Justin K. Hillock D.D.S.: Tips for People Who Fear Dentists

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

As a busy dentist who maintains dual practices at Guthrie Center Family Dentistry and Coon Rapids Family Dentistry in Iowa, Justin K. Hillock, D.D.S. frequently works with fearful patients. Many individuals experience anxiety about visiting the dentist, and in some cases the phobia becomes so extreme people avoid seeking appropriate dental care. Fearful dental patients typically fall into one of three categories:

1. Patients with dental anxiety fear the unknown, and are often anxious about the pain associated with an unfamiliar procedure.

2. Patients with dental fear react to a known stimulus. In other words, they have had the same procedure previously, know what it entails, and still reasonably or unreasonably dread it.

3. Patients with dental phobia experience extreme anxiety when confronted with the idea of dental care. They may recognize that the fear is irrational, but it persists, and they avoid any stimulus that makes them think about visiting the dentist.

Dr. Hillock understands the roots of fearful attitudes, and he works with patients in his office experiencing symptoms that fall across the spectrum of anxiety, fear, and phobia. He offers the following tips for overcoming these conditions:

1. Find a dentist who makes you feel comfortable.

2. Make your first appointment a simple consultation. Share your concerns with the doctor and his or her staff.

3. Look at all of the equipment the dentist or hygienist will use during your visit; ask how it works.

4. Schedule your first treatment appointment as just a cleaning.

5. Take music with you and listen to it during any procedures.

6. Discuss the option of receiving intravenous sedation.

7. Learn relaxation techniques to help during stressful situations.

8. Seek psychological help if your anxiety becomes a full-blown phobia.


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How Dentists Fill A Cavity, Part 2, by Justin K. Hillock, D.D.S.

March 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Complex amalgam

In the first part of my discussion, I described how dentists identify cavities and some of the choices available for drilling out the decayed part of the tooth. In this second installment, we will take a look at the filling materials available for teeth. Patients today have several choices for filling materials, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

One of the most cost-effective filling choices is silver amalgam. Lasting at least 10 years, silver fillings do not need to be replaced very often, and they have the strength to withstand regular chewing. Silver amalgam also costs much less than other filling choices, so it is an affordable option.

Silver isn’t the best choice for everyone, however. For one thing, many people do not like the way silver fillings look in their mouths. On a structural level, silver fillings also cause some complications. A fairly large area of tooth needs to be removed in order to insert a silver filling, which may mean destroying some healthy tooth material. In addition, silver reacts to hot and cold differently than your teeth. As the materials expand and contract at different rates, the filling may eventually put stress on the tooth and cause cracks.

For patients who prefer metal fillings but don’t want silver, gold amalgam may be a better choice. Gold lasts as long as silver and is strong enough for regular chewing. That said, gold fillings cost up to 10 times more than other options, and they require multiple visits to be installed. In addition, if gold fillings are placed too closely to silver fillings, they will create an electric current, called galvanic shock, which can be painful.

Many patients choose composite resin fillings, which are made of glass, plastic, and ceramics. These fillings can be custom-shaded to match the patient’s natural tooth color, and the material is designed to bond well to teeth, making it less likely to come out accidentally. This bonding quality also allows the dentist to drill a smaller hole, saving more of the natural tooth.

Unfortunately, composite resin fillings wear out more quickly than metal amalgam fillings, usually after about five years. They also usually cost more than silver amalgam fillings, and they chip much more easily.

The choice of filling material should be discussed with your dentist before undergoing the procedure. Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to all materials, and you should choose the type that fits your needs and lifestyle.

Justin K. Hillock, D.D.S., practices at Coon Rapids Family Dentistry and Guthrie Center Family Dentistry, both in Iowa. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.

How Dentists Fill A Cavity, Part 1, by Justin K. Hillock, D.D.S.

March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Dental office

Cavities, or more correctly, dental caries, form the most common disease discovered and treated at the dentist’s office. A dental caries is simply an area of tooth that has decayed, as a result of acid created by bacteria in the mouth. Caries can be exceptionally painful if left untreated, and they can also lead to tooth loss and further, more serious health complications later on.

