Tooth Decay and Dental Anxiety

Tooth Decay

Tooth Decay can cause infection in the oral cavity. It can cause extensive damage to your teeth with bacterial formation. Your teeth has three layers – the outer layer is known as the enamel, the middle one is called dentin, and the central region is known as the pulp. The layers of the teeth are susceptible to decay. If more layers are affected, then the prognosis of damage will be worse. Tooth decay is caused due to extended layer of a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. After having a meal or snack, the bacteria have the potential to turn sugary components in food and drinks into acid. It can damage the enamel of the tooth and attack the layers of the tooth starting from the enamel. It can cause intense pain due to the rapid spread of the infection. It can lead to tooth loss by uprooting it from its core and lead to loss of self-confidence. People suffering from tooth pain cannot eat or sleep properly. It is also unhealthy for your lifestyle and degrades your self-esteem. If tooth decay is not treated, it can lead to abscess formation in the cavity and cause serious or even life-threatening infections. If you are having sugary foods or drinks multiple times a day, then the intensity of the acid attacks degrades your teeth’ enamel completely. The acid eats away at the tooth and can cause decay. A cavity can form in the hole situated at the site of the decay. People of all ages are susceptible to tooth decay. Your risk may increase if you often snack and sip on sugary foods and drinks, especially after going to bed at night. Some people avoid regular dental check-ups due to dental anxiety. They have a phobia about syringes and being inside a dental clinic. It leads to aggravated symptoms and disease modality.

What causes tooth decay and how does it spread?

The bacteria that cause tooth decay are infectious and can be passed on to others. Poor oral hygiene can lead to the replication of bacteria and can be passed from the oral cavity through kissing, sharing a cup or spoon, or anything else that carries a drop of saliva. You can prevent tooth decay by brushing your teeth twice a day. Avoid frequent sipping and snacking on sugary drinks and foods. Try to hydrate and clean your mouth with regular water. Visit your dentist regularly for a dental exam and try professional teeth cleaning from time to time. You can also ask your dentist if dental sealants are right for you and your children.

How to avoid tooth decay?

Tooth decay can cause major damage to your teeth. The decay often occurs between the teeth and in the grooves at the back of your teeth, where often bits of food get stuck and deposit for long-term decay. It is harder to brush the back of the teeth and keep them clean regularly as they are difficult to reach. Even toothbrush bristles cannot get inside the grooves. Tooth decay can also form at the root of the tooth and go below the gumline. Your saliva helps prevent tooth decay as it has important enzymes that reduce bacterial formation. Saliva helps in reducing acid damage to a tooth by washing away sticky, and sugary food. Dilute the acid and make it weaker. Chewing sugar-free gum after eating can increase saliva flow and help to rinse away sugars. The minerals in saliva also can help repair the tooth.

Dental Anxiety and How to Deal with It?

It is important to speak up when suffering from dental anxiety. Anyone with dental anxiety should share their feelings with others as it makes a world of difference in coping with it. If you are tense or anxious, do yourself a favor and get your concerns off your chest by talking to someone else. Your dentist and your dental team can better treat your dental anxiety if they know your needs. Tell your dentist about your dental anxiety and share your feelings about it. When you book your dental appointment, tell the receptionist that you are nervous about dental visits. Remind the dentist and dental staff of your anxiety when you arrive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as it reduces the stress in your mind and lightens you up. Let your dentist know by raising your hand if you need to take a break during your dental exam. If you experience pain even with a local anesthetic, tell your dentist about it. Some patients are embarrassed about their pain tolerance or do not want to interrupt a dentist during a procedure. Talk to your dentist about pain before it starts so that your dentist knows how to communicate with you and make it more comfortable.

Easing Dental Anxiety

Some things can help you distract your thoughts while you are waiting at a dental clinic. Try to wear headphones and listen to soothing music. If the sound of the drill bothers you, you can bring headphones and listen to your favorite music or audiobook during the procedure. Try to imagine that you are in a happy place and visualize yourself at a relaxing beach, mountain top, or garden. Try deep breathing exercises to help relax tension in your muscles. You can also count your breath. Inhale slowly and then exhale for the same number of counts, as it distracts you from your current environment and keeps your mind preoccupied with something engaging. You can perform relaxing breathing exercises while you wait for your appointment, during breaks, or while sitting in the dental chair. You can focus on releasing stress and anxiety starting in your forehead, then your facial muscles, your neck, and down the rest of your body.

Symptoms Associated with Tooth Decay

Symptoms of tooth decay can include spots on the teeth, bad breath, and loose fillings. Tell your dentist if your teeth are sensitive to heat or cold or if you have tooth pain. Your dentist will examine your teeth and take X-rays if needed. When choosing dental care products, look for those that show the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. The Seal of Acceptance tells you that these products meet the guidelines and standards established by the ADA in terms of safety and effectiveness. Tooth decay has the potential to damage our teeth and should not be taken lightly. It can lead to pain sensations, lack of self-confidence in social gatherings, and dental anxiety.

In general, you can maintain your oral cavity health and plan your dental visits keeping in mind that it will boost your self-image and help you overcome dental anxiety. Your dentist will discuss options and plan the best way to keep your mouth healthy consistently over the period. Treatment depends on how early tooth decay is caught. Before arriving at your scheduled dental appointment, stay calm and relaxed. You can express your concerns to your dentist and overcome dental anxiety by keeping your mind engaged.


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