pregnancy gingivitis. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect the way your body responds to the bacteria in your mouth, leading to these symptoms. However, pregnancy gingivitis usually passes soon after the pregnancy is over.

New Oral Hygiene Routine

Sometimes, a new oral hygiene routine can cause your gums to bleed more than what you’re used to. You can typically expect some blood when you start flossing for the first time in a long time, but you may also experience it when you change up the way you floss your teeth. This can also happen when you start using a new toothbrush with harder bristles. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, you may want to change back to a brush with softer bristles. If you aren’t sure what kind of toothbrush you should be using, be sure to check with your dentist.

Nutritional Deficiencies

There are certain nutritional deficiencies that can also contribute to your bleeding gums. These are less common, but if you lack in vitamin K and C, your gums might bleed with more frequency. If you’ve tried everything else to get your gums back on track, you might want to check with your physician to test your vitamin levels. If you’re lacking in these nutrients, consider adding food to your diet that contains higher amounts of them.

Check with Your Dentist

If you’re worried about your gums, don’t hesitate to contact us, your go-to dentist in Oklahoma City. We can look at your gums and hone in on a reason for why they might be bleeding so much. Ultimately, your oral health is the most important, and you don’t want these symptoms to indicate something more serious. Take the time to set up an appointment today and you’ll be well on your way to healthy gums again.

Experience a Modern Dental Office in Oklahoma City

 

The dentist office is no place to fear or avoid, thanks the many technological advances in dentistry.

With the use of 3D imaging technology, the use of more durable, lightweight materials and improved tools, dental treatment is more effective, faster and more comfortable than ever.

With new and improved technology, patients have access to superior dental solutions such as same day crowns, Invisalign invisible braces, Zoom in-office teeth whitening, veneers, and metal-free fillings.

New dental technology has not only sped up the treatment process, but more sedation options are now available to relax overly worried patients.

A Modern Dental Experience

For the best dental experience and service for your family, choose a dental office that utilizes the newest and latest dental technology.

Creating Masterpiece Smiles is dental office in Oklahoma City that has been on the cutting edge of dentistry for many years. Our modern dental facility features only the newest dental technologies and equipment. All our dentists, hygienists and dental assistants are fully trained and experienced in all the latest dental methods and techniques.

We believe that each of our patients deserve the best treatment that only comes from using the most modern dental methods, equipment and materials.

Our four dentists have a combined experience of nearly 70 years so you know that your family’s dental health is in good hands.

For patients who are still apprehensive about visiting us, our dentists are certified and experienced in sedation dentistry, a specialization not every dental practice offers. We can offer patients the most appropriate type of sedation based on their intake preferences, level of anxiety and the length and intensity of their dental procedure.

We are committed to the health and well-being of each patient and the use of modern technology has enabled us to provide patients with the highest-quality, effective and efficient dental treatment and services.

Masterpiece Smiles provides a wide array of dental services including preventative and restorative dental care, family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry and skin treatment.

Whether you’re in need of a regular dental cleaning, need a bridge to replace some missing teeth, teeth whitening to brighten your smile or invisible braces to straighten your teeth, we are dedicated to helping each patient achieve the best, most natural smile possible.

Don’t be stuck with a family dentist that uses outdated methods, technology and equipment in order to keep prices low. Outdated dental practices can’t offer the comfortable, fast, high-level service your family deserves.

If you’re ready to make the switch to experience modern dentistry, contact Masterpiece Smiles today to schedule an appointment.

Oral Cancer Facts – For Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Stop Oral Cancer on Open Hand.This April was Oral Cancer Awareness Month, an annual effort to increase the discussion around this serious subject and encourage more people to get screened for the disease. This is a very important discussion to have because it affects tens of thousands of people every year.

Despite the severity, though, a lot of people don’t realize that it’s a problem. Unfortunately, this leads to many people putting off their regular dental checkups or screenings, and then a diagnosis can’t be made until it’s too late.

To help expand this discussion, we wanted to take a look at some of the important facts and statistics.

A Closer Look at the Statistics

The National Cancer Institute provides a number of important statistics that highlight the importance of awareness of this disease. So, let’s start by looking at these statistics.