The standard diagnostic procedure for identifying cavities involves the use of a visual examination, x-rays, and tactile evaluation with a probe. The dentist pokes at the teeth with the probe to identify damaged areas, which may be indicated by pits, softer tissue, or discoloration.

Most of the time, the treatment for a cavity involves filling the tooth’s eroded area. First, the dentist numbs the area of the mouth using a local anesthesia such as Novocain. The numbing is not medically necessary but it makes the procedure much more comfortable for the patient.

Next, the dentist will remove the decayed area of the tooth with a drill. A number of drill types are available to patients today, and dentists employ the tools they are more comfortable with and are most appropriate to the job.

Traditional rotary dental drills (called handpieces by dentists) may be air-driven or electric, and they are outfitted with specialized burs, made either of tungsten carbide, diamond, or stainless steel. Most dentists also employ a stream of water and suction along with these drills in order to keep the tooth cool and to remove debris, respectively. The dental laser forms an alternative to the rotary drill. Many types of laser drills now exist, and dentists will choose specific bandwidths for the types of tissue being drilled.

Both rotary drills and lasers have advantages and disadvantages. A rotary drill in many cases allows the dentist to make a more precise excavation of decayed tooth tissues. The goal in filling a cavity is to preserve as much of the tooth as possible, but if any decay remains after it is filled, the cavity may continue to fester within the tooth, causing further problems.

Using a rotary drill, dentists judge the depth that they need to go by feel; diseased tooth reacts differently to the drill than healthy tooth. With a laser, this isn’t possible. However, one of the advantages of a laser drill is the ability to sterilize the tooth as it is drilled. Therefore, absolute precision becomes less of an issue. In addition, laser dentistry can be performed without anesthesia, as the laser doesn’t cause any pain. This is a major bonus for many patients.

In the next installment of my discussion on filling cavities, I will discuss types of fillers. Stay tuned!

Justin K. Hillock, D.D.S., practices general dentistry in Guthrie Center, Iowa. Dr. Justin Hillock also belongs to the local chamber of commerce.

Dr. Justin Hillock: Rotary International

March 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Justin Hillock, DDS, operates a thriving Iowa-based family dental practice. Additionally, he devotes himself to a number of philanthropic projects and community-oriented organizations. Among them, he maintains membership in the local chapter of Rotary International.

The first of its kind, Rotary International remains a premiere international service organization. Rotary International comprises a host of smaller, local chapters, known generally as clubs. Rotary International presently boasts approximately 33,000 such clubs across the globe. Commanding the motto, “Service Above Self,” Rotary International holds that “they profit most who serve best.”

Ideal service toward deserving local initiatives remains the principal objective of Rotary International. Toward this end, members of the Rotary strive to develop positive relationships and to seek out ongoing opportunities to spread a message of peace, reduce hunger, promote education and professional development, as well as teach communities about better health and sanitation. One of Rotary’s largest campaigns is to eliminate polio. Rotary International also maintains an impeccable code of ethics and holds that the Rotarian ideal serves as an effective model toward a variety of endeavors, including professional, personal, and community-oriented activities.

Through these initiatives, Rotary actively encourages the progress of international fellowship toward peace, understanding, and prosperity for all. Rotary International presently boasts more than 1.2 million members worldwide. A not-for-profit organization, Rotary International embraces all races, creeds, and cultures, and maintains no religious or political requirements or affiliations. Members of Rotary clubs are commonly known as Rotarians.

Initiated in Chicago, Rotary held its first meeting in 1905 and the organizations’ popularity spread rapidly. Less than 10 years later, Rotary boasted chapters on both U.S. coasts, and the organization had already made its way to Canada. Rotary reached all inhabitable continents by 1921, and in 1922 officially took the name Rotary International. The name of the organization originally derived from the early nature of the group, which would regularly rotate the locations of its meetings between member homes or offices.

Boy Scouts of America

February 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

An accomplished Dentist and graduate of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, