Category Archives: Experience

Parents: How To Avoid Passing Dental Fear On To Your Kids

Parents: Avoid Passing Dental Fear To Your KidsSome of the most fun times at our practice are when kids come in for their check ups.

Whether they’re shy, playful or loud and chatty, they bring smiles all around (it’s hard not to when you’re so darn cute).

Beyond fun, what we love even more is the opportunity to give them a positive, happy dental experience. There’s no better opportunity to make a good impression as when they’re young and, well, impressionable.

Unfortunately, many adults have experienced the opposite. Going to the dentist was scary, boring or just plain unpleasant, planting the seed of fear that few can shake off over the years, despite numerous advances.

Today, dentistry is more comfortable than ever before, from

–effective anesthetics,

–fast acting materials, to

–cushy chairs…with pillows,

happy gas (yippee!) or something stronger, and

–iPods for music to tune out, if need be.

But mostly, we care a whole lot more about your comfort.

Regardless, as parents, we always aim to do better for our children. In terms of establishing good habits, one of the best things we can do is to NOT pass on our fears to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the taste of broccoli (yum, in my opinion!), a fear of heights or, going to the dentist.

If we encourage good habits in our children and do so in a positive light, they will not only be better received but practiced more authentically.

Which is exactly why this is so important. If you had a not-so-great experience with your dentist, passing dental fear on to your kids will only continue the negative cycle.

Using a dental visit as a “threat”: if you don’t behave, I’ll take you to the dentist, be ready, it’ll hurt or I always hated the dentist...comments such as these may sound innocent enough but children, especially as young as 2 or 3, take them to heart. Already, going to the dentist or brushing their teeth becomes a punishment rather than part of taking care of themselves.

Instead, using positive reinforcement, prizes or treats for a job well done, as well as oohing and aahing about healthy, bright and shiny teeth can be a better alternative.

These little steps can go so far in breaking the negative cycle. Kids start appreciating the value of oral health, and establishing good habits that last for life.

Every day is a new opportunity to start fresh. Let’s take the positive approach and get our children started on a path to a lifetime of great oral health.

If you’re ready to get your kids off to a great start on their oral health (and have fun while doing it), call or email us:

(214) 522-3110                             www.raodentistry.com

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Filed under Children's dentistry, Experience, Oral Health, Wellness

Getting Back to Gratitude

gratitude list for thanksgivingThursday is Thanksgiving….a day to devote to family, football, enough food to give our stretchy pants a real challenge….including lots and lots of pie.

And, of course, gratitude.

Most of us probably don’t take as much time as we should to reflect on everything we are grateful for. If you have, you’ll perhaps agree that it can be uplifting and humbling at the same time. And long, if we’re honest.

Since much of what we do around here has to do with taking care of oral health, I thought it would be a good place to highlight for the upcoming holidays, even though we need it all year round.

Here is a partial list of gratitude, for mouth, teeth and everything in and around, that lets us:

Eat

food to grow and nourish

Smile

be friendly or show respect

Drink

be it water or wine

Kiss

show love love love

Breathe

to live and to meditate

Bite

teeth to eat food

Taste

the “sense” to enjoy

Laugh

humor, happiness and joy

Speak

to communicate, connect and of course, say thanks

And speaking of, I am supremely grateful for the wonderful ladies I work with, and the wonderful patients we get to serve.

How about you? I want to know what you’re grateful for! No matter how (if) you celebrate Thanksgiving, it feels great to take a minute and reflect on what’s made your life better this year. Let me know in a comment below.

(214) 522-3110                www.raodentistry.com

Image: verybestbaking

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Filed under Experience, Health, Smile, Wellness

How To Get More From Your First Dental Visit

Dental VisitIf you’ve been away from the dentist in a while, and have (finally!) decided to get back on the wagon, your first visit is a great opportunity to start a good, long-term relationship.

To begin, I strongly recommend you choose your dentist based on a referral from friends, family or co-workers. Strong online reviews can also be an alternative if you’re new to an area.

To help ensure the optimum first visit–because it tends to be more involved; you are new to them and they to you–here are some tips:

Before Your Visit

1. Check out the website, location, reviews, and what services are offered, and ensure they match your needs.

2. When making the appointment, get the highlights–insurance questions, verify appointment time, appointment length, etc.

3. You know there will be paperwork, so check if it’s available online.  If not, make plans to be there 10-15 min ahead of your time. If you carry dental insurance, remember to bring your card. This gives you plenty of time to get it done, or else paperwork will spill over into the time the dentist or hygienist could be giving you their attention.

4. If you’ve had x-rays within the last year, request them from your previous dentist, or get new ones taken. Regular check ups and x-rays are key to staying in maintenance/small problems-easier-to-fix mode instead of darn-I-have-an-emergency-and-it’s-gonna-be-painful-and-cost-twice-as-much mode.

During Your Visit

5. If you have specific questions or issues, be sure to ask them (write them down and make a list if you think you might forget).

6. If you have any appliances you want checked, such as a night guard, retainers, snore guard, etc., take them with you so the dentist can check the fit and even freshen them up.

7. If you feel the discussion with your dentist is too complicated, please do not hesitate to ask and clarify. Discussions about your oral health should be a two-way street. And knowing the ‘why’ makes the ‘what’ and ‘how much’ easier to understand and modify if/when needed.

8. At the end of the visit, be sure to ask any questions that come up during your appointment. You can also consider buying any recommended products (they’re often at better prices than retail or pharmacy). Pick up a business card or two as well, so as to have their contact info handy.

9. Relax! Every dentist and their team are aware that most people are somewhat anxious and uncomfortable during a dental visit. If something is uncomfortable, say so. Modern tools and technology can make dental treatment much more comfortable than in the past.

Keeping an open mind and a good attitude can allow the dental team to do their best, and in return, you get their best. Most dentists really do want to try to keep your visits comfortable and pleasant, and help you achieve and maintain great oral health. And your first dental visit can pave the way.

Ready to find your dental home? Call or email us:

(214) 522-3110        www. raodentistry.com

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Filed under Experience, Wellness

Is It Possible To Like Going To The Dentist…Finally?

Clock saying 'time for change'It’s no breaking news that the idea of going to the dentist is an unpleasant event.

While few are comfortable enough to think nothing of it, most people associate a dental visit with emotions ranging from utter dread to mild anxiety, even at the thought of something as routine as a teeth cleaning.

Such emotions often stem from unpleasant experiences in the past, “horror” stories from others and let’s face it–the thought of something sharp or a loud drill in your mouth doesn’t paint the most appealing picture.

Of course I’m biased (occupational hazard), but after years of encountering such emotions, I’ve learned that changing minds and perceptions–to some degree, at least–is entirely possible, yes, even about the dentist.

Changing Your Mindset

Don’t you do it already? If you’ve ever quit smoking, tackled your taxes yourself or even started a new exercise routine, you’ve changed a habit, which essentially starts with changing your mindset.

How?

By ignoring past setbacks, expecting success, and taking the first step. Then the next, and then another.

What keeps you going is the focus on the end result, the “prize” of being smoke-free, signing off your tax forms and looking better in the mirror. And yes, even getting that sparkling, healthy smile.

Liking The Dentist

While the common perception of dentistry is not flattering, many dentists who don’t fit that mold at all.

For example, in our practice, where we have systems set up to make patients feel comfortable, where we listen to what patients are saying, and focus on comfort in spite of the anxiety we know to expect, it’s not uncommon (for us) to change the old perception.

So what exactly is our m.o.? To invite the kind of folks who

  • want and value great dental care,
  • get that we love to make each person feel special AND comfortable
  •  like to have fun doing it.

Each person on our team knows and believes in that. We have technology and tools, but all that stuff has one goal–to help you make your dental home with us for life.

Our hope is that you will perceive us the way we want: We want to make you feel good about dental care, and change a few minds along the way for those who don’t.

Are you ready…finally!….to like going to the dentist? Then call or email us for an appointment:

(214) 522-3110             www.raodentistry.com

Photo credit: Salvatore Vuono

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Filed under Dental, Experience, Health, Smile, Smoking, Wellness

How to Manage Dental Emergencies on Vacation

Your bags are packed, your neighbor’s watching your dog and here ye go! It’s time to kick back and enjoy your much deserved vacation.