  • 49,670 – The estimated new cases of oral cancer in 2017.
  • 9,700 – The estimated deaths that result from this condition.
  • 5% – The percentage of people who survive 5 years or more after being diagnosed.
  • 55 to 64 – The age at which people are most frequently diagnosed.

The Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Part of understanding this disease is knowing the risk factors. So, let’s take a look at the things that may increase a person’s chances for this form of cancer.

  • A history of tobacco or heavy alcohol use (especially when using tobacco and alcohol together)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • A weakened immune system
  • Poor diet, nutrition, and oral hygiene can increase your risk
  • Men are also more likely to be at risk than women

It’s also important to understand that the stage in which the cancer is diagnosed can have a huge impact on how the patient will receive treatment. The earlier oral cancer is detected, the more likely the patient can be treated. In fact, the 5-year survival rate increases from 64.5% to 83.7%.

The good news is that more people have been getting the screenings and treatments that are needed, and the survival rate has gone up significantly since 1975 (when the survival rate was around 52%).

You Can Do a Self-Exam

If you’re concerned about these risk factors, or have noticed some possible symptoms, there are some simple things you can do to check things out for yourself (though this should just be as a preliminary measure before going in for a dental appointment). This method of self-examination will help you spot any potential problems.

  • Look and feel inside the lips and the front of the gums
  • Inspect the roof of your mouth
  • Check inside the surface of the cheeks and the back of the gums
  • Look at all sides of the tongue
  • Check for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in the sides of your neck and under the lower jaw

What Should You Look For?

So, now that we’ve looked at the methodology for self-diagnosis, let’s consider exactly what you should be looking for. These are some of the common symptoms for oral cancer, and if you spot any of them, be sure to mention it at your next appointment.

  • Red or white patches (or both) on the soft tissues
  • Sores that don’t heal and bleed rather easily
  • Abnormal lumps or thick tissues in the mouth
  • Constant or chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • A lump or lumps in the neck area

Early diagnosis is critical to receive the necessary treatment, so make sure you make your appointments and come in and get checked on a regular basis.

How to Make Your Teeth Last a Life Time

natural teeth Never underestimate the power of a healthy mouth. People who don’t take care of their teeth eventually end up with dentures, which are expensive, often uncomfortable, and make it harder to eat and taste your food. Instead of resorting to fake teeth in your old age, you can keep your natural teeth your entire life. As a dentist in Oklahoma, we are here to tell you that it’s easy and takes less time than you think.

Five Minutes a Day

Too many people feel like doing a proper mouth cleaning takes too much time out of their day. If you fall into this category, we have some good news. All it takes to have a healthy mouth is five minutes a day. The American Dental Association recommends flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day, every day, for two minutes. When flossing, make sure you scrape along the side of each tooth and along the gums of each space. With brushing, using proper technique is very important to ensuring a good clean.

  • Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Replace your toothbrush when the bristles are no longer straight, or approximately every 3-6 months.
  • Split your mouth into four quadrants and move systematically through each one. Start on the outer side of your teeth, then move to the biting surface, and finish up with the inner side. Move to the next quadrant after approximately 30 seconds.
  • Brush in circular motions and only apply slight pressure.
  • Don’t forget to brush your gums and tongue for a full mouth clean.

Follow up your routine with a little mouthwash to remove any lingering particles and bacteria.

Twice a Year

Getting a professional cleaning every six months is important to keeping your teeth as clean as possible. The hygienist scrapes off plaque and tartar, helping to prevent decay and tooth loss. This is also essential in preventing gum disease. Left unchecked, gum disease can contribute to tooth loss from receding tissue, bone loss, and just the inability to hold your teeth in your mouth.

These cleanings also give us a chance to examine your teeth visually and with an x-ray to stop small problems from becoming bigger ones. From cavities, TMJ pain, and oral cancer, we can do a lot to help manage your health and keep your teeth where they belong. Don’t underestimate the importance of a checkup twice a year.

No Time at All

The last step to a lifetime of healthy teeth is making healthy choices for your mouth. These choices don’t require time in most cases and are lifestyle choices.

