Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be a bad thing

“I’m scared because I have no idea what’s going on or what to expect.”

“That absolutely terrifying sound of the drill sends shivers down my spine.”

“I have terrible teeth, I’m just so embarrassed.”

“I can’t go to the dentist. If I do, I’ll have a full-fledge panic attack.”
It’s actually much more common than you may think to feel this way. Dental anxiety is very common and totally natural. I mean, why wouldn’t it be natural to be afraid of someone coming at your face with sharp tools? It isn’t exactly something we want.  But the good news is that there are things you can do to make the experience bearable, and even pleasant!
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It all starts with finding the right dentist.
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Things your dentist can do to make your visit less scary:
If you have dental anxiety, make sure to find a dentist who understands where you’re coming from. There are many different things dentists can do to make appointments less frightening. Here at Alpine Smiles, we offer movies, music, pillows and blankets to make you more comfortable during your visit! It’s important to seek out a dentist that lets you have control in the chair, explains things thoroughly and doesn’t make you feel embarrassed for being afraid. It’s even okay to interview a few dentists if you think it is necessary so you can see if you feel comfortable talking to him or her about your apprehension. 
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Things you can do to make your visit less scary:
Avoid caffeine for at least six hours before your appointment, that way you are less anxious
Eat high-protein foods one hour before your visit and it can calm your anxiety
Focus on breathing regularly and slowly. Concentrate on pausing for a couple seconds between breaths. People with anxiety tend to hold their breath, which decreases their oxygen levels and further increases the feeling of panic.
Agree upon a specific gesture with your dentist, such as a hand signal so you can alert him or her to pause. This is great if you have ever been afraid of losing control while in the dental chair.
Use a blanket during your visit. Pressure on the body from a weighted blanket can relieve anxiety at the dentist. For many years, people have gotten relief from the heavy lead vest used while taking x-rays.  
Ask for nitrous oxide. Millions of apprehensive patients every year receive extensive dental work under the effects of nitrous oxide. These patients admit, that without the option of nitrous oxide, they would not actively seek dental care. Nitrous oxide is also a safe and proven technique that is inexpensive and readily available. 
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If you’ve been avoiding the dentist because of anxiety, give us a call and we can work together to make your visit something you don’t have to fear! 
 
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Your friend, 
Joedi
Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ
86011

Everything you need to know about FLOSSING!

Flossing can be a tedious thing and many people dread getting the question, “Have you been flossing?” at their dental checkups. Although it may be annoying it is still very important. Brushing alone is not enough to control the plaque that is in your mouth. To get rid of the plaque that finds its way in between your teeth, you must floss.
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Additionally, flossing helps prevent future dental work as the existing plaque can cause “interproximal cavities” or cavities in between the teeth. Here are some simple flossing tips that will make you smile a little bigger the next time you see your dentist.
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First, it’s important to know the basics. The American Dental Association (ADA) provides the following five steps to achieving a flawless floss:
  1. Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the rest around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
  2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
  3. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
  4. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  5. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.                                                                                                                                                
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Now the question is, before or after brushing?
 According to the ADA, the sequence of flossing and brushing makes no difference. As long as you do a thorough job of both. Also be sure to floss at least once a day, but more often if you can!
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Choosing a floss
When you go to the store to buy floss, it can be a bit overwhelming because of all the different options. But when it comes down to it, there are only two types of floss, multifilament and monofilament. Multifilament is the more common type of floss on the market, and it is the standard dental floss that has been around for a very long time. Typically, multifilament floss is made out of nylon or silk, but the most common material is definitely nylon. Multifilament floss also comes waxed or un-waxed. Wax generally makes gliding the floss between your teeth easier and some say that it is more comfortable. One downside to multifilament floss is that it may shred or break easier than monofilament floss. Monofilament floss is newer to the market and made out of plastic or rubber. Since it is stronger, it doesn’t shred or tear. People generally find monofilament floss easier to use and move between teeth which is why many brands use the word “glide” in the floss name.
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Both types are available in different thicknesses and flavors depending on your needs. The type of floss you use is mostly about preference. You have to choose one you won’t mind using every day.
                         
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Other options
Other manual options include floss picks and soft picks. Floss picks are just small sections of floss attached to a stick to make flossing easier. Soft picks look like tiny Christmas trees and they’re perfect for those with braces or permanent retainers because they effortlessly go between wire and teeth.
                                                                                      
For those who want a more high-tech option, there are water picks which shoot water between teeth and clean out areas where gums pull ways from the teeth and form spaces. Due to its ease of use, water picks are a good option for those who have diminished motor function, but they should be used in conjunction with manual flossing as they are not the most well-equipped to remove all plaque.
                                                       
While there are numerous products on the market to help make flossing a little easier, the most important thing to remember is that flossing controls plaque buildup and plaque buildup can lead to gum disease.
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But how do you know if you’re doing a good job? Try using plaque disclosing tablets which are available over-the-counter at pharmacies and other stores that sell oral hygiene products. Plaque disclosing tablets are chewed after you clean your mouth. Red dye will stain plaque that has not been removed, showing you spots that need additional cleaning. Then you can use whatever works best for you to remove additional traces of plaque!
                                         
Find your own routine, so the next time you’re asked if you floss everyday, you can smile and say yes!
                                              
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or call our office at 928-774-9553.
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Your friend,
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Joedi
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Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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Whitening your teeth: DIY or Dentist?

