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    Dentistry and Dental Phobia

    Dental phobia is a condition that leaves people terrified of going to the dentist. Most of those who have it are perfectly aware that their fears are irrational, but are still unable to do anything about it. With the right help, like what is available at the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, people with dental phobia can still get the care they need.

    Fear of the dentist is common, but dental phobia is in a category all its own. It is more than feeling stressed while a cavity is filled, or your teeth are cleaned. It is an emotion so intense, people may avoid the dentist altogether.[1]

    The terms “dental anxiety” and “dental phobia” are sometimes confused, or used interchangeably. Researchers who study the phenomenon say dental phobia is more than anxiety, and place it at the far end of a continuum of fear. In its most extreme form, people with dental phobia may only go to the dentist when they absolutely must – when their dental pain has become unbearable.

    “Many times these fears are not taken very seriously by friends and family,” said Markus Schulte, a Swiss dentist and oral surgeon. “They are even made fun of.” Even some dentists, he said, are not sympathetic enough to those with dental phobia. Because of that, people with the condition may end up feeling isolated and helpless, and with ever-declining dental health.[2]

    “If you have dental phobia,
    we want you to know that
    our first priority is making
    you feel safe and comfortable
    –Dr. Zeyad Mady, Center
    for Dental Anesthesia

    Why Does It Happen?
    There is no single explanation for why some people develop dental phobia, yet many who share the condition have certain things in common. Most often, dental phobia is attributed to traumatic or painful dental experiences, usually early in life. Dr. Schulte says that about a third of his patients report having had some kind of negative experience with a dentist when they were young. It usually involved physical pain. Even worse, insensitive or brutal behavior by a dentist has contributed to their phobia.[3]

    Other people trace their dental phobia to frightening stories they heard about dentists when they were growing up – how painful an extraction or root canal was, for example. Often, these scary stories came from their parents.[4]

    Still others with dental phobia cannot identify any particular cause.

    Hard to Forget
    Among those who could name a cause for their dental phobia, nearly half said it was the result of pain. Most of us are able to remember particularly painful events, even years after they happened. “Our brains are wired for this, with a strong emotional component,” wrote Dr. Ben Bobrow, “which makes some pain literally ‘hard to forget.’” These memories, he says, can lead to avoidance behavior, such as dental phobia.[5]

    Other reasons people have dental phobia include:

    • Fear of injections, like a local anesthetic
    • Fear that an injection won’t work
    • Fear of the side effects of anesthesia
    • A sense of helplessness

    Not everyone with dental phobia avoids going to the dentist. But they still cope with a range of symptoms, such as:

    • Crying, or feeling sick just thinking about a dental appointment
    • Sleeplessness the night before an appointment
    • Elevated blood pressure
    • Mounting tension while in a dentist’s waiting room
    • Intense unease when dental tools are put in their mouths
    • Fainting
    • The urge to gag or vomit

    What to Do
    First and foremost, dental phobia must be met with empathy on the part of the dentist. Advising a patient to find their backbone, or keep a stiff upper lip, simply will not work and is inappropriate.

    New patients to any dental practice are usually asked to fill out a registration form. This is a standard procedure, and Dr. Schulte says it’s the perfect time to ask specific questions about whether the patient has any fear of dentists. If the patient answers yes, how strong is it, on a scale of one to ten?

    Fortunately, more and more dental professionals are becoming aware that dental phobia is a very real condition that deserves the same understanding and respect that other conditions receive. This includes the team at the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, which has always made dental phobia a priority.

    “Studies show that up to 75% of Americans experience some level of dental-related fear,” says the CDA’s Dr. Zeyad Mady. “If you have dental phobia, we want you to know that our first priority is making you feel safe and comfortable here.”

    At the Center for Dental Anesthesia, Dr. Mady begins with an initial consultation that takes place in a neutral environment. Using rooms that don’t contain any dental equipment removes emotional triggers – the sights, sounds, and smells we associate with dentistry. Patients tend to be more relaxed, and better able to describe their conditions and concerns, as well as learn of the options available to them. At these consultations, Dr. Mady gives each patient his undivided attention, and begins to build the trust needed to overcome dental phobia.

    Our Top Priority
    The available options include sedation dentistry. This is an umbrella term encompassing every type of sedation available in modern dentistry.

    The lightest and most common type of sedation is nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Administered as a mixture of nitrous and oxygen, it is safe and effective, and has been used in dentistry for more than a hundred years.

    Nitrous oxide is extremely effective, but it may not be enough for some patients with dental phobia. The Center for Dental Anesthesia offers a full range of sedation options. Dr. Mady and the entire CDA staff have received advanced sedation training and are certified to administer the highest levels of dental anesthesia. This includes IV sedation, sometimes called “twilight dentistry,” and general anesthesia, which puts the patient completely under.

    At the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA, we offer special needs dentistry for people with dental phobia. The safety, comfort, and dental health of each of our patients is always our top priority. It is possible to have quality dental care that is safe and pain-free, and we are committed to bringing that to each of our patients, regardless of their history. If you are coping with dental phobia, don’t put your dental health at risk. We urge you to call us to schedule a consultation.


    [1]      “Why Are People Afraid of the Dentist?” by Laura Beaton, Ruth Freeman and Gerry Humprhis.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5586885/pdf/mpp-0023-0295.pdf, p. 296.
    See also “Dental Phobia: The Fear of Dentists,” by Dr. Markus Schulte,
    http://www.dentophobie.ch/download/dental-phobia.pdf (cited hereafter as Schulte).

    [2]      Schulte, p. 5 (“Impacts of dental phobia”).

    [3]      Schulte, and “Prevalence Of Dental Phobia Among Patients At Dental Clinics In UAE,” by Syeda Sheema, Safa Khan, Zaid Muayad, Ali Thaier, Meera Obaid, Hossam A. Eid.

    [4]      Schulte.

    [5]      Ben Bobrow, MD, “Reducing Pain by Learning How to Not Fear Pain.”

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia


    Healthy Lifestyles For Healthy Lifesmiles

    Alexandria dentist teeth whitening

    Dental health and a beautiful smile depend on much more than simply brushing regularly. In this post from the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA, we present a quick refresher on critical lifestyle practices that affect oral health.

    You are probably familiar with most of these recommendations, but it is helpful to get a reminder once in a while. We encourage all of our patients to maintain a lifestyle that promotes dental health as well as overall physical health. After all, the two are inseparable.


    • Eat a nutritious diet.
    • Eat calcium-rich dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt to neutralize acids that attack enamel.
    • Brush gently but meticulously at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
    • Make sure you clean thoroughly between teeth with dental floss or interdental cleaners such as flossing picks.
    • If you have children, meet with your Alexandria dentist about water fluoridation. If your municipal water supply is not fluoridated, you may want to give your children fluoride supplements.
    • Get your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year.
    • Have a dental examination twice yearly with your Alexandria dentist.


    • Eat a sugar frequently. Sugar triggers the production of detrimental cavity-causing acids that weaken enamel.
    • Snack throughout the day. This speeds up plaque production and subjects the teeth to constant bombardment with acids.
    • Chew on ice.
    • Use your teeth as tools. Ever!
    • Drink energy drinks.
    • Get oral piercings.
    • Ignore tooth pain or sensitivity.

    If you have oral pain or haven’t visited a dentist in a while, call the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA to schedule an appointment. We provide a full range of family and cosmetic dentistry. Make an appointment today.

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia


    ArticleID 6560

    Express Your Personality With A Smile Makeover

    Alexandria lowest price teeth bleaching

    What makes up a perfect smile? White teeth? Straight teeth? Teeth with pleasing proportions relative to one another? A perfect smile is more than the sum of its parts. At Center for Dental Anesthesia, we believe that your perfect smile also contains another element—your unique personality.

    We know that perfection is a loaded word. But we can help you get as close to a perfect smile as possible with a smile makeover – a combination of cosmetic dentistry procedures that remedy any problems with your existing smile.

    Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a multitude of tooth restoration treatments. On the least invasive end, we have dental bonding and inlays/onlays. These can often be completed in just one visit. Porcelain veneers can remedy small imperfections such as chips. A veneer can also correct the shape of a tooth that is misaligned.

    If you have teeth that are not structurally sound, you may need a dental crown. The crowns we provide at Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria blend perfectly with your existing teeth. No “chiclet” effect where the crown sticks out like a sore thumb.

    What if you have a missing tooth? Dental implants may be the answer. This permanent tooth restoration is actually anchored into the jawbone, offering strength, natural function, and protection from bone recession. With a dental implant, there is no need to damage the two adjacent teeth, which is necessary for a dental bridge.