  • Don’t smoke. If you already smoke, stop.
  • Limit sugary foods in your diet.
  • Make sure you’re getting all the required nutrients to support healthy bones and gums.
  • Protect your teeth by wearing a mouth guard while playing contact sports.

The last tip is to be aware of your teeth. If you start experiencing pain or something feels different or off in your mouth, make an appointment and get it treated right away. We want to help you keep your teeth healthy and functioning for however long you need them.

How Our Oklahoma City Dental Office Offers all the Services Your Family Needs

A mouth full of healthy, straight, pearly white teeth is something we all aspire to have.  At our Oklahoma City dentist office, Masterpiece Smiles, we have over 30 years of cosmetic and restorative dentistry that can make that perfect smile a reality.

Masterpiece Smiles utilizes the latest in dental technology and offers patients a selection of sedation dental services to help them relax and have a more pleasant dental experience.

We Make Patients Look Healthier and Younger With a Bright Smile

Masterpiece Smiles offers patients a variety of cosmetic dental procedures including teeth whitening, teeth bleaching, veneers, implants, life-like crowns, implants, dentures and dental bonding. The patients of our Oklahoma City dentist office can achieve having the bright, perfect smile they’ve always wanted at a price that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Masterpiece Smiles is different than other Oklahoma City dentists in that we help complete our patients’ beauty transformation by offering Botox and NeriumAD Skin Treatment. These products enhance and tighten the skin of the face and lips, yielding a youthful, healthy appearance. These services greatly complement our cosmetic dental services.

Our dentists are specially trained in Dentox, which include select dentists who use Botox in dentistry to help improve facial aesthetics, treat TMJ, migraines and deflated nasalblasial folds.

Dermal fillers and Botox treatments work great with our cosmetic dental services in giving our patients to look like their youthful, beautiful younger selves.

We Can Help Patients With Their Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) is a temporary dental condition where the joints of a patient’s jaw cracks and produces sometimes debilitating pain. Common and important tasks such as chewing and speaking can become difficult.

Our dentists can treat TMJ through such treatment options as exercises, medication and customized night mouth guards. If a patient’s temporomandibular joint disorder is severe and long-lasting, surgery may be needed.

We Provide Patients With the Latest in Dental Technology

At Masterpiece Smiles, we know our patients are investing a great deal into the improvement and restoration of their smiles. Our Oklahoma City dentist office utilizes the latest dental technology to meet patients’ dental needs and surpass their expectations.

Some of the dental technology patients will find at Masterpiece Smiles include: digital dental x-rays and ZOOM teeth bleaching system.

We provide Oral Surgery and Sedation Dentistry to Patients

In extreme cases, oral surgery is necessary to effectively treat a patient’s dental condition. Our Oklahoma City dentists are some of the few dentists certified to perform oral surgery.

At Masterpiece Smiles, we know that the dental office is a place many fear. We offer patients a variety of sedation dental services to help calm and relax them. Our dentist office in Oklahoma City has sedation ranging from medication and laughing gas to general anesthesia. The right form of sedation depends on the level of the patient’s anxiety and the invasiveness of the patient’s dental procedure.

Masterpiece Smiles also provides routine teeth cleaning, composite and silver fillings, and root canal therapy to patients. Whether you want to dramatically improve or enhance your smile or regain lost or damaged teeth, call us today to set up an appointment.

The Risks You Face When You Avoid the Dentist

Visiting the dentist is one simple way that you can take better control of your health. Brushing your teeth and flossing every day are important to keeping your teeth in good condition, but it isn’t enough. Regular trips to the office are required for optimal health.

Dental Cleanings

When you come into the office for a cleaning, the hygienist does more than just cleans your teeth. The x-rays we take help us know what is going on inside your teeth to get a more complete picture of their condition. After that, plaque is removed with our special tools. While brushing and flossing does help to limit the amount of plaque on the teeth, they can’t remove it all. It’s important to get the build-up off your teeth before it eats away at too much of the tooth enamel and causes cavities.

Another problem that plaque causes when built up for too long is gum disease. Scraping it away helps prevent eventual tooth loss. The best advice given by experts to prevent this from happening is with good oral hygiene and, you got it, regular dental cleanings. An added bonus is that less plaque means stronger teeth. While it is recommended to get your teeth cleaned professionally every six months, don’t go more than one year between visits.

