How to Manage Being Scared and Stressed at the Dentist
Nervous About Your Appointment at South Bay Dental Smiles?
If you get anxious about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Not by a long shot. Some studies show nearly three-fourths of American adults experience anxiety or outright fear when they even think about visiting the dentist. About 1 in 10 Americans experience enough fear to classify it as a phobia. It’s okay. We at South Bay Dental Smiles know going to the dentist can seem scary!
But avoiding dental care as a result of dental anxiety can result in serious consequences for you and your teeth. Even if you’re nervous about going to the dentist, it’s extremely important to do what’s necessary to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
We want all of our patients to be as comfortable as possible when they visit our office, so we do everything we can to give our guests in Torrance, CA a comfortable, calming environment. But there are a few things you can do on your own to help make your visit a little easier.
1. Talk with your dentist
If you’re stressed about your upcoming visit to our Torrance, CA office, one of the best things you can do is talk with us about it. Having a clear understanding of what your visit will be like – even visualizing what will occur during your appointment – can do wonders. It’s possible we can make special accommodations to make things more comfortable for you. You’re not the first person who’s been worried about a visit to your dentist’s office, and you won’t be the last! South Bay Dental Smiles is here to help.
2. Plan your appointment well
Yes, life is stressful. But you don’t need the stress of life to cause extra anxiety during your dental appointment. If you’re already nervous about your visit, it won’t help to carry in the anxiety of a bad day at work. Schedule your appointment for a day when you don’t have anything big going on outside of our office. If you have a dental appointment scheduled, try to keep the rest of the day clear. That way, your mind can be rested and fresh for your procedure.
3. Bring a friend
Bringing someone you trust to our office with you is one of the best ways to reduce the stress of your dental appointment. Not only will your companion’s presence be comforting, but that person can help make sure everything is going well and get you home safely if you’re under the effects of anesthesia. Pleasant conversation can distract you from your nervousness and help pass the time more quickly.
4. Take deep breaths
We all know that deep, relaxing breaths can help reduce our stress, but sometimes we need a reminder. If you’re feeling anxiety about your visit as you drive to our office or you begin feeling fear as you sit in our waiting room, begin by taking a deep breath in, holding it for a second, and slowly letting it out. That’s the most basic start toward relaxation, and it works for almost any situation. Continue relaxing breaths throughout your appointment.
Whatever the cause of your anxiety over a visit to our office for your cleaning or other dental procedure, we can manage it together. We want all our patients to be as comfortable as possible, and we want you to look at your visit to the dentist as a good thing. If you have any questions about a dental procedure, or if there is something we can do to ease your worry, contact us. We’ll work as a team to keep your next visit to the dentist stress-free!
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Learn the Risks and Advantages of Dental Implants from South Bay Dental Smiles
Dental implants have become many dentists’ go-to procedure for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant surgery replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. This surgery is a great alternative to dentures and can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth roots don’t allow building denture or bridgework tooth replacements.
What are the risks?
Like any type of surgery, there are a few risks to getting dental implants. However, the problems that come with dental implant surgery are rare and typically minor and very treatable. Dr. Maha Boulos of South Bay Dental Smiles works to reduce these risks as much as possible. Risks include:
- Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities
- Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
- Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
- Infection at the implant site
What are the advantages?
Dental implants are one of the most reliable dental procedures with a 95% success. They also offer advantages that other missing teeth solutions do not, such as:
- Appearance – Implants look and feel like your natural teeth.
- Speech – No need to worry about slipping dentures or loose bridges that can cause slurred speech.
- Comfort – Implants are permanent and stable, so no chaffing or discomfort will happen like with dentures.
- Oral health – Implant placement does not require modifying surrounding teeth as a bridge does. Also, implants stop bone deterioration and stimulate healthy bone tissue growth.
Dental Implant Procedure
When considering having a dental implant procedure, a patient of South Bay Dental Smiles will typically go through the following steps:
- First, the patient will go through a thorough exam and consultation with Dr. Maha Boulos. The dentist will then make an individualized treatment plan.
- At the next appointment, the team will place your implant, which acts as a substitute tooth root.
- Then, the tooth is given time (about 2-3 months) to heal and integrate with the bone tissue.
- Once the implant has bonded to the bone tissue, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant.
- Impressions are taken of your teeth to create either a custom crown to replace one tooth or an implant-supported bridge or denture for multiple missing teeth. Crown restorations are custom tinted, so they blend in beautifully with your natural teeth.
- The finished crown, bridge, or denture is attached to the implant(s).
Once you get the finished implant, your new teeth are ready to use! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. We want your implants to look and feel like real teeth and your smile looking its best!
Insights on Invisalign®
Invisalign® Explained by South Bay Dental Smiles in Torrance, CA
Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing teeth and eating some foods, more difficult. Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign® aligner systems.
The Benefits of Clear Aligners
Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.
The Clear Aligner Fitting Process
For most clear aligners, including Invisalign® systems, Dr. Maha Boulos will take a mold of your teeth and send it in. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.
Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home instead of coming into our Torrance, CA office. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand even if you decide to go this route.
How to Pay for Clear Aligners
Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign® clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000. According to the Invisalign® website, your insurance may be able to pay as much as $3,000 of the cost. For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options.
South Bay Dental Smiles offers paymentplans, which allow you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable for some people and can be useful in emergency situations when you don’t have time to save money for the treatment before you begin.
Of course, if you can save the money ahead of time, that’s probably the better option. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign® clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.