    Perhaps your greatest need is to repair or replace dental work performed elsewhere. We can remove old silver fillings and replace with natural tooth colored fillings and replace broken dental crowns.

    The Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria has a full complement of cosmetic and family dentistry that will give you that perfect smile of your dreams. Schedule an appointment with us today.

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia


    ArticleID 6553

    Lasting a Lifetime: Pediatric Dentistry

    Teeth are meant to last a lifetime, which is why early dental care is so important. At the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, we are committed to pediatric dentistry.

    A big part of keeping teeth and gums healthy is daily care. That means teaching your youngsters good brushing and flossing habits. It also means taking them to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months. The American Dental Association recommends bringing children in for their first visit within six months of their first tooth coming in, and no later than their first birthday.

    Keeping teeth and gums healthy also means having a balanced diet that is low in sugar. More and more children are showing signs of early tooth decay. It has even been called the most common chronic childhood disease. By minimizing sweets and establishing a good dental health routine, they can be limited.

    A good tool for protecting teeth is dental sealants. Sealants are a thin protective layer of plastic material applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where tooth decay is most prevalent. Along with brushing and flossing, sealants go a long way toward preventing cavities.

    Early dental care is vital. Pediatric dentistry at the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria helps to ensure your youngster’s teeth and gums will stay healthy throughout their lives. We also offer cosmetic dentistry. Make an appointment with us today.

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia

    The Mark Of The Perfect Dentist

    Alexandria best family dentist

    If you are fortunate to have dental insurance but do not have a regular dentist, it’s time to find one. At the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA, we have a full range of dental services.

    Our team of dental professionals has been providing valuable services since 2015. Some of our services include orthodontics, restorative dentistry, comfort dentistry, sedation dentistry, and teeth whitening. Patients will note the ease and skill we exhibit after performing these procedures successfully many, many times. Experience takes out the guesswork.

    An Affordable Experience

    It is not in our best interest to scare patients away with overpriced procedures and debilitating payment plans. We are here to serve our friends and neighbors. If you are in the market for affordable dental care, then call us for prices. Quality dental care is an investment in your health and its value cannot be overestimated.

    At Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA, it is our desire to charge responsible fees made affordable for our community. Give us a chance to prove our value. Our services include family dentistry, and special needs dentistry. Make an appointment with us today.

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia


    ArticleID 6625

    Keeping Patients Calm

    sleep dentistry Alexandria

    Are you or a family member apprehensive about going to the dentist? Have you neglected going to the dentist because of this, and fear the amount of work that might need to be carried out? Sedation dentistry from the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria might be just what you need.

    If your past or current situation is causing a lot of nervousness, there are options available to calm your fear and reduce (or completely eliminate) your pain with the required services. Sedation dentistry (sometimes called sleep dentistry) has helped countless people calmly undergo dental treatment. It is not an experimental procedure but has been used safely in various forms since the 1800s.

    There is a big difference between topical analgesics and sedation. Analgesics help numb the gums and nerves connected with your teeth so you don’t feel the pain. Sedation dentistry impacts the nervous system to induce a feeling of peace and relaxation.

    Our practice offers several sedation options. You may choose to be minimally sedated, where you are reserved but still awake, or select general anesthesia, which renders you completely unconscious. Together, these two solutions dramatically improve the treatment experience for patients suffering from dental anxiety, a very common condition.

    Regardless of the type and level of sedation you decide to use, we proceed with patience and understanding. Sedation assists in making your dental visit peaceful so you can treat all of your dental troubles and restore your health.

    Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria is committed to sedation dentistry and oral health. Our services also include family dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia


    ArticleID 7041

    Foaming At The Mouth: Are You Brushing Right?

    Alexandria affordable family dentist

    In this post, the dentists at the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA examine some specifics about brushing your teeth. It should be a very straight-forward process, but like so many things, there is always room for improvement.

    One key to activating the value of toothpastes is creating foam when thoroughly brushing. Working up a good foam is achieved by pre-wetting the toothbrush, then attacking at a 45 rather than 90 degree angle.

    The foaming assists in dislodging food debris from nooks and crannies in the mouth. Go ahead and swish it around at the completion of brushing to pick up any stragglers. The abrasives in toothpaste are designed to polish the teeth without damaging the enamel.

    Because of the abrasives, soft toothbrushes are best for proper brushing. Harder bristles can put the enamel and gum line at risk. When the gum line recedes from aggressive brushing (or any other cause) a patient may experience tooth pain, increased build-up and decay, tooth structure weakening, and in severe cases, tooth loss.

    The fluoride in the toothpaste promotes remineralization when the paste has been rubbed around on all surfaces of all teeth in the entire mouth. This takes time so be sure you brush for at least 2-3 minutes.

    In addition, remember that flossing is essential and rounds out the 5 minutes each day to give you healthy, pain-free chewing for years and years to come.

    The Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA promotes dental health. Services include family and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia


    ArticleID 6935

    Been A While Since You Had Your Teeth Cleaned?

    Alexandria Tooth WhiteningAt the Center for Dental Anesthesia, we provide full service dentistry for patients in Alexandria and surrounding communities. Our team of skilled hygienists, dental assistants, and administrative staff help us to exceed our patients’ expectations. We understand the value of a healthy and beautiful smile.

    We are dedicated to providing each patient with personalized care in our technologically-advanced dental practice.

    If you were blessed with a pleasing smile, we can help you keep it that way with professional deep cleanings and thorough examinations. We set the standard for preventative family dentistry.

    If you were not blessed with a gorgeous smile, let’s talk about how we can improve it. Modern cosmetic dentistry provides a remedy for virtually every aesthetic problem.

    If it has been a while since you have received a professional dental cleaning, call us today to schedule a cleaning with one of our adept hygienists. We also offer special needs dentistry. The Center for Dental Anesthesia we’ll get you smiling again!

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia


    ArticleID 1467

    Dentistry and Down Syndrome

    People with Special Health Care Needs (SHCN) have to go to the dentist, just like anyone else. But they can have unique differences that require special attention. While not essential, SHCN patients as a group tend to do better with dentists who have had special training and are equipped to accommodate them, like the team at the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria.

    The term “Special Health Care Needs” is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and other professional associations. It refers to a group of physical, developmental, cognitive, and emotional conditions that require specialized services and programs. These conditions pose distinct challenges in life activities and personal care, such as oral health. People with SHCN are, all too often, at a greater risk for oral diseases. This is important, because good oral health is essential to a person’s overall health.[1]

    An estimated 36.3 million Americans are categorized SHCN, and about 12.5 million of them are children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This article focuses on people with Down syndrome, a congenital disorder that happens when someone has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. The National Down Syndrome Society says that about one of every seven hundred babies born in the United States each year has Down syndrome.[2]

    People with Down syndrome are, of course, susceptible to the same dental problems as the general population. Some research suggests they are less at risk for cavities. But they also tend to be at higher risk for certain conditions, like gum disease. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research states flatly that gum disease “is the most significant oral health problem in people with Down syndrome.”[3]

    My goal is to provide comprehensive
    quality care with a professional and
    personal touch.
    –Dr. Zeyad Mady, DDS, FAGD, FICOI

    Some readers may find these assertions surprising. The apparent low rates of tooth decay may, in fact, be misleading, according to Elizabeth S. Pilcher of the Medical University of South Carolina, who says the finding is based on older, flawed studies. “These groups may not have had the exposure to cariogenic foods at the rate of today’s children with Down syndrome who are growing up at home.”[4]

    Higher rates of gum disease, meanwhile, may be attributable to compromised immune systems. There is no consensus on this in the medical community, but people with Down syndrome may have higher rates of immune system abnormalities compared to the general population.[5]

    “Obviously, good home care is essential in the management of periodontal disease of this type,” notes Dr. Pilcher, who is both a dentist and the parent of a child with Down syndrome. “This may be difficult to achieve with the intellectual impairment and decreased manual dexterity seen in Down syndrome.” Using dental floss, for example, can be difficult, although floss holders can be helpful.[6]

    In addition to gum disease, dental issues in people with Down syndrome include:

    • Delayed eruption. Both baby teeth and adult teeth may come in later than in people without Down syndrome. (This may help to explain statistically lower rates of tooth decay.)
    • Malocclusion. This is a common condition, resulting from delayed eruption of permanent teeth, and underdevelopment of the jaws.
    • Small and missing teeth. People with Down syndrome often have smaller than average teeth. It is also common to have missing teeth (hypodontia).[7]


    The Dentist Appointment

    I believe that it is all about listening
    to the patient, knowing them and
    understanding their concerns.
    –Dr. Zeyad Mady, DDS, FAGD, FICOI

    It’s important for dentists treating patients with Down syndrome to establish a trusting relationship, especially in their younger patients. General dentists are advised, during appointments, to listen closely to their patients with Down syndrome, who may find speaking difficult. They should take care not to confuse underdeveloped language ability with intellectual impairment. “The patient with Down syndrome,” says Dr. Pilcher, “will probably understand more than their apparent level of verbal skills.”[8]

    People with Down syndrome tend to be well-behaved, although there are exceptions, as with any other identifiable group. But behavior management is not usually an issue in a general dentist’s office. Since they often have challenges that may compromise oral care, however, dentists should review the patient’s medical history beforehand. This includes consulting with physicians, family members, and caregivers to get an accurate medical history.[9]

    Ideally, a visit to the dentist is about the same for people with Down syndrome as it is for anyone else. “Most dental treatment for persons with Down syndrome can take place in a general dentist office with relatively minor adaptations,” says Dr. Pilcher. She says it really comes down to individual dentists, and his or her background and education. “In undergraduate dental training there is usually little or no exposure to treating patients with disabilities, and general practitioners may be hesitant to treat these patients with confidence.”[10]

    At the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, Dr. Zeyad Mady and Dr. James Geren have comprehensive training and expertise that equips them to treat patients with Special Health Care Needs. Dr. Mady says that successful treatment of special needs patients comes down to being a good listener. “It’s important to spend enough time with each patient to properly devise solutions that fit their desires,” he says. “My goal is to provide comprehensive quality care with a professional and personal touch.”

    The team at the Center for Dental Anesthesia has provided special needs dentistry for many years, and are proud to have earned the trust of countless patients and their families. “My deep appreciation for all you and your fine staff’s efforts in connection with my intellectually disabled adult daughter Danna’s recent experience at the Center for Dental Anesthesia,” said the father of one patient. “It was the first time Danna was being treated by both of you. I cannot say enough about how pleased I am with your efforts in Danna’s behalf.”[11]

    The Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria treats patients with many different special needs, including Down syndrome, diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, patients with medical problems like diabetes or cancer, and patients with dental anxiety and/or dental phobia. We also treat people who are otherwise healthy, but have a history of bad reactions to local anesthetics.


    Source Notes

    [1]      Guideline on Management of Dental Patients with Special Health Care Needs, http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_SHCN.pdf

    [2]      Down Syndrome Fact Sheet, https://www.ndss.org/about-down-syndrome/down-syndrome-facts/

    [3]      Gum disease, and quote: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/sites/default/files/2017-09/practical-oral-care-down-syndrome.pdf

    [4]      Pilcher, “Dental Care for the Patient with Down Syndrome,” https://library.down-syndrome.org/en-us/research-practice/05/3/dental-care-patient-down-syndrome/

    [5]      Cavities and gum disease: “Dental Issues & Down Syndrome,” https://www.ndss.org/resources/dental-issues-syndrome/ Immune system: “The Immune System in Down’s Syndrome” [sic], http://www.intellectualdisability.info/physical-health/articles/the-immune-system-in-downs-syndrome

    [6]      Pilcher.

    [7]      Dental Problems in People with Down’s Syndrome, http://www.intellectualdisability.info/physical-health/articles/dental-problems-in-people-with-downs-syndrome

    [8]      Pilcher, and “Practical Oral Care for People With Down Syndrome,” https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/sites/default/files/2017-09/practical-oral-care-down-syndrome.pdf

    [9]      “Practical Oral Care for People with Down Syndrome.”

    [10]     Pilcher.

    [11]     Patient review, https://snoozedentistry.net/reviews/

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia


    Do Veneers Make Teeth Look Bigger?

    northern Virgina cosmetic dental and tooth implants

    A well-designed porcelain veneer from the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria does not make your tooth look larger – unless you want it to.

    Porcelain veneers can correct many cosmetic dental problems, and are a minimally invasive restoration. During the placement of some veneers, an extremely thin layer of enamel is removed from the tooth.

    If you have teeth with damage, discoloration, an irregular shape or minimal to moderate misalignment, you have several dental remedies to choose from. Don’t worry if you feel that veneers seem to have more cons than pros for you. You have alternative options. We can analyze your smile, your needs, and your goals to develop a perfect plan.

    The Center for Dental Anesthesia offers the highest standard of dental care. In addition to porcelain veneers, we have a full range of cosmetic dentistry services. We also provide special needs dentistry. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

    Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


    Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

    5284 Dawes Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia


    ArticleID 6551


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