The last thing you need to put a damper on your good mood and a great time is a tooth problem.

Dang it.

I’ve had people call me from the next town to across the country. What do I do because my tooth . . . . ?

No fear, ladies and gents. I’ve slogged, toiled and burned the midnight oil to put together a vacation dental emergency guide so YOU can gallivant gleefully.

For starters, if you’re having any dental issues, get them checked out or at least mention it to your dentist before your departure. Often it’s something simple and easily taken care of, and worth having peace of mind.

Here is a list of the most common dental ailments that might hitch hike with you, and what to do about them.

1. I chipped my tooth!

More crunch in your food that you expected? If you chip a tooth, find a mirror and try to locate it. Sometimes the tooth enamel chips, other times an old filling. Don’t panic. Hi-five yourself if there’s no pain, avoid chewing on that area, and call your dentist as soon as you get back in town.

2. My tooth is sensitive —> here!

If a sip of iced tea makes you curse out loud in front of your in-laws, blame it on a sensitive tooth. Or not.

Sensitivity to cold may indicate that something more than tea is a-brewing, like a cavity. Politely apologize for your outburst (*wink) and make a note to call your dentist asap. Avoid cold drinks/foods, and chew on the other side. Cursing, however, is optional.

3. My (temporary) crown came off!

Who wouldn’t be upset at losing royalty status?

First off, grab the loose crown (“cap”) before you swallow it. If all looks fairly normal, head to the nearest drugstore for some denture adhesive (because stealing from Grandma is wrong). Find a mirror, and try to fit the crown back in. Practice a few times. Dry with cotton, dab on the adhesive, put the crown back on your tooth and bite for 30 seconds. This should get you back to your merry meandering until you get home.

Can’t get to a drugstore? Try some toothpaste. Do NOT head for the super glue.

If the crown doesn’t go in like before, put it in a safe place till your dentist can check it. Also see #1.

4. I have a tooth ache!

Yikes! No way to slice it, this one ain’t fun. If you can tolerate ibuprofen, try that first. If the pain gets progressively worse, chances are it’s an infection and needs attention. Call your dentist (or their emergency number after hours) and describe your symptoms. Most likely your dentist can call in antibiotics at the nearest pharmacy to get it under control. If unavailable, head to an emergency room.

5. My tooth broke!

Ooph. Before you hit the panic button, take a deep breath. Count your blessings if it’s not a front tooth, and the break was painless, if uncomfortable. Avoid chewing on that side and you’ll be able to hang in there if the break was small. If you’re in pain, see #4.

If it does happen to be a front tooth, you may be in deep spit. This is probably an important enough reason to find a local dentist and be seen on an emergency basis, if only for a temporary replacement till you get back in town and see your own.

For international travels, the same rules apply, but I would stress a thorough dental check-up before your trans-oceanic trek.

I will add that I may be enticed to join you should you encounter a dental emergency in any location that has the words “Riviera”, “Tuscany” or “Southern coast” in it.

Yes, really.

Thoughts? Don’t be shy, let me know in the comments!

www.raodentistry.com        (214) 522-3110

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Filed under Emergency, Experience, Wellness

7 Things You Should Already Know About Your Dentist

In 2008, I started working with a company called Demandforce, and haven’t looked back.

Demandforce enables our practice to send email and text reminders for appointments, and newsletters to keep you updated about what’s going on with us.

This makes our scheduling process very efficient, and more importantly, gives our patients a convenience much-needed in today’s busy life. This service is opt-in only, so you decide if you want it.

And that’s not even the best part.

The best part, in my opinion, is the ability for you to tell us how we’re doing on surveys and reviews that are emailed to you after your appointment.

The survey asks 10 short questions regarding your visit, and the reviews are based on a standard 1-5 star system. Both give you opportunity to leave comments.

To date, we have about 250 reviews.

I can say this with confidence today, because we have some damn good feedback. Not to say we’ve never received not-so-glowing words, but overall, I am pleased, proud, humbled and grateful to hear that all our efforts are worth it.

