Friday, February 17, 2012

Tips for Relieving Dental Anxiety

Apprehension and anxiety are common for many patients prior to visiting the dentist. Unfortunately, many people suffer from a more severe form of anxiety know as dental phobia. If this causes you to delay or avoid treatment it can have a negative impact on your overall health.
Here are some strategies for relieving your dental anxiety:


Knowledge is the greatest defense against anxiety, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Make sure that before any treatments your dentist has explained your treatment options, what will be performed, and what you should expect as the patient. Research any procedures you feel uncomfortable about. Talk to friends or family members who have received similar treatments about their experience. Become familiar with the dentist office where your treatment will take place. Dental offices have changed dramatically over the years, the environment is more soothing, the technology more advanced, and most procedures can be completed quickly and painlessly.


It's very important to communicate your fears and concerns to your dentist. There may be specialized care or medications that your dentist can provide to help with your anxiety, but you won't know unless you communicate your needs. Visit a dentist you trust, one who will take the time to talk to you and understand your fears. Make sure you have an open and honest relationship and that you are on the same page. Sometimes just knowing what to expect can eliminate your fears.


Anxiety commonly causes people to inadvertently hold their breath. This only increases the panic feeling. Focus on breathing regularly and slowly, take big breaths and pause between inhaling and exhaling.

Distraction Techniques:

You may find that focusing your attention away from your dental treatment may help to avoid anxiety.

You may try:
  • listening to music, or watching a movie or TV
  • concentrating on relaxing your body and breathing
  • thinking about something that gives you pleasure (ie. playing baseball, relaxing on the beach).


    Making some minor changes to your diet before visiting the dentist can help with your anxiety. Try to avoid caffeine and stay away from sugary foods. Eat high-protein foods and drink plenty of water.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


My four month old daughter is drooling a lot all of the sudden, which makes me suspect that she will be teething soon.  So I thought I would write a post about teething.

Teething may start as early as 3 months and as late as 12.  The first teeth typically appear between 6-9 months.  When your baby begins teething you may notice drooling, crying, and fussiness.  You may also notice a swelling of the gums.  It's a misconception that teething causes fever (temperature above 100F), although it could possibly cause a slightly elevated temperature.  So if your baby is running a fever don't disregard it as a symptom of teething.  It's not.  These symptoms will appear 3-5 days before the tooth shows and will disappear after the tooth cuts through.

The infant teeth generally emerge in pairs and will start with the lower incisors.  You can check if your baby is teething by rubbing your finger along the gums, feeling for swollen ridges. 

Infants chew on objects to aid in the teething process, breaking down some of the gum tissue which promotes the growth of the teeth out of the gums.  A teething ring or a chilled pacifier can work well to relieve the discomfort.

Remember, you should begin brushing your baby's teeth once they appear.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Molly's First Visit

I was very nervous when my sister-in-law scheduled an appointment for my 3 year old niece to come see me for the first time.  I am very close to my niece, but to her I have always been Aunt Abby and not Dr. Mann.  I'm comfortable seeing children at this age, but I know that visiting the dentist can be a very scary thing for them, and I didn't want her have a bad experience and associate it with me.  I could just imagine Molly crying inconsolably the next time I visit her at her house because she thinks Dr. Mann is there to stick something into her mouth again.

Fortunately, all of my fears were unfounded.  Molly was nervous at first, but her anxiety quickly subsided and she was a great patient.  She let me clean her teeth and give her an exam without any tears.  And she must have known that her mother and I were worried about the outcome of the visit because afterwards she told her mom, "Mom I did good, I did not even cry!"  She got to play with a new Christmas toy as a reward.