Fixing Small Problems

No one loves getting cavities fixed, but it is necessary. When you come into the office routinely, we can monitor your teeth. Areas of interest are weak or dark spots that could turn into cavities. If one of these areas turns into a small cavity, it is better to get it fixed before it turns into something bigger. Other problems that come up are loose fillings and cracked teeth. You may not always notice these, but if it isn’t fixed quickly, the pain will hit you unexpectedly.

Another benefit of getting problems fixed earlier is that it saves you money in the long run. One small cavity can turn into a large cavity over time that requires a crown because the tooth becomes too brittle to fill. A crown is going to cost a lot more money, even with insurance, than it will to fill a cavity. It is also a longer procedure that takes more time to recover and involves more pain.

Cosmetic Advantages

Many foods cause tooth staining like coffee, cigarettes, and berries. When you come in for regular dental cleanings, your teeth are whiter and brighter. If you have minor things that bother you about your smile aside from the color, we can help you fix it too. When a smile is one of the first impressions you give a person, it helps if you feel confident smiling.

More than the Mouth

The mouth is not a stand-alone area of the body. It is connected to everything you do and your overall well-being is affected when there are problems. If you are dealing with dental pain or have a lot of missing teeth, eating is harder and proper nourishment suffers. When left for too long, cavities can reach jaw bone or mess with your sinuses.

Research studies are also showing that gum disease is linked to heart disease and stroke. Not keeping your mouth clean is also dangerous if you have diabetes because it makes it harder to control your blood sugar. The best ways to combat these health problems, according to the studies, are to brush and floss regularly and get regular dental cleanings to scrape off plaque.

We work hard to make sure that we aren’t just the best dentist in Oklahoma City, but that every visit is a positive experience. No matter what your dental experience has been in the past, we can help.

Top 10 Worst Foods for Your Teeth

You brush and floss your teeth regularly. You see your dentist regularly and do whatever he or she says. While you invest in toothbrushes, dental floss and mouthwashes, you can unknowingly be causing damage to your teeth by the food that you eat. The usual suspects such as citrus, coffee, tea, soda and sugar are included on the list of banned foods to avoid. Besides these usual suspects, there are other foods and drinks that you should also avoid, or at least, greatly limit the intake of. Below are some additional foods that are big “no-no’s” for dental health.

Hard candy

It has been known for years that chewy, sticky candies such as taffy and gum are magnets for cavities. These candies quickly adhere to the surface of teeth and leave behind particles in between teeth. You would think that hard candy is better as they don’t stick to teeth and there aren’t as many pieces that can get stuck in and between teeth.

But not so fast. Hard candies pose their own threat to the health of your teeth.  The sugar in hard candies dissolves slowly and exposes the mouth to dangerous sugar for several minutes. This gives bacteria more time to create acid that can destroy tooth enamel.  They expose to your teeth to sugar for longer periods of time. Sucking on a sucker is just as bad, if not potentially worse than soft candies.

Besides the prolonged exposure to sugar, hard candies can also destroy your teeth by posing the threat to causing cracks and fractures.

Pickles

Pickles make for an occasional snack. The salty tartness can be refreshing. These tastes are accomplished with the vinegar used in the pickling process. The vinegar, however, used to make pickles dissolves tooth enamel. A study was conducted in England which showed that eating pickles twice a day increased the odds of tooth wear by 85%.

Sports drinks

After a long, hard workout, a sports drink is a refreshing and vital recovery drink your body craves and needs. Drinking sports drinks while not heavily exercising can be dangerous for your teeth. Sports drinks are full of harmful acids that can destroy teeth enamel. Those energy drinks you rely on to get you through the day won’t help your teeth either. In fact, these drinks also contain dangerously high levels of enamel destroying acids.

Wine

Red wine contains two harmful ingredients that damage teeth: chromogens and tannins. Chromogens produce pigments that discolor teeth and tannins dry out the mouth and make the teeth extra sticky and prone to attract plaque. Despite its lack of color, white wine is just as harmful to your teeth as red wine is. White wine also contains enamel erasing acid that can make your teeth more susceptible to the stains from other foods and drinks.

