Sedation: Making Your Dental Procedure as Comfortable as Possible

Advanced Sedation Dentistry Controls Anxiety and Dental Pain

As we get older, we figure out that many things we didn’t like as children really were for our own good. Sometimes, we even end up liking some of those things, such as vegetables or early bedtime. But let’s be honest – sometimes when you’re sitting in your dentist’s waiting room listening to a poor eight-year-old boy throw a fit, you’re right there with him. Dental visits rarely end up being anyone’s favorite thing to do!

Even if going to the dentist doesn’t terrify you, the idea of a dentist visit can be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable for some people. About 15% of Americans are so intimidated by going to the dentist, they avoid it altogether – unfortunately for their teeth. Waiting to go to the dentist, or never going, can turn small dental issues into bigger, more complicated problems that are potentially more painful, too.

At Hall Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we want you to know we understand coming to see us can seem intimidating, and we are committed to making your visit as comfortable as possible. Among other things we do to welcome you to our office, we can make most procedures relatively painless, thanks to the power of modern medicine and advanced sedation dentistry practices.

Usually, a local anesthetic is enough to manage your pain and sedate anxiety. However, for some people, pain isn’t the only concern. Patients who suffer from anxiety, for example, may be concerned about the discomfort of a procedure that will cause elevated anxiety. If that’s the case for you, don’t worry! Dental sedation can make your visit a breeze!

Controlling Dental Pain: Local Anesthesia vs. General Anesthesia vs. Sedation

Dentists use three primary methods to manage patients’ pain and stress during procedures:

  • Local anesthesia: numbs the immediate area being worked on
  • General anesthesia: makes you unconscious for the duration
  • Sedative medication: calms you – dentists can choose different levels of sedative

Local anesthesia is applied with a swab or syringe directly to the skin or muscle in the area the dentist plans to work on. Some sedatives are released into the patient’s bloodstream through a needle or catheter inserted into a vein. Unlike general anesthesia, where the patient is entirely unconscious and may need assistance with their breathing and heartbeat, sedative medication can leave the patient in a semi-conscious state. This means the patient can respond to verbal commands and doesn’t need to be watched as closely.

Many sedatives leave the patient with no memory of the procedure, so they don’t have to worry they will have traumatic memories of the procedure. A combination of local anesthesia and sedative medication makes a patient’s experience both painless and more emotionally comfortable.

Oral sedatives (by mouth) often simply calm a person’s nerves a bit. These sedatives leave the patient fully conscious but help them relax during the dental procedure.

The type of advanced sedation dentistry a dentist uses depends on the individual needs of each patient.

Going to the dentist may not ever be one of your favorite things, but at Hall Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we have ways (including sedation) to ensure your dental visit is as comfortable as possible. If you have questions about how we can accommodate you during your visit, or if you have specific questions about any procedure, contact us or give us a call at (205) 991-7840, and we’ll be happy to ease your anxiety!

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Pediatric Dental Care: Starting Your Child Off on the Right Tooth

The quality of dental care a child receives while growing up can have a huge impact on their teeth — and even their general health — for the rest of their life. Dental care sets the stage for the way teeth develop as they grow, and it’s important to begin with a good foundation. To reinforce healthy brushing habits with children and make sure their teeth are coming in nicely, we recommend visiting the dentist early, with a first visit at about twelve months of age, which is usually less than six months after their first tooth shows up.

Here are a few specific reasons to take your children to the dentist early in their lives:

Baby Teeth are Important

Your child’s baby teeth aren’t disposable just because they’re temporary. They play an important role in your child’s development. Making sure their baby teeth are in order will have a positive effect long after they lose them. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth; they help your child’s jaw and gums develop in the right way. Not only that, healthy baby teeth help children learn to speak by supporting the shape of the mouth correctly. And a dazzling smile is good for their self-esteem.

Experience Calms Anxiety

Many grownups feel anxious about going to the dentist. However, if you bring your children in for a visit at about the age of twelve months, they’ll be too young to think anything bad is going on and they won’t likely be very worried. One of the best ways to help children avoid the development of dental anxiety is to begin building a habit of regular dental visits early in life. Parents who wait until children are two years of age or older likely will have a much rougher time with visits at early ages, and the children could develop lifelong anxiety about going to the dentist.

Tooth Decay Comes Early

Tooth decay can set in as soon as your child develops their first tooth. A CDC report showed that as many as 40% of children will develop some form of tooth decay before they reach kindergarten. And that decay can have a long-term effect on the health of their teeth and gums.

