Why was my dentist so concerned about my asthma?

I decided to try out a new dentist because my good friend can’t stop raving about him. When I filled out all the new patient paperwork, there was a field on the health history form that asked if I had respiratory problems or asthma. I have always had asthma so I answered yes to this question. He refused to treat me without my inhaler. But I told him that I take daily oral medication to treat it. He recommended that I always have my inhaler with me at appointments and this is something that my old dentist never mentioned. What’s the big deal?

– Jeff in Idaho

Jeff,

Millions of American deal with dental anxiety when they go to the dentist. Even if it’s just a routine appointment, many people still have some level on anxiousness. Research actually shows that the top reason that asthma patients suffer an attack is due to anxiety. Maybe this doesn’t sound much like you, but it is still a good idea to have your inhaler on hand.

Other issues that may contribute to an asthma attack are the dentist’s regular use of certain dental materials or tools.  For example dentifrices, rubber dams, the use of fluoride trays, cotton, or even some of the dental sealant materials can trigger a response. Or if you need a cavity filled or preparation of a dental crown, there may be some dust from the friction during use of the drill that would induce an attack. Most dentists are equipped for a dental emergency or response such as this, but it is best that you have your personal inhaler that has been specifically prescribed for you.

It has also been found that after the administration of a numbing agent or local anesthetic there may be an increase of risk for acute asthma patients. Therefore, during a more intrusive dental procedure like a root canal or tooth extraction, this could be a factor. You may want to discuss whether or not you would be a candidate for sedation dentistry if you require a procedure like this.

Other tips for dental care in asthma patients include relaxing and controlling your breathing because many patients subconsciously hold their breath making oxygen levels drop. This sudden drop can cause increased anxiety and panic. Avoiding caffeine and having a meal or snack high in protein can also help keep you calm.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Will a crown work if I’m missing a tooth?

I know what a crown is because I’ve had a crown on other teeth. I understand how it is filed down and than the crown is permanently bonded over it. But my question is about an area where I’m missing a tooth. This means there is nothing for the dentist to bond the crown to. I really do want an all-porcelain crown. Is this an option for me?

– Chase in Wisconsin

Chase,

Based on your personal circumstance, the best solution for you would be a dental implant. You are correct in the fact that there is no tooth to prepare in that space for crown to be placed over it. So a dental implant can be used for the porcelain crown to be placed on. First, the titanium post is surgically implanted into the jawbone to serve you just like a natural tooth root. Then an abutment is attached and the porcelain crown can be placed directly onto that. This piece can be made to be either metal or porcelain. The benefit of the metal abutment is that it is typically stronger, but that being said there are now some very durable porcelain materials available. The porcelain may be a bit more expensive, but in order for it to be “all-porcelain” than that would be the way to go. Although, please be sure to discuss these specifics with your dentist. You never want to push a dentist out of his or her comfort zone, no matter what procedure is being done. Sometimes if there isn’t enough bone present at the implant site, than the oral surgeon may need to do some bone grafting prior to the placement of the dental implants.

The other option if you are missing a tooth would be a three-unit dental bridge. This treatment utilizes the two surrounding teeth which are prepared for crowns. These crowns are actually what supports the dental bridge. This treatment can also be done with all-porcelain.  But if this is a back tooth, than you may want to consider other materials since these teeth are very important for their strength during chewing. Dental bridges are less expensive than dental implants and there are many other benefits and disadvantages with bridges to consider. So be sure to discuss the pros and cons of an implant vs bridge.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Child’s tooth is turning gray!

My son is three years old and he fell down while playing with a friend. He ended up cracking his face against the curb and had a mouth full of blood. I thought everything was okay. But the next morning I noticed that his tooth must be dieing because it is gray. Is this an emergency? I can’t get through to our dentist until after the weekend. Should I be doing anything else in the meantime or take his somewhere over the weekend? I’m trying to remain calm, I know it’s just a baby tooth. But, I’m kind of freaking out!

