Learning to Relax During Dental Treatment

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Mar 10, 2014 4:47:00 PM

Learning to Relax During Dental Care
While some patients approach the process of dental implant treatment with minimal or no anxiety, some patients may feel a sense of worry and even dread. The reasons for this anxiety can include fear of needles, “going under” from general anesthesia or the fear of experiencing pain and discomfort. Many of these symptoms are common for anyone who is approaching a medical or dental procedure. This is called anticipatory anxiety.

Developing coping strategies for anticipatory anxiety can be critical in creating a more comfortable and even positive experience as a part of having a dental implant procedure. Here are some strategies to consider:

1) Ask as many questions of your prosthodontist and the staff as you need to prior to agreeing to the procedure. Feeling informed and educated can be very important in decreasing any fears or anxiety. Examples of possible questions include asking what exactly will be done and how long will each step of the dental implant process take. Discussing the options for pain management and discomfort during and after the procedures can be important.

2) Try to understand your own anxiety. Psychological research has shown that people who take time to reflect on their own fears can prevent the anxiety from taking place. Ask yourself what is the worst fear I have as I think about having a dental implant? Speaking about your concerns with your prosthodontist and his or her staff can help prepare you and the dental team for your upcoming procedure. If you have a history of anxiety it is important to let the doctor know about it. The doctor or the staff can answer questions and alleviate some of your fears.

3) Once you have a more clear understanding of what you are fearful of try to have a conversation with yourself to help calm yourself. These inner conversations are normal and are like having a self-coach who is reassuring and encouraging. It can also be helpful to speak with a mental health professional about your fears if needed.

4) Practicing relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to lower heart rate, blood pressure and symptoms of anxiety. Once you experience the ability to relax, you can approach your dental implant procedure with improved confidence. It is easy to learn deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing.

Start by finding a comfortable chair, couch or bed to sit or lie on. Place your hand on your belly and take a deep breath. As you breathe in imagine that your lungs are like a balloon, a three dimensional object that can inflate both outward and upward. As you breathe in you will feel your hand on your belly rise up slowly. That is your lungs expanding and is the signal that you are breathing more deeply. Once you have taken in a full breath hold it for a few seconds and notice the fullness of your breath and then slowly begin to release that breath. Feel the letting go of the breath and let it all the way out. Then take another full deep breath and hold that as well. Repeat the deep breathing a third time. Then continue to breathe normally. Listening to calm music can be helpful during your relaxation exercise. As you continue to breathe you can choose to take a deeper more full breath anytime that you wish.

5) You can also begin to focus in your mind’s eye on a safe and positive place. Perhaps a place that you have been to before or that you would like to go to or have seen in a movie. This part of the relaxation exercise is called visualization or imagery. The safe place should include all of the senses. Ask yourself what you see in the place. What is there and who are you with or are you alone. What sounds are a part of this place and what is the temperature there? Is it warm or cold? What does it smell like in your safe place? Perhaps the smell of the beach or water or of trees or flowers?

6) You can also try to imagine a gentle wave of relaxation starting at the top of your head and gently moving downward into your forehead and eyes and then into your jaw muscles and chin. This gentle wave of relaxation can continue downward through your whole body until it reaches the tip of your toes.

Practicing each of these relaxation exercises twice per day can help to decrease anxiety and increase a sense of self-confidence. You can look at these exercises as tools that you can use, even during your dental implant procedures. There is always the option of medication to cope with anxiety and that option should be discussed with your doctor in advance of the implant. The relaxation strategies described above can often preclude the need for medication and should be tried prior to utilizing anti-anxiety medicine. These strategies can help to make the process of dental implants go more smoothly.

Daniel A. Schwarz, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Schwarz is a Licensed Psychologist who has been in private practice in the Philadelphia area since 1988 providing treatment for a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues.

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Tags: dental implant treatment, dental phobia, dental treatment anxiety

Pi Dental Center Featured in Philly News

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Nov 7, 2013 10:15:00 AM

WAWA Worker Receives New Smile

The Philadelphia Daily News featured Pi Dental Center describing the events that led to the treatment of a Port Richmond woman's dental implant treatment.

In the early hours of August 28th, while waiting for a bus, Barbara was attacked by two malicious robbers, damaging her teeth.

Glenn Wolfinger, DMD, of Pi Dental Center read Barbara's story and decided to help.

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Tags: dental implant treatment, smile makeover, tooth decay and fracture

The No Bone Solution of Dental Implant Treatment

Posted by Thomas Balshi, DDS FACP on Dec 20, 2012 3:34:00 PM

A healthy smile is achieved using the No Bone Solution Dental Implant Protocol

Patients, who have been told that they do not have enough bone for successful dental implant treatment, feel discouraged and overwhelmed by the limited number of options presented to them by their dentists.  Many of these patients are presented with a choice of removable dentures or lengthy and invasive treatment protocols.

Some of the dilemmas denture wearers experience include sore spots on the gums from rubbing, a decrease in bite force and an inability to eat many foods. Loose dentures move around and cause embarrassment in public. Some denture wearers have difficulty speaking with whistling or clicking of denture teeth.  Many people who wear dentures also complain that food tastes bland.

Successful dental implant rehabilitation of the upper arch depends on the quality and quantity of bone.  The term used to describe an upper jaw with very little bone is called a severely atrophic maxilla.  Rehabilitation of the severely atrophic maxilla presents significant challenges for treatment.  Inadequate bone volume often results in the use of bone grafting procedures that can lengthen treatment time and delay delivery of the non-removable prosthesis.

The No Bone Solution is a special treatment protocol developed at the Pi Dental Center. It combines unique computer guided implant surgery with precision screw retained fixed prosthodontic rehabilitation of the severely atrophic maxilla. The protocol eliminates the need for invasive bone grafting and extensive procedures.

This summer, The Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry published, A “No Bone” Treating the Atrophic Maxilla with Immediate Implant-Supported Fixed Prosthesis. Dr. Thomas Balshi and Stephen Balshi MBE wrote the article, which provided CE credits for dental professionals.

This article identified patients who might be candidates for this type of treatment.  It discussed zygomatic and pterygomaxillary implants and described minimally invasive timesaving benefits of this protocol in comparison to sinus lift procedures.

The No Bone Solution protocol provides a restorative option for patients with severely atrophic maxillary bone. This protocol does not require bone augmentation and significantly reduces total treatment time for the patient compared to alternative procedures.

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Tags: dental implants, dental implant treatment, No Bone Solution, bone loss, severely atrophic maxilla, sinus lift

How Biting Forces Effect Teeth With Large Fillings

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Aug 27, 2012 1:48:00 PM

A description of how biting forces

Filling or Crown

When a patient has a cavity (caries), the dentist must consider whether a composite restoration (filling) or a crown is the best option to repair the tooth.  If the cavity is large, biting forces exerted on the tooth must be considered.

When a person chews, tremendous forces are exerted on the teeth.  Up to 573 pounds can be exerted on the molar teeth!  This is why it is so important for dental restorations to be strong enough to withstand those forces.   Once a filling becomes too wide or too deep, the integrity of the tooth is compromised.

Large fillings destabilize teeth and, over time, biting forces from the opposing teeth can cause cracks, breakage, inflamed roots and pain.

Biting forces can cause the tooth to crack at the base.  Decay can occur causing tooth to fracture.

Complete crowns are restorations that cover the entire tooth. They offer a better option by providing more stability than a large filling. 


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Tags: dental implant treatment, dental fillings, dental pain

Cancer Survivor Discusses Dental Implant Treatment

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Mar 22, 2012 9:42:00 AM

Cancer Survivor Discusses Dental Implant Treatment

Lynne is a cancer survivor who lost most of her mouth during treatment.
Pi gave her the gift of a smile. Here is her story.


Tags: dental implant treatment

How To Be An Educated Consumer While Shopping for Dental Implants

Posted by Chris Raines on Jun 14, 2011 1:30:00 PM

Weigh your dental treatment options

Today’s dental patient has more options than ever before for restoring both health and beauty to even the most compromised teeth.  In the offices of prosthodontists, all ceramic crowns and ultra-thin veneers provide some of the most natural-looking restorations possible; however dental implants are rapidly becoming among the most cutting edge dental solutions.  A computer generated prostheses built upon an implant system that is scientifically and statistically successful is potentially the most customized smile available, and in addition to excellent esthetics, will also have extraordinary longevity.

The internet has become the primary resource for patients to “shop” for dental care; however like any form of advertising, one must peruse beyond the creative genius of the web designer to find the real qualifications of the doctor. These are not always apparent in photos of a slick environment or in the stage presence of a strong and authoritative personality.

While dental implants are not new, many practices have been slow to invest in the education, equipment and materials necessary to comprehensively provide this care.  As a result, some doctors who advertise implant care are very new to these protocols. Seek experience.  Ask for implant practice statistics.  How many implants has the doctor placed? What is his published success rate?

Demand implant products that have been thoroughly scientifically researched and proven successful for the long term.  New implant companies have popped up around the globe, mimicking the classics at lower price points.  Do not forget the maxim, “we get what we pay for.”  Fringe applications do not usually come with guarantees and once failed, may be both physically and financially difficult to reverse. 
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Don’t overlook the importance of the laboratory.  The dentist will place the implants, engineer the design of your teeth, and eventually connect the teeth to the implants, but the actual fabrication of your smile will be in the hands of technicians whose level of skill is directly proportional to the strength, the shapeliness and the sparkling esthetics of the final result.  Ask whether the lab is “in house.”  Patients have the greatest input to the appearance of their smile when the master technician can actually see the patient’s face.  

Ask for a treatment timeline.  Time is very precious.  You don’t want to spend too much of it in a dental chair.  Current technology provides for high quality care with minimal visits. 

Look for patient testimonials.  Word of mouth is the best reference.  A reliable implant practice will have a roster of patients who will be pleased to share their experiences and
who will offer many perspectives on how positively life-changing a smile can be.  Smile

Finally, test the team.  Converse with the person who answers the phone.  In a good practice the entire staff is integrated for the purpose of serving their patients’ needs.  This person should provide a wealth of information about the flavor of the practice.  Look for a kind listener who also provides clear, complete, direct answers to your questions. 

Dental implant treatment is a significant investment because the materials themselves are costly and the expertise of many professionals is required to achieve superlative results.

Shop carefully and invest wisely. A perfect smile yields lifelong rewards.

Tags: dental implants, dental implant treatment