Nip Problems in the Bud

After children have stopped growing, it can be difficult to get crooked teeth back in order. The process is likely to be more difficult, longer and more uncomfortable for the patient than if the problems are taken care of early in life. That’s why there’s no better time to fix misaligned or crooked teeth than when your child is still growing. As soon as their teeth show signs of these problems, we can begin early to guide their teeth into the correct position.

 

Giving your child’s teeth the care they deserve sets them up for dental success in the future by introducing good dental hygiene habits and preventing problems from getting worse as their teeth age. If you have any questions about how to give your child the best dental care possible or would like to set up an appointment, give us a call at (205) 991-7840. Begin proper dental care as soon as your child’s first tooth shows up and you’ll put them on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile all their lives.

Take Care of Your Teeth With Regular Dental Checkups

Improving Your Smile

Your smile is one of the first things people notice, and if you’re not confident in yours, it can be a cause for low self esteem and insecurities. That’s where cosmetic dentists come in. Cosmetic dentists are here to help you be confident in your teeth and smile.

There are lots of things cosmetics dentists can do to make you love your smile. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of just some of the reasons why you should visit a cosmetic dentist.

Straightening Teeth

Crooked or misaligned teeth are really common for most people, but not everyone had braces in middle school. Now you might be an adult and don’t want to go the traditional teeth straightening route. That’s where your cosmetic dentist comes in.

We can provide you with different methods of straightening your teeth, including but not limited to, clear braces, Invisalign, and veneers. These options give you a way to straighten your teeth without the pain of braces and the hassle of going to an orthodontist.

Replacing Missing Teeth

Got some missing teeth? No worries! Cosmetic dentists have a variety of ways to fill gaps and missing teeth. These include crowns, implants, dentures, bridges and more. No matter how you lost your teeth, we can help get your smile complete again.

Whitening Your Teeth

Everyone wants that million dollar smile that sparkles when you show it. Getting whiter teeth can help you have brighter teeth. Having your teeth whitened by a professional is safer and more effective than doing it yourself at home. It can also last longer.

Whitening your teeth is one of the more popular ways to improve your smile and dentists offer a wide variety of ways to do it. There are several methods your dentist can try, and they can even provide you with take home kits. Talk with us to find out what method is best for you!

Tooth Reshaping

Some people don’t love the shape of their teeth, whether they are pointy or oddly shaped or whatever the reason may be. Reshaping your teeth can help get you that straight, even tooth look. Most people opt for the veneer route if they want to change the shape of their teeth, but talk with us and we can decide the best option for you.

 

No matter if it’s a small change or a big change, cosmetic dentists can help give you confidence in your smile again. Call us at (205) 991-7840 to set up an appointment to talk with our dentists about what we can do to get you loving your smile again.

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Laughing Gas Eases Dental Procedures: We’re Not Joking!

By now, most people have heard dentists often use nitrous oxide – laughing gas – to make procedures more comfortable for their patients. But many people don’t know exactly what laughing gas is or what it does. At The Dentist of Siouxland, we offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as a sedative for any procedure for one low cost, because we know dental fear is no laughing matter!

Our patients sometimes want us to answer questions about the gas before they decide it’s right for them. Some even ask, “If I’m laughing, won’t it be hard for the dentist to work on my teeth?” Though it’s called laughing gas, you won’t actually double over with belly laughs – you’ll just be less worried about what’s going on inside your mouth. You’ll still be awake and more-or-less alert, so if the dentist needs to ask you to tip your head a certain direction or open wider, you’ll be able to do so.

Above all, our patients want assurance that it’s safe. Nitrous oxide IS safe. It was first used as an anesthetic drug in 1844. Since then, modern medicine has perfected safe methods of delivery. Occasional use of nitrous oxide in small amounts for dentistry has no known side effects. It’s a tested and verified sedation choice used by thousands of dentists and their patients to take the edge off during dental work.

Laughing Gas is Easy and Comfortable During Procedures

Unlike other more-complicated methods of sedation used for complex or serious dental procedures, laughing gas is easy on both the dentist and the patient. Your dentist simply fits a special mask over your face and asks you to breathe in the mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. Before long, you’ll feel the effects of the gas.

Under the effects of nitrous oxide, you feel calm and comfortable. Some people feel as though their arms and legs are heavy, though you’ll be able to move them if the need should arise. The sense of calmness you get from the gas keeps your feelings of anxiety at bay. It also is likely to make you care less if you feel pain.

After your dental procedure is complete, the dentist removes the mask used to deliver the nitrous oxide, and the effects of the drug wear off quickly. Unlike with other sedation methods that put you further “under,” you’ll be able to drive yourself home shortly afterward your appointment without needing much time to rest.

