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Dental anxiety affects many patients and can hinder them from taking the next step to achieve their oral health care goals.

Dental anxiety and dental phobia are extremely common. Many people have at least some anxiety about visiting the dentist.  But for a patient with a dental phobia, a dental visit can be terrifying. Up to 15 percent of Americans report they avoid seeing the dentist due to severe dental anxiety or dental phobia.  Some people will put off dental care for years or sometimes even decades! This can lead to advanced gum infections (periodontal disease), pain, or even broken or decayed teeth.  The price of dental phobia can include a higher risk of gum disease and can lead to tooth loss. Other people have to live with a loss of self-esteem or reduced quality of life due to embarrassment over how their smile looks, inability to eat well, or discomfort.

There are many different degrees of dental anxiety or phobia. In the case of a dental phobia, there can be a complete avoidance of the dentist – sometimes for years! Some will go to their appointment, but they may not sleep the night before or feel sick before or during their dental appointment.

When people are feeling tense, they may have a lower threshold for pain and may need extra anesthetic or other pain treatments. They may also suffer from headaches or muscle tension in their back, neck, arms or legs while in the dental chair.

Symptoms of dental phobia or anxiety

  • Tense muscles or trouble sleeping the night before a dental appointment
  • Increasing nervousness or feeling ill while in the waiting room.
  • Feeling like crying or getting overly emotional when you think of going to the dentist.
  • You panic, gag excessively, or have trouble breathing during a dental appointment.

What are the causes?

Those suffering from dental anxiety or phobia report the main triggers as:  pain, a feeling of helplessness and loss of control, embarrassment, or negative past experiences as the cause for their fear of the dental office.

The major triggers of dental anxiety or phobia, and how they may be handled:

Pain – Some people have had a previous dental experience that may have been uncomfortable, had trouble getting numb or have very sensitive teeth or gums.  Some of these experiences may have happened before many of the advances in “pain-free” dentistry.  These days, we have many pain control techniques, analgesics and anesthetics available.

  • Before and during the appointment: different comfort choices can be offered including headphones, music, blanket, a relaxed environment, distraction, mental imaging, sleep mask, breathing techniques, a bite block, or other comfort measures. Dental professionals have different local anesthetic and topical rinses, liquids, sprays or subgingivally applied gels that can be used.  Tooth desensitizing agents are also available.  Your dental professional will be very knowledgeable about what is available and can select the appropriate method based on the type of procedure, length of procedure as well as your individual needs and preferences.
  • For surgical or more intensive procedures, IV conscious sedation or oral sedation is often an option. Sedation dentistry can provide a calming experience for patients who have experienced high levels of anxiety related to dental treatment.  Some dentists are highly trained and certified in IV conscious sedation or oral sedation.

IV CONSCIOUS SEDATION

Intravenous (IV) Sedation helps even our most anxious patients remain relaxed and comfortable during procedures. Many patients feel as though they, “went to sleep” during the sedation. The goal of IV conscious sedation is not to provide general anesthesia but instead to allow patients to remain conscious and relaxed with minimal risk during the procedure.

ORAL SEDATION

A prescription medication can be given that can relieve anxiety patients feel before and during their dental procedure. It allows patients to respond verbally and physically to directions all while in a very “restful” state. Patients using oral sedation will need to be driven to and from the procedure.

  • After the appointment: Warm saltwater rinses, over the counter or prescription pain medications are available to assist in a person’s recovery after the procedure. Having post-appointment care information in writing as well as given verbally is also helpful.

Helplessness or loss of control — in the dental chair, a patient has to stay still, they can’t see what’s going on or predict any potential discomfort.  It’s common for people to feel helpless and out of control, which may trigger anxiety.  A patient’s state of mind is very important especially when one has dental anxiety or phobia.  For some patients, a clear explanation of what procedures will be done, what to expect, and how to indicate if they need the operator to stop or give them a rest can help immensely.

Embarrassment — People may feel ashamed or embarrassed to have a stranger looking in their mouth.  Some people lack self-confidence or are ashamed of how their teeth look, and may be afraid they’ll be judged or ridiculed. Dental care also involves an invasion of a person’s personal space as dental treatments require physical closeness. During a treatment, the hygienist’s or dentist’s face may be just a few inches away. This can make people anxious and uncomfortable.

Negative past experiences — many that have had pain or discomfort during a previous dental procedures, often in childhood, but it could be any other time, are likely to be more anxious.

To cope with dental fear, it is best to tell your dentist about your feelings, concerns and fears so they can help you overcome these feelings by adjusting your comfort and care in the dental office.

Through the specialty of periodontics & implant dentistry, we at Britten Periodontics strive to deliver comfortable care and ethical treatment in a welcoming environment.  Our goal is to deliver exceptional dental care with compassion, using the latest research based techniques. With education and encouragement, our goal create a strong relationship with our patients and a comfortable experience.

Our team members understand that the treatment provided is not always pleasant or comfortable but they possess the personality to make the patient feel at ease in spite of this.   As a team, we partner with other caring healthcare providers to deliver patient treatment with honor and dignity. A healthy, satisfied patient is our ultimate reward!  For our surgical procedures, Dr. Britten is highly trained and certified in both IV conscious sedation and oral sedation. He is one of the few Periodontists in the Tampa Bay area who offers IV sedation.

Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is a periodontal practice offering patients personalized dental care in implant dentistry in Clearwater, Florida. Dr. Todd Britten received his Bachelor of Science & Doctorate of Dental Surgery from University of Florida, a Master’s Degree and Certificate in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry; and completed extensive training at the Institute of Advanced Laser Dentistry. He is one of the only board-certified periodontists in Pinellas County. He is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, American Dental Association, Florida Association of Periodontists, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Research Association and Florida West Coast Dental Association.

To learn more about Dr. Britten and his dental services visit his website at http://www.brittenperio.com or call (727) 586-2681.

 

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Dr. Todd M. Britten and his staff at Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry are gearing up for their 2nd annual Free Dental Day for Veterans. The event will be held in Dr. Britten’s Clearwater office on Friday November 11, 2016.

Last year was the inaugural event and it was a great success. Dr. Britten, his staff, as well as volunteers from Clearwater Dental Associates and Britten Dental Associates worked together to provide four very deserving veterans with periodontal and general dental care. When asked about the previous event Dr. Britten said, “It was such a great feeling to help these patients’ oral health improve and help them keep teeth that they were in danger of losing. Veterans and their families make so many sacrifices for us all and we were so honored we were able to give something back to them.”

For one veteran in particular, treatment included IV sedation (due to the need for extensive treatment and intense dental phobia), extraction of all of this patient’s remaining teeth which were badly broken and excessive bone growth throughout his mouth. Dr. Jim Hayslett of Clearwater Dental helped Dr. Britten restore this patient’s smile with complete upper and lower dentures. Dr. Britten stated, “All he wanted to do again was eat a steak dinner. We were able to get a patient out of pain and help him to be able to chew again and smile with confidence.”

Dr. Britten and his staff have been working with The Community Dental Clinic to match patients with periodontal needs with the Clearwater Periodontist’s office. Allison Sapiega, the executive director at the clinic stated, “The Community Dental Clinic has enjoyed the privilege of working with Britten Periodontics for the last few years on their Free Dental Event for Veterans. We are so proud to call them a community partner as we strive together to serve those that fall into the dental services gap. Nearly 95% of veterans are without dental coverage, so events like Britten Periodontics’ Free Dental Day for Veterans are imperative in serving those that have served us.”

Dr. Todd Britten explained how glad he is to be doing this the second year in a row and would like to do it annually for the entirety of his career. When asked why this is a cause so near and dear to his heart he stated that his grandfathers and uncles served in the military and giving back to veterans in need is a top priority for him. Dr. Britten said, “The entire staff at Britten Periodontics is so grateful to the men and women in the military that make so many sacrifices for our freedom. We are happy to host this annual event, and hope to do it for many years to come.”Screenshot_2016-09-05-08-39-28[17758]

Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is a periodontal practice offering patients personalized dental care in implant dentistry in Clearwater, Florida. Dr. Todd Britten received his Bachelor of Science & Doctorate of Dental Surgery from University of Florida, a Master’s Degree and Certificate in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry; and completed extensive training at the Institute of Advanced Laser Dentistry. He is one of the only board-certified periodontists in Pinellas County. He is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, American Dental Association, Florida Association of Periodontists, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Research Association and Florida West Coast Dental Association.

To learn more about Dr. Britten and his dental services visit his website at http://www.brittenperio.com or call (727) 586-2681.

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With the help of several volunteers, Dr. Todd Britten recently coordinated a free day of dental care for local veterans.

With the help of several volunteers, Dr. Todd Britten recently coordinated a free day of dental care for local veterans. Dr. Britten stated this was a cause close to his heart. Both of his grandfathers served in World War II, one having stormed the beaches of Normandy and the other was stationed in the Pacific. Two of Dr. Britten’s uncles served in Vietnam, along with close family friends who are currently serving in the military.

“I have always respected the sacrifices that our veterans and their whole families had to make to ensure our safety and freedom. The sacrifices are really innumerable,” said Dr. Britten.

veterans jsmith

Many dental professionals in the community reached out to help – hygienists, dental assistants, general dentists and other dental professionals willing to donate their time and resources to provide free dental care to veterans in need. The Community Dental Clinic of Clearwater and the local Clearwater VFW branch helped coordinate the care of veterans in need.
The event was held in Dr. Britten’s Clearwater periodontal office on November 5th and 6th. Volunteers came from his practice as well as Dr. Jim Hayslett from Clearwater Dental Associates and Britten Dental Associates in Lutz. Four veterans were seen for periodontal and restorative procedures, including IV sedation for two of the more extensive procedures.

One patient who received treatment was John Smith, who served in the US Navy in Vietnam from 1965-1969. Dr. Britten explained that he was honored to be able to help Mr. Smith. The VFW Post 2473 in Clearwater where Mr. Smith serves as canteen manager does much to help local veterans. Mr. Smith stated that his local branch recently fed over 100 VA patients and raised over $15,000 for homeless veterans and participated in additional fundraising for Cancer Research.

When asked what this event meant to him, Smith stated, “I get to keep my teeth and I can’t believe it’s free.”

Dr. Britten said it was all about showing our appreciation for the sacrifices that our veterans have made. This was the first event of its kind for Dr. Britten and his staff and he is hoping it will be the first of many. His practice, Britten Periodontics and Implant Dentistry would like to make this an annual event.

For more information, go to http://www.brittenperio.com or call the office at (727) 586-2681.

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In the past, traditional dental x-rays were only able to provide limited information about the condition of a patient’s teeth and jaw bone. Advances in technology now allow Clearwater Florida Periodontist Dr. Britten to see fine detailed tooth and jaw anatomy to diagnose conditions that may have been previously hard to detect. Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is now offering the only dental 3D CT Scan that is FDA approved for use on pediatric patients as it delivers the lowest dose of radiation possible on both children and adults.
ct scanner
The VATECH PAX-i3D GREEN cone beam CT Scanner offers fantastic imaging detail and is the only cone beam system considered a “Green CT” due to its extremely low dose, equivalent to only a short time out in the sun. This technology also assists in the digital planning of dental implants for precise accuracy, safety and optimal results. It can also assist in planning for bone grafting, tooth extractions, particularly third molars (wisdom teeth) and suspected pathology such as infected cracked teeth or impacted teeth.

The Green CBCT scanner by VA Tech America provides innovative technology for ultra-low-dose x-rays in 5.9 seconds and minimizes radiation to both patient and operator.

I am excited about not only the excellent image quality for diagnostic purposes, but also the increased protection for the health and safety of our patients. The VA Tech Cone Beam CT scanner is perfect for claustrophobic patients.– Clearwater, FL (PRWEB) July 22, 2016

Periodontal and Implant Specialist Dr. Todd Britten recently began using the latest in Cone Beam CT technology, an open Green CBCT scanner, in his Clearwater office. He says the goal with this cutting-edge technology is obtaining a high quality 3-D image, using the lowest possible radiation dose. Dr. Britten states that this new technology allows him to not only take routine x-rays but also uses it for ConeBeam CT scan technology to take very accurate 3D images which typically require a higher dose of radiation.
The Green CBCT scanner by VA Tech America provides innovative technology for ultra-low-dose x-rays in 5.9 seconds and minimizes radiation to both patient and operator. Dr. Britten says the Green CBCT scanner protects both his patient and the x-ray technician while delivering a high quality 3-D imaging. “I am excited about not only the excellent image quality for diagnostic purposes, but also the increased protection for the health and safety of our patients. The VA Tech Cone Beam CT scanner is perfect for claustrophobic patients, as it is an ‘open air’ scanner. Patients are positioned and stand very still, and in less than six seconds, the scan is done.”