Should you get your teeth whitened by your dentist, or just do it yourself?
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The thought of going to the dentist isn’t always the most appealing idea to everyone, so many people consider buying an at-home kit to whiten their teeth in lieu of taking a trip to the office. You can easily buy one at the store, they’re relatively inexpensive and you can use them on your own time. So why should you go to the dentist? Both options have their advantages. Take a look at this comparison to see which one works best for you!
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Convenience 
Most people want to be able to whiten their teeth quickly and not have to leave the house, which is why at-home kits may seem to be the better option. However, setting aside daily time at home (sometimes several times a day) to apply the bleach and letting it sit may be impractical for many people.  After all, if the at-home product isn’t used often enough, the bleach will not work properly, leaving some frustrated with the poor results.
Although it requires you to leave the house, having your teeth professionally whitened by the dentist could take just 90 minutes, more efficiently giving a person the results they desire.  Besides, that hour and a half is a great opportunity to sit back and relax, maybe even watch a movie!
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Price
One of the biggest things that turns people away from going to the dentist to get their teeth whitened is the price. It is true that at-home kits are typically cheaper than going to the dentist, but in that instance you are paying for convenience, not quality . Plus, here at Alpine Smiles, we’re offering FREE professional whitening (a $300 value) to new patients with a full dental exam, x-rays, cleaning and acceptable oral health. Call us today to schedule your appointment! 928-774-9553
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Speed
When it comes to quick whitening, most at-home kits will promise immediate results, but it is unlikely that you’re going to have stark white teeth after one use. Additionally, the concentration of bleach in at-home kits can cause sensitivity and pain!  To get the results they promise, you will have to continuously use them on a regular basis, leading to more sensitivity. If you go to have your teeth whitened by your dentist, it will be over in less than two hours and that’s it!
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Safety
One of the most important factors of teeth whitening is safety. Using chemicals on your body in any way has the potential to be dangerous. At-home products can be safe – if they are used correctly. There is a lot of room for error when whitening yourself. But if you go to your dentist, safety will be maintained at all times.
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Results
So which one gives you the whitest teeth? Without question, in-office whitening.  Some people report good results with at-home kit; however, many other people have had terrible experiences with them. They are pretty hit and miss, and if they don’t work, you have wasted your money. If you get your teeth whitened by your dentist, you can feel much more confident that you will get the results you want.
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Both at-home whitening kits and going to your dentist are options if you want whiter teeth. However, your dentist is in a much better position to give you the results you want in a timely manner.
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If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or call our office at 928-774-9554.
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Your friend,
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Joedi
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Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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How to protect your child’s teeth during sports

Picture this: a middle school baseball player is up for bat. The first pitch is thrown. Strike. The second pitch is thrown. A solid hit. Except, not to the outfield, but rather the face. Blood appears immediately and the coach runs out to assess the injury. The pitcher runs up to apologize, while the catcher searches the ground for the teeth that have been knocked out. You watch helplessly from the stands wondering what happened… Or, if you’re like me, you’re already on the field holding your child.graphics-interchange-format-gif-8d2f265dc23f-1

When your child plays sports, you might often worry about broken bones or sprained ankles. Well, their teeth are equally as important to worry about! Tripping over a hurdle or a basketball off the backboard to the face could chip or even knock out a tooth.

But, parents! Do not fret. I have a solution.

Mouthguards & helmets: for more than just football.  

Yes, yes, I know. Safety–a child’s least favorite word. Trust me, I have twin daughters… I know how hard it is to get them to wear anything that doesn’t look “cool.” My solution? Try showing them these photos from sports related injuries and see what they have to say…

Trigger warning: blood ahead.

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The facts:

  • According to SafeChild.net, 60% of sports-related injuries occur during practice, rather than during games.
  • This year 5 million teeth will be knocked out of children while they play sports
  • It is estimated that helmets save one life each day and prevent one head injury every four minutes (Colgate).
Protect your kids and their precious teeth!
Your friend,
Joedi
Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ
86001

Meet Dr. Joedi Pasut, your dentist and friend

Hello friends!

My name is Dr. Joedi Pasut, but you can call me Joedi. I am a proud resident of Flagstaff, Arizona, and an even prouder wife and mother of two girls (TWINS!?). In 2006, after 7 years in Phoenix, my high school sweetheart husband and I realized that we needed to get out of the heat! Always being fond of the pines, we decided Flagstaff was the right place to raise our family. Best. Decision. Ever.

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The view of the San Francisco Peaks right outside our dentist office, in Flagstaff, Arizona

Our family loves everything this wonderful community has to offer… whether it’s hiking Mt. Humphrey’s, camping in the neighboring city of Sedona, biking throughout the urban trails, or and playing with my daughters in the snow… We are always making fabulous memories.

So you may have noticed that my official title is Dr. Joedi Pasut… Well, that’s because I practice the best type of medicine– dentistry. I used to get a lot of, “Why on earth do you want to be a dentist?!” The answer is simple– I have always wanted to help people feel better about smiling. To pursue my dream, I went through A LOT of school… I earned an undergraduate degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois and went on to dental school at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. After receiving my doctorate in dental surgery degree, I continued my training and received a certificate in Advanced Education in General Dentistry at the University of Michigan College of Dentistry.

If you have ever been to Flagstaff, you know that there is a certain vibe of inclusion and friendships. That’s the type of feeling that I try to bring into my business, Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry. I cherish the long-lasting relationships I have built with my patients. I enjoy getting to know my patients and all of their dental needs from a first checkup of two years old teeth, to fillings and regular cleaning visits for everyone. Our patients are friends and family.

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We like to have fun in the office! This is from Halloween 2016. Aren’t we a fun bunch of ladies!?

I want to change how people feel about going to the dentist. My patients often express that they forget they are in a dental office. WHAT?! #Goals

Thanks for reading my first blog post! I plan to write one every month and cover topics about my experiences as a dentist and share some helpful tips on how you can enjoy your dental experiences as well.

Your friend,

Joedi