A sampling (7), if you will:

i love my dentist

This is such a fabulous and caring practice. They treat our whole family- and by treat, I mean with respect, care and love. My children love visiting Dr. Rao, Michele, and Tambi because they know they will be gentle and kind.

Cynthia, February 2011

Always a great experience

If you can post “I’m excited for my dental appointment this afternoon!” on your Facebook wall, you know you’ve found the right dental practice. I am pleased to say that I’m one of the lucky ones who can make that proclamation and be 100% honest with my family and friends. When you visit Rao Dentistry, it feels like your spending time with close friends. The office is spotless, the staff is unbelievably friendly, and the care is always painless.

Gretchen, May, 2011

Highest recommendaiton

From hygienists, receptionists to dentist…the best dental experience I’ve had in 36 years!

Katherine, April, 2011

Teeth whitening 101

I received an excellent education on home teeth whitening systems, even though my gear was purchased with a prior dentist.

Amy, October 2010

Great, very helpful

I had an emergency, and they got me right in and taken care of. They went the extra mile for me and I’m deeply appreciative. When you’re in pain, you just need someone to help you. I have been a patient of Dr. Rao’s from her start. She and her staff have been great to deal with. Very professional.

Jodie, November 2009

Wonderful time at the dentist

I wish I had known about Dr. Rao’s office before. I wouldn’t have dreaded going to the dentist. I really enjoyed the relaxed, comfortable, positive atmosphere. No one scolded me for going a year w/o an appt either. (Dentists often reprimand adults like their children.) Competent, gentle, knowledgable. Enjoyed downtown views from chair. Most Importantly, not scared to go back.

Jennifer, July 2009

Great

Dr. Rao makes going to the dentist easy.

David, September 2008

There’s a lot more where that came from, and you can read those here. For us, they add fuel to the fire and keep us trying to do our the best 🙂

Do you have more to say? We want to know! Call us at (214) 522-3110, or say it right here in the comments.

www.raodentistry.com

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How To Be Happy By Saying N(2)O

If I could offer you a martini at your next dental visit, I would.   

Unfortunately, being a licensed professional, I have to abide by these pesky things called ‘laws’, so I can’t.

But I can offer you the next best thing.

Laughing gas. Happy gas. Conscious Inhalation Sedation.

Or more commonly known as Nitrous Oxide.

No, I’m not getting all Fast and Furious on you and taking this stuff from my hot rod’s NOS rockets. I’m not Vin Diesel. I have way more hair.

I’m talking about the N to the 2 to the O, the colorless, odorless gas you breathe in and out to kick your dental anxiety to the curb while we do the work. The nitrous gas is mixed in with oxygen (kinda important), and delivered via hoses to a nose piece that you keep on start to finish.

When turned on (the gas, not you), within 5-8 minutes it induces a feeling of euphoria; some describe it like a light buzz from that first drink. You may feel a tingling or light-headed sensation, or maybe like you’re floating. Some get the giggles; hence the name “happy gas”.

Don’t worry; we’ll laugh with you, not at you (or so we say). Just don’t break into song along with our music system. You’ll regret it later.

We carefully monitor the amount of gas administered, so you stay the right amount of happy. Some folks don’t even need a local anesthetic because the gas is a strong enough analgesic. In essence, you are fully alert and conscious, but just don’t care that much.

And because the gas enters and leaves your lungs as you breathe, it is very safe to use; there is no hangover (always a plus) and you don’t need a designated driver to take you home. In fact, it is so safe that it can be used on children.

Now, like every party, the happy gas party has its party poopers. A small percentage of people just can’t get the same relaxing effect, and instead feel nauseous and icky, or if they’re chronic mouth breathers or have emphysema.

Sorry folks, if that’s you, I’m taking you off the RSVP list permanently. You’ll just have to get comfy without the gas; but that’s okay, I’ll still get you in (I know the owner).

If you’ve never tried it before, what are you waiting for? We keep the cost affordable so you can be comfortable and not dread your visits. In fact, some of our patients use it every single time, even for their routine teeth cleanings.

So next time you’re in, ask us about the nitrous gas, and get your happy on.

If you just can’t wait, call us at (214) 522-3110 or ask in the comments. 

www.raodentistry.com

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Filed under Dental Product, Experience, Sedation