Dentists and dental specialists are using ConeBeam 3-D CT scans more and more frequently as a diagnostic tool for ultimate treatment efficiency and precision, particularly for dental implants, however, they can provide information for full mouth treatment when needed or localized to third molars or even the Temporomandibular Joint. New Green CBCT technology allows your dentist or x-ray technician to select specifically the desired scan while managing radiation dosage to their patients.

This is a very powerful treatment tool in our practice,” says Dr. Britten. “With it, we can work together with our referring dentists to more confidently map our surgical and restorative treatment plans and place and restore implants with accuracy, while protecting our patients and our staff with lower radiation. I have read thousands of CT scans of the jaws but am still amazed at the fine details that I am now able to see in our VA Tech scans. We often see hairline cracks in people’s teeth that were previously unclear on traditional x-rays, yet causing them discomfort.

Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is a periodontal practice offering patients personalized dental care in implant dentistry in Clearwater, Florida. Dr. Todd Britten received his Bachelor of Science & Doctorate of Dental Surgery from University of Florida, a Master’s Degree and Certificate in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry; and completed extensive training at the Institute of Advanced Laser Dentistry. He is one of the only board-certified periodontists in Pinellas County. He is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, American Dental Association, Florida Association of Periodontists, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Research Association and Florida West Coast Dental Association

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Throughout the month of May, Clearwater Florida Periodontist, Dr. Todd Britten, is campaigning to bring awareness for Red Nose Day and help raise money for this extraordinary cause!

It breaks my heart knowing that there are still children in the world that don’t have food to eat… I would love to see the end of childhood hunger.– Clearwater, Florida May 25, 2016

Throughout the month of May, Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, is campaigning to bring awareness about Red Nose Day and help raise funds for this extraordinary cause!

Red Nose Day is a philanthropic event that began 25 years ago to help children in poverty worldwide. In the past 25 years the event has raised more than 1 billion globally. Their slogan is, “Laugh. Give. Save a kid.”

Dr. Todd M. Britten, a board certified periodontist in Clearwater, Florida, has challenged his staff members to get #rednoseready by donating to this global event and then showing off their red nose as they share a little about each of themselves with the online community. During the month of May, each staff member has been featured on the practice’s Facebook page with a silly red nose and their biography, in hopes to engage the community and bring awareness to Red Nose Day 2016! They are challenging the community to post pictures of themselves in their own red noses onto Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry’s Facebook page. For every person who posts a picture with a red nose on their Facebook page, they will donate an additional $1 to the Red Nose Day cause!

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Jennifer Daly, one of the surgical assistants at Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry expressed why this cause is so important to her, “Red Nose Day is important to her because as a mother, it breaks my heart knowing that there are still children in the world that can’t or don’t have food to eat. These are things that I take for granted, but would love to see the end of childhood hunger.”

Half of the money distributed by Red Nose Day 2016 will be spent right here in the U.S. The other half will be spent in some of the poorest communities in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. All money raised supports projects that ensure kids are safe, healthy, and educated.

Red Nose Day 2016 directly benefits these charity partners; Boys & Girls Club of America, Feeding America, Children’s Health Fund, National Urban League, Gavi The Vaccine Alliance, Oxfam America, The Global Fund, Save the Children, Covenant House and National Counsil of La Raza.

To find out more about Red Nose Day, visit: http://rednoseday.org/

Britten Periodontics and Implant Dentistry’s Facebook page can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/ClearwaterPeriodontist/

Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is a periodontal practice offering patients personalized dental care in implant dentistry in Clearwater, Florida. Dr. Todd Britten received his Bachelor of Science & Doctorate of Dental Surgery from University of Florida, a Master’s Degree and Certificate in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry; and completed extensive training at the Institute of Advanced Laser Dentistry. He is one of the only board-certified periodontists in Pinellas County. He is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, American Dental Association, Florida Association of Periodontists, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Research Association and Florida West Coast Dental Association.

Dr. Todd Britten is now offering this FDA-cleared laser procedure for gum disease and periodontal treatment. To learn more about Dr. Britten and his dental services visit his website at http://www.brittenperio.com or call (727) 586-2681.

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