For many years now, dentists have used this process to deliver calmness to dental patients using laughing gas. It’s accepted the world over as a safe, effective and fast way to make sure dental procedures cause as little stress as possible.

At Hall Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we provide this important service, because we know dental anxiety is no joke. We want to make sure any visit to our office is as quick and comfortable as possible. If you have any questions about nitrous oxide/laughing gas sedation or want to schedule an appointment for any reason, just give us a call at (205) 991-7840 and we’ll be happy to help!

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Are Dental Implants Safe?

Dental implants have become many dentists’ go-to procedure for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant surgery replaces tooth roots with metal, screw-like 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. 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

The advantages of using dental implants

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 will typically go through the following steps:

  1. First, the patient will go through a thorough exam and consultation with the dentist. The dentist will then make an individualized treatment plan.
  2. At the next appointment, the team will place your implant, which acts as a substitute tooth root.
  3. Then, the tooth is given time (about 2-3 months) to heal and integrate with the bone tissue.
  4. Once the implant has bonded to the bone tissue, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 reach out to us at (205) 991-7840. We want your implants to look and feel like real teeth and you smile looking its best!

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Who Qualifies as a Good Candidate for Dental Veneers?

Everyone wants an award winning smile, but very few people have one naturally. With all the new technology and techniques coming out, it’s easier than ever to get the smile of your dreams. One great option to achieve that is dental veneers.

It’s a well known fact that porcelain veneers are one of the most effective and popular solutions to cover up a single or several teeth imperfections. Dental veneers are a really great option for people who want to improve the appearance of their teeth. But who qualifies as a good candidate for dental veneers?

What Are Dental Veneers

Veneers are essentially a thin, durable mask that can be applied to your natural teeth. Once applied to your teeth, the veneers instantly change the appearance of your teeth. Veneers are made of a very thin shell of porcelain, which is carefully selected so it matches the look and color of your teeth.

Depending on how they are made and what your needs are, veneers can whiten your teeth, close large gaps between your teeth, change the shape of your teeth, cover up crooked teeth, or fix large cracks or chips. Each veneer will be customized by your dentist from the length and width of the veneer to the overall shape, thickness, and color.

Who is a Good Candidate for Veneers?

Veneers are a great cosmetic dental treatment that helps people become confident with their smiles again. The following are signs you might be a good candidate for veneers:

  • You want to fix several cosmetic problems with your teeth at once
  • You want to fix discolored teeth
  • You want to correct stains on your teeth from old fillings
  • Ability to avoid chewing on your nails, crunching hard candy or food, or gnawing on pens – these bad habits can damage veneers.
  • Sufficient tooth enamel must be present – your natural teeth need to have enough enamel left after the small layer has been removed to create a strong bonding surface for the veneer

Veneers are a great option for many people to correct their smile. Give us a call today at (205) 991-7840 to see if veneers are the right choice for you.

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One Year Update: COVID-19 and Dental Offices

It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost every aspect of our daily lives—including regularly visiting the dentist. However, this should soon be a thing of the past. Not visiting the dentist was one of the many ripple-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and even though it is not over, yet, things are looking up.

According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, confidence in going back to the dentist hit a new high since the pandemic started, with 94% of patients stating they are ready to go back to the dentist or they have already have gone back to see the dentist, compared to August of 2020 where only 78% of patients had been back or were ready to go back to the dentist.

If you’re ready for your next dental checkup, contact us today to set up an appointment!

Continued Safety Protocols

As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the CDC has started to provide less-restrictive guidelines for these people. However, most recommended precautions, such as using personal protective equipment, have not changed for health care settings, including dental offices.

Even though we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers trending down, we still ask that you follow our guidelines for your safety and the safety of others, including:

  • Do not come to the office if you have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Limit the number of people you bring to your appointment, if possible
  • Wear a mask until notified that you can remove it

Per the CDC, we are regularly consulting with our state and local health departments for region-specific information and recommendations, as they monitor trends in local case counts and adjust accordingly.

We understand that you may not feel comfortable quite yet, or you have questions about the protocols we’ve implemented in our office to keep patients safe. You can review our entire list of COVID-19 Safety Protocols or you can contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Take Care of Your Teeth With Regular Dental Checkups

 

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Take Care of Your Teeth With Regular Dental Checkups

Regular dental care is so important, not only for your dental health, but your overall health as well. It is generally recommended that you should get a checkup once every six months. However, depending on your dental history, your dentist might ask you to come in more.