Refined Carbs

Another reason to avoid white bread and saltine crackers is their harmful effects on your teeth. Refined carbs quickly turn into sugar which makes for a yummy meal for the cavity causing plaque, germs and bacteria. Crackers and bread can also turn mushy when being in your mouth chick can cause particles to get lodged on and between teeth.

Ice

Nibbling on some ice after finishing a cold, refreshing drink seems innocent enough. After all, ice is just frozen water. No sugars or cards or destructive pigmentation. While ice doesn’t eat away at the enamel, it can cause cracks and fractures of the teeth, loosen fillings and crowns and can damage orthodontic treatments.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a nutritious, convenient snack. They are also packed with unhealthy doses of sugar. They are also soft that enables sugary pieces to get stuck on the surface of teeth and in between teeth.

Potato Chips

Once in a while, it is nice to have a small bag of your favorite flavored potato chips. These yummy snacks contain refined carbs and other artificial ingredients that can compromise the strength and look of your teeth. The satisfying crunch is also a risk to your teeth as it can loosen brackets on braces, chip fillings and loosen crowns. Particles can also get lodged in between teeth which can become a breeding ground for plaque.

Chips aren’t the only hard snacks that you should avoid. Toast and popcorn are two other food favorites that can have the same devastating effects on your teeth.

Alcohol

Alcohol doesn’t have nutritional content, but it can be a relaxing reprieve at the end of a long work day. Cocktails, especially, are bad for your teeth. Not only is there alcohol which can damage tooth enamel, but they also contain high amounts of sugar which only adds to the enamel destruction.

Alcohol also dries out the mouth, which hinders you mouth’s natural cleaning mechanism from rinsing the plaque out from inside the mouth.

At Masterpiece Smiles, we are just as committed to the health of your teeth and gums. We offer a variety of dental services to give you the bright, straight, healthy smile you deserve. Contact us today to set up an appoint and let us help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.

Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce has the enamel eroding acidity and the pasty texture to make it get easily stuck to the surface of teeth as well as lodge debris in between teeth.

How to Make Brushing Fun for Kids and Adults

Let’s face it, kids are not the cleanest critters in the world. They actively seek out mud puddles to splash around in, avoid bath time at all costs, and worst of all, they rarely brush their teeth without a parental reminder. So, as a parent, how do you teach your kids good oral hygiene habits that they will willing follow? The number one thing that kids (and let’s be honest, adults too) love to do is have fun.

Can brushing your teeth be fun? You betcha, and here is how:

Kids Love Television

Everyone’s heard the phrase “tv rots your brain,” but in this case, allowing your kids to watch certain programs are actually beneficial in many ways. These days, shows are geared towards helping children learn important life lessons, in fun and exciting ways. If you child has a passion for Doc McStuffins, Spongebob Squarepants, or any other lovable character, most likely there are online games that are specific to teaching kids how to do things, such as brushing their teeth. If Spongebob has a flare for fighting cavities, your kids will be more willing to destroy harmful bacteria, too.

There is no fighting the digital world. Technology is here to stay, so take advantage of it while teaching your little ones the importance of oral hygiene. Jump online, find an interactive-brushing game, and watch your kids become enthusiastic about dental hygiene.

Whistle While You Work

The amount of time that a person, child or adult, should brush their teeth is a minimum of 2 minutes. Plenty of adults fall short in this area, so how will a youngster, who most likely is just learning the ins and outs of time, follow this important rule?

Easy… Music!

Find a song that they love, that’s at least 2 minutes long, and play it each time they brush their teeth. This will help teach them the concept of just how long they should be cleaning their chompers.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Sure, brushing your teeth can be a boring chore for a child, but perhaps a special Superman cape or a Luke Skywalker action figure can help them battle the monsters within their mouths (bacteria). A lightsaber toothbrush could be the perfect weapon in the great cavity war. Kids love a good story and allowing them to use their imagination to tackle the “tooth monsters” will make brushing interactive and fun, for you and them.

How About Some Friendly Competition?