– Michelle in Nebraska

Michelle,

You sounds like a normal parent, it’s normal to be panicked when you don’t know what is going on with your little one. The truth of the matter is this happens all the time. Most times the mouth tends to bleed more than other parts of the body. But it sounds like the bleeding is under control and now your concern is on the gray tooth. This discoloration of the tooth means that the tooth did suffer a trauma. In some kids, the colors will continue to change from a pink color to a darker grayish color. Just because the tooth is discolored it doesn’t necessarily mean that the tooth needs to be extracted. At this point in time it is not considered a dental emergency. Just keep your eye on it over the weekend.

It would be wise to call into your regular dentist after the weekend to see if they want to see him. But as long as he is not complaining of pain and you do not see sign of infection, it may just end up being a waiting game for the tooth to fall out naturally. If your son keeps messing with it or starts to complain about it hurting, or doesn’t want to eat then you need to take him in. Also, if you notice any type of abscess then you need to get into the dentist immediately. A root canal treatment may be required to save the tooth. In this circumstance, depending on the expertise of your dentists, you may need to visit a pediatric dentist.

So don’t be too worried unless you see some of the signs we mentioned. And of course a call into the office on Monday will help ease your mind as well.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Looking for the best & most affordable dental implants.

I have faced the reality that I need dental implants to replace my missing teeth. I’m looking for the most economical option but don’t want “cheap” dental implants either. I realize you get what you pay for and have to be careful. This is because I have been online and seen no shortage of dental implant horror stories. What do you think about Clear Choice?

– Cheryl in Iowa

Cheryl,

Since implant dentistry is not a regulated field within dentistry, you have to be very cautious when using price as a determining factor. It is good that you realize how important quality materials and services are when it comes to dental implants. You may choose some cheap dental implant dentist and then end up with terrible consequences, probably like you have found on the internet. Failed dental implants, implants that have pierced sinuses, nerve damage, implants that fall out, the list goes on. So the absolute most important decision you have as a patient is finding the right dentist versus selecting a certain type of implant treatment.

Clear Choice is a national company and has locations everywhere. They advertise heavily and present more of a “clinic” environment. There are qualified implant dentists at Clear Choice Dental Implant Centers, but it would be wise to treat them with no higher esteem than a private practice. You want to meet with and learn about the particular implant dentist’s credentials that will perform the work for you. Ask to see similar cases to yours, before and after photographs and testimonials, as well as inquire about the frequency and duration of their personal continuing education. Again, it’s all about the dentist. If you do meet with Clear Choice, get a second opinion from another reputable dentist. Even if you don’t go to Clear Choice, there is nothing wrong with screening multiple dentists. Often times you will find that a dentist will give you a free consultation when you are considering dental implants.

As far as your budget goes, there are many financing options available privately for dental work, as well as private payment plans through the practices. Mini implants are another more affordable dental implant option. They are significantly less expensive than standard dental implants. The diameter of the implant is much smaller which means the surgery is much simpler to place them, resulting in lower cost. Although, they aren’t right for everyone. They do present drawbacks in the strength. Again, the right dentist will listen to your cost concerns and make the right recommendations for your specific case. Choose your dentist wisely, it cannot be emphasized enough!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Are dentures going to make me look old?

I am only 18 years old and am so freaked out about getting dentures. Every denture patient I think of looks so old. I only have to get a bottom denture and am really unhappy about it. But I have to do what I have to do. I’m so scared of looking ugly and old. Please don’t be mean. I just want to know if there is anything that can be done to help me look my age and not 80!

– Jen in Pennsylvania

Jen,

Your concern is valid. The reason that dentures tend to make people look much older than they really are is because of a condition called facial collapse. What happens when you no longer have teeth is that the bone that used to support the teeth gradually recedes. Basically, the body is so resourceful that it realizes that the bone is no longer needed, so the minerals are resorbed to be used in other areas of the body. That is why an individual’s face looks sunken in when they have had dentures for 20-30 years.