Typically, dental checkups are easy and painless. Nonetheless, it is always good to know what to expect when going in for your regular checkup.

How You Can Prepare

If you’re looking for a new dentist or if you’re scheduling your first adult cleaning, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Take into consideration the location of the office and if they participate in your dental plan. If you don’t have a dental plan, make sure you take a look at the office’s membership plan and if it fits your needs.

Talk with the dentist if you’re anxious about your visit and communicate what they can do to help make you more comfortable.

What You Can Expect

No matter where you go for your checkup, you can expect several things to happen.

  • Cleaning. A dental hygienist will typically bring you back and begin cleaning your teeth. Using a small mirror and tool called a hand scaler, the hygienist will remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth.
  • Expert Flossing. Even if you floss regularly at home, nothing can beat an expert flossing session with a dental hygienist. They can get deep between your teeth and locate any problem spots where you might bleed at the gums.
  • Applying Fluoride Treatment. Fluoride treatment is used as a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months. Your dental hygienist may ask you what flavor you like best. They’ll then place the foamy gel (or sometimes a sticky paste) into a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. It’s usually left on your teeth for one minute. Besides the foamy gel, fluoride varnish is also painted onto the teeth with a small brush. Fluoride varnish will harden when in contact with saliva, so you can eat and drink immediately after.
  • X-Rays. At some of your dental checkups, you might get x-rays done on your teeth. This is to look for decay, gum disease, or other dental problems. X-rays expose you to radiation so in order to avoid having them done more than necessary, bring copies of previous X-rays with you when you’re visiting a new dentist.

What To Do In Between Regular Dental Checkups

After your exam, the dentist or hygienist will discuss your oral health, including your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems, and preventive measures you can take to improve and protect your oral health. Be sure to take care of your teeth and gums in between your regular dental visits. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but you can manage it by brushing and flossing regularly. Make sure to schedule your next appointment to ensure you keep on track with your checkups.

 

Regular dental checkups are a must to keep a healthy and clean mouth. Remember to talk with your dentist about any issues you are having with your teeth right away. Here at Hall Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we’re always here to help you. Call us at (205) 991-7840 to get an appointment for a dental checkup. The key is to keep going back to the dentist for regular teeth cleanings to prevent problems altogether. By understanding what is going on in advance, you’ll feel more at ease and maybe even look forward to visiting your dentist!

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Reasons to Visit a Cosmetic Dentist

Your smile is one of the first things people notice, and if you’re not confident in yours, it can be a cause for low self esteem and insecurities. That’s where cosmetic dentists come in. Cosmetic dentists are here to help you be confident in your teeth and smile.

There are lots of things cosmetics dentists can do to make you love your smile. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of just some of the reasons why you should visit a cosmetic dentist.

Whitening Your Teeth

Everyone wants that million dollar smile that sparkles when you show it. Getting whiter teeth can help you have brighter teeth. Having your teeth whitened by a professional is safer and more effective than doing it yourself at home. It can also last longer.

Whitening your teeth is one of the more popular ways to improve your smile and dentists offer a wide variety of ways to do it. There are several methods your dentist can try, and they can even provide you with take home kits. Talk with us to find out what method is best for you!

Straightening Teeth

Crooked or misaligned teeth are really common for most people, but not everyone had braces in middle school. Now you might be an adult and don’t want to go the traditional teeth straightening route. That’s where your cosmetic dentist comes in.

We can provide you with different methods of straightening your teeth, including but not limited to, clear braces, Invisalign, and veneers. These options give you a way to straighten your teeth without the pain of braces and the hassle of going to an orthodontist.

Replacing Missing Teeth

Got some missing teeth? No worries! Cosmetic dentists have a variety of ways to fill gaps and missing teeth. These include crowns, implants, dentures, bridges and more. No matter how you lost your teeth, we can help get your smile complete again.

Tooth Reshaping

Some people don’t love the shape of their teeth, whether they are pointy or oddly shaped or whatever the reason may be. Reshaping your teeth can help get you that straight, even tooth look. Most people opt for the veneer route if they want to change the shape of their teeth, but talk with us and we can decide the best option for you.

 

No matter if it’s a small change or a big change, cosmetic dentists can help give you confidence in your smile again. Call our office at (205) 991-7840 to set up an appointment to talk with our dentists about what we can do to get you loving your smile again.

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How to Manage Being Scared and Stressed at the Dentist

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 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 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 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! We’re 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, give us a call at 205-308-1801. We’ll work as a team to keep your next visit to the dentist stress-free!

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