Whether you have a gaggle of kids, two loving siblings, or trying to teach an only child, a little competition can motivate and encourage good dental habits. This could be as simple as having a goal chart and each time someone brushes their teeth (without being reminded), morning and night, they get a star. Whoever has the most stars at the end of the week receives a special prize. Maybe it is a small toy, a trip for ice cream, or popcorn and a movie of their choice. No matter the prize, competition is an incredible motivator, for kids and adults. This is a must-try method to help your little ones navigate the world of oral hygiene.

Be a Good Example

Ok, this one may not fall into the “fun” category as much as the others, but it is quite possibly the most important. Kids are extremely observant and will pick up on the habits of parents and older siblings, good or bad. When it comes to oral hygiene, “do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t cut it. Make sure that your children see you brushing and flossing daily. If you have family breakfast, lunch, or dinner you can make brushing after meals a family affair. If they see that brushing is important to you, it will become important to them as well.

Habits don’t just happen overnight. The average amount of time to form a habit, if you are diligent, is an average of 21 days. With these creative ideas, you can help your kids create good oral hygiene habits that will last them throughout their lives. Remember, if you don’t do it, they won’t do it. For more “fun” ideas on how to teach your kids to brush, contact our office and our friendly staff will be happy to share their knowledge.

Overcome Your Dental Fears with Sedation Dentistry

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry, sometimes called “sleep dentistry,” uses medication to help their patients relax during dental procedures. Most patients are relaxed, but still awake. Only patients who are under general anesthesia are asleep and unconscious.

Sedation can be used for any dental procedure from simple teeth cleaning to surgery. The level of sedation will vary depending on the extent of dental work needed and the severity of the patient’s anxiety. The most common sedation techniques and practices used in dental offices include: inhaled minimal sedation, oral sedation, IV moderate sedation, deep sedation and general anesthesia.

The levels of sedation are the following (from weakest to strongest effect):

Minimal sedation – The patient is relaxed, but awake.

Moderate sedation – Patients won’t remember the procedure and may be drowsy enough to slur words.

Deep sedation – Patients are on the verge of consciousness, but can still be easily awakened.

General anesthesia – Patients are completely unconscious during the procedures.

Though sedation is often prescribed for patient comfort during more intensive dental procedures, it is often useful for patients who have odontophobia, or extreme fear of the dentist. Using sedation will calm the patient giving him or her a more positive dental experience and it allows the dentist to do the procedure quicker and more efficient.

Fear of the Dentist

The fear of the dentist is very common. Some estimate that as many as 75% of the US adult population fear going to the dentist to some extent. Of that percentage, 5-10% have a debilitating fear where they avoid the dentist at all cost. Typically, women fear going to the dentist than men and younger people are more afraid than older adults. Understandably, people are more fearful of more extensive dental procedures, such as surgery, than routine teeth cleaning.

Those who have such a strong fear of the dentist are putting their oral health at risk. Pain and discomfort are clues that something isn’t right and need prompt professional treatment. Unaddressed issues, especially those that can’t be felt or seen, can easily turn into more complicated conditions that require intensive dental treatment.

How Sedation Dentistry Helps

Sedation takes away the pain and discomfort of dental procedures. Patients who fear going to the dentist fear feeling pain. Sedation relaxes the patient’s muscles and provides temporary numbness in the mouth.

Sedation can help erase bad memories. Most patients develop a fear of the dentist, not because of a bad past experience (though that is a major reason for some), but because of the coldness of the dentist and the smells, sights and sounds of the office. Some sedation techniques are strong enough that the patient will not remember the procedure. Not being able to remember the procedure may help patients overcome the mental block or the pain of negative past dental office visits. Not remembering the procedure make the procedures not as bad in the patient’s mind and make future dental office visits less dreadful.

Make the dentist’s job easier. When a patient is relaxed and cooperative, the dentist can complete the procedure quicker. The longer a patient is in the dental office, the worse their fear may become. Lessening the time of their procedure will help ease their fear.

At Masterpiece Smiles, we understand your concerns which is why we offer oral sedation, nitrous oxide and general anesthesia to help make our patients relaxed and comfortable while at our office. Don’t let the fear of the dentist keep you from getting the dental care you need any longer. Call us today to set up an appointment and go over our sedation offerings.