Since you are so young, it would be really worth your while to consider dental implants. Has your doctor discussed this treatment option with you? At 18 years old, facial collapse could set in before you are 40 years old. In some cases the jawbone shrinks so much that a denture doesn’t even stay in, no matter how many times it is relined. You really don’t want to be a dental cripple at such a young age. It may slip out at embarrassing times and it can alter your appearance. The reason for this response is not to scare you anymore than you are already, but to consider your options.

Dental implants actually prevent facial collapse. This is because the implant is surgically implanted into your jawbone and tells the brain that there is still a tooth there. Therefore, bone loss is prevented. Implants not only look and feel like your natural teeth, but they function just like normal. They tend to be more expensive than dentures, so if this is a concern for you, an implant overdenture or snap-on denture may work. This technique combines a denture and implants and can be done using as little as two dental implants. The implants that are placed still prevent bone loss in the immediate area surrounding the implant and help to stabilize a denture.

Hopefully this gives you some other options to consider. If your dentist has not discussed the potential for denture problems, you truly may want to seek a second opinion.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Cheapest dental implants possible, please!

Okay, so I get it that dental implants are better than dentures. My mom really needs them badly. I want the best for my mom, but we cannot afford the hefty price tag. Can you tell me how to find the cheapest dental implants possible?

– George in Indiana

George,

Cheapest isn’t always better and that holds true for implants. Dental implants costs are wide-ranging and it is strongly recommended that you do NOT price shop when it comes to replacing missing teeth. This is because implant dentistry is not a recognized specialty within dentistry. This means that any dentist can claim to do dental implants. Anyone who has done some initial research has seen that implants are indeed expensive, so there are countless dentists out there that will cut corners. They offer cheap dental implants to get patients in. But in the long run, if your dental implant fails, become loose or infected, or falls out – your mom will have to pay much more in the long run. So instead of price shopping, find the RIGHT dentist. One that has a proven track record of successful dental implant placement. Then, discuss your budget concerns. You may be surprised at how many different payment options or financing options are available.

Mini implants are a more affordable option. They are much smaller in diameter that standard dental implants, so the surgery to place them is much simpler. This ultimately influences the final cost. Although, they are not as strong as standard implants. So there are many factors involved when deciding if mini implants will work, the age of the individual, how much bone density is available, etc. So again, select a trusted implant dentist and then discuss your options in an open and honest matter.

Again, be careful when comparing prices. You don’t want your mom to be the next dental implant malpractice suit.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

A note about dental emergencies

If you have a toothache, you don’t want to call the office and be told the dentist has an opening in two weeks for an exam – you want to be seen today. And you may not have a regular dentist.

Dentists who truly care will make provisions for you to be seen right away. We wanted to point out a couple of examples from websites we’ve seen.

Dr. Dean Stratman of Indianapolis has a particularly generous dental emergency policy – he is available 24 hours a day. That is a nice touch, but very few dentists have that open a policy. The reason is that by far the vast majority of after-hours calls you get are from people who aren’t really hurting and don’t really have an intention of being seen – they simply want a prescription for narcotics which they will either use themselves or sell on the streets. The way Dr. Stratman gets around that is that he employs an answering service. When you call the number, the operator informs you that the office call charge will be $300, and she will run your credit card with that charge before ever contacting the dentist. That way, Dr. Stratman lets the patient know that he will get out of bed and really see them instead of just calling in a prescription. And he also screens out frivolous calls. If you don’t want to pay that much, the operator tells you that you can come in to the office when it opens in the morning and they will get you out of pain.

Dr. Aaron Schamback of Port St. Lucie, Florida, also has a generous emergency policy, but he doesn’t offer after-hours appointments.

And since most new patient dental emergencies come from patients who have been neglectful to one degree or another, sedation dentistry is a nice option that some people will look for in an emergency dentist.

Hylan Dental Care believes in a generous dental emergency policy. We also provide sedation dentistry for patients, for those who have been staying away from the dentist because of painful memories of traumatic dental experiences. We don’t provide after-hours services because, by the time patients go through the screening process, no one really wants to pay the extra $300 – they would just as soon wait until morning.

If you have a toothache, give us a call.