For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign® systems can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please contact us. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Teeth Whitening Procedures
Teeth Whitening has been around for decades and millions of people use whitening products – including plenty of dentists. According to dental professionals, they haven’t seen an increase in problems like cavity risk or tooth fractures after teeth whitening procedures. South Bay Dental Smiles works to provide safe teeth whitening services for our patients.
Side Effects of Teeth Whitening
- Teeth Sensitivity: Your teeth may become more sensitive after getting them whitened. You may experience this after your first or second treatment, and it can diminish with time. Ask your doctor if they can recommend products for treating sensitivity at your next appointment.
- Irritated Gums: You may also experience gingival irritation, which happens when your gums become irritated. If the whitening products touch your gums, then they may become irritated, but South Bay Dental Smiles takes precautions to eliminate this risk.
Benefits of Teeth Whitening
- Safety: The American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that hydrogen peroxide whiteners are safe and effective. At South Bay Dental Smiles, we care for our patients like they are our family. The side effects of teeth whitening stated above usually only occur with at-home teeth whitening products. At our office, we work to minimize the side effects as much as possible.
- Quick Process: Our whitening process is quick and effective. You can walk away with whitened teeth in just one session rather than waiting months for at-home products to take into effect.
- No Recurring Appointments: You won’t have to keep coming into our office for additional appointments because whitening your teeth too frequently can actually damage your teeth. With just a couple of sessions of professional whitening, you can achieve the bright, white smile that you desire.
If you are worried about your upcoming teeth whitening procedure or worried about an at-home product you are using, you can always ask your doctor if the product is safe. South Bay Dental Smiles offers professional teeth whitening that is safe and effective. If you would like to schedule a teeth whitening appointment, use the button below or learn more about teeth whitening at our office.
Back To School Dental Checkup
It’s Time For Your 6-Month Visit
Now that the rush of going back to school is over, it is time to schedule a visit to the dentist. And not just for the kids! At South Bay Dental Smiles, we make this easy to do by offering online scheduling on our website or by calling our office. This allows you to find a date and time that works best for you and your family. With the busy holiday season approaching, it is important to maintain a happy, healthy smile.
How often should you go to the dentist?
For regular dental check-ups, we recommend visiting every six months. Check-ups at least every six months will allow you to keep your mouth healthy. It also allows our team to stay up to date on any changes that may have occurred. According to the American Dental Association, a check-up and cleaning every six months is the best way to maintain a healthy smile. A good habit of brushing and flossing daily will keep teeth clean and healthy in between visits.
Why are dental checkups important?
Through examination by a trained dentist, many oral health concerns can be detected and then treated. Dental checkups provide professional cleanings, oral cancer screenings, and digital X-rays to check for hidden issues. This helps to eliminate plaque buildup and other bacteria that daily brushing and flossing won’t effectively eliminate.
Why are brushing and flossing so important?
It is important to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. While you are brushing, make sure to brush every surface of the tooth. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a shape that best fits your mouth will result in the best cleaning. A toothbrush that correctly fits into your mouth will allow you to reach every tooth effectively. Brushing before school and before bed is a great schedule to aim for. Adding flossing to your brushing routine will take the cleaning to the next level. Flossing allows you to get a deeper clean between the teeth, where a toothbrush might not reach. Starting a thorough oral hygiene routine is key to maintaining optimal oral health in between dental visits. It might seem difficult to start, but add it to the morning routine before school.
Regular dental checkups are a must to keep a healthy and clean mouth. Talk with your dentist about any issues you are having with your teeth. The key is continuing to visit the dentist for regular teeth cleanings to prevent problems altogether. Here at South Bay Dental Smiles, we’re always here to help you. Call our office at (310) 792-0049 to get an appointment for a dental checkup.
Signs of Gum Disease
Periodontal Disease in Torrance, CA
Gum disease is a result of bacterial growth in your mouth that causes harm to the gum tissue surrounding your teeth. While some symptoms are easier to ignore, if gum disease is untreated it can lead to bone and tooth loss. Don’t ignore the signs of gum disease—we can treat the problem before it gets worse. At South Bay Dental Smiles in Torrance, CA we offer gum disease treatment solutions for any stage of gum disease.
The earliest sign of periodontitis is an irritated gum line that might present some discomfort or bleeding when you brush, floss, or have your teeth cleaned professionally. If not treated, the gums will start to retract and pull away from the teeth. This creates spaces between the teeth and gums called periodontal pockets that can quickly become filled with harmful accumulations. Your dentist will typically measure the depths of these pockets to determine how far the condition has spread and what treatment is needed to correct the problem. If gum disease eventually makes its way down to the jawbone and the connective tissues of teeth, the jawbone can deteriorate, and teeth can be lost.
Common Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
- Gum recession
- “Long teeth”
- Tooth mobility (loose tooth/movement)
- Sore teeth when you chew/bite
- Spaces between teeth
- Deep pockets under your gums
- Visible bone loss on X-rays
- Heavy tartar buildup
- Bad breath
- Bleeding when you brush and floss
- Swollen, red gums
Please keep in mind that if you smoke, vape, or use tobacco products, you may not see the same symptoms as someone who doesn’t. Your tissues could look “healthy” due to the lack of bleeding or swelling, even if the disease is present.
Gum disease is a very common oral health problem that with proper treatment can minimize the harmful effects. Call our team at South Bay Dental Smiles with any questions and for treatment options.