Need a cavity filled but am deathly scared of needles!

So I got the dreaded news that I need to get a cavity filled. I know you all think I’m silly, but I am unbelievably scared of needles. I have a serious dental phobia that gives me so much anxiety that I lose sleep. It’s no joke, when I was a kid, the doctors had to get six people to help hold me down for a simple shot. I cried and screamed and kicked. I know it’s ridiculous, but how am I going to get through this? I know the cavity needs filled so it doesn’t get bigger, but I’m SOOOOO scared!

Do you have any ideas to help me get through this?

– Jess in New Jersey

Jess,
You are not alone in your phobia of needles or dental anxiety. In fact, fear of the dentist is one of the most common phobias in the country. Millions of Americans deal with some level of anxiety when faced with getting dental treatment. But the good news is, with modern, gentle dentistry techniques, you likely won’t even feel the shot. There is now a tiny, 33-guage needle available that is so thin that you may not even feel it. Also, before the injection, most dentists use a numbing topical agent to begin numbing the soft tissues. When these two factors are combined, you will hardly feel anything.

But if the thought of dental work puts you in a tizzy, there are other options. Nitrous oxide is a mild relaxant gas that can be breathed in through a mask at your appointment. It will help you relax in the chair and take the edge off. It can be regulated throughout the entire appointment. Many people call nitrous, laughing gas. It makes you feel kind of silly and indifferent to what is going on. It wears off within a couple minutes of the gas being turned off.

If you are still looking for something stronger, ask your dentist about sedation dentistry options. Some dentists may feel sedation dentistry may be a bit extreme for a simple filling, but other dentists understand your trepidation about getting into the chair. Oral sedation simply involves taking a prescribed medication prior to your appointment. It will make you completely unaware as to what is happening, yet your protective reflexes will still be completely functional. If you go this route, you will need to have someone accompany to your appointment because it will be unsafe for your to operate a vehicle on your way home.

So be brave, open, and honest with your dentist. Remember, they have seen it all. And most dentists genuinely want to help you keep your dental health optimal, so they will work with you, no matter what it takes. And if your dentist gives you a hard time, find another. There are many dentists that cater to cowards with a gentle dental approach.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Will the dentist be horrified at my teeth?

I can’t remember the last time I went to the dentist. Seriously, it’s been over 10 years. I hate my teeth but I am too embarrassed and ashamed at how terrible my dental health is. My children are adults and trying to encourage me to go in. They tell me that dentists have seen it all and not to feel bad. I don’t know, though. I am downright afraid that they will look at my teeth and feel dumbfounded and not know where to begin. It has gotten to the point that I think about it everyday, yet still haven’t done anything. Do you think the dentist will turn me away?

– Richard in Virgina

Richard,

Helping people is at the heart of dentistry. Sure there are some judgmental types, but the vast majority of dentists are compassionate and non-judgmental. Your children are correct. Dentists have truly seen and heard it all over the years. You need to find a kind-heated, gentle dentist. An individual with this approach will not make you feel bad or guilty about the current state of your teeth. Generally speaking, dentists want to prevent painful dental problems and help people look and feel great about the way their teeth look.

You may be feeling overwhelmed for many reasons. Don’t let fear or apprehension about what someone will think keep you away any longer. This isn’t something that needs to be fixed overnight, so don’t let the cost keep you away either. The right dentist will work with you on an affordable dental plan, that enables you to address the most urgent needs right away and make a plan to fix the less pressing issues. Dentists have been known to phase treatment out over the course of years for the benefit of their patients. It’s time to stop making excuses, get into the dentist for an exam, and work to put together a treatment plan that fits your needs and budget.

If you are particularly anxious about seeking treatment, you may be an excellent candidate for sedation dentistry. With oral sedation, patients tell us they don’t remember anything about the visit. Sedation makes it easy for a dentist to perform a lot of work in one sitting with no pain. So search for a gentle dentist and if you are fearful, look for one that also offers sedation dentistry options.

It’s time to get you smiling again and back on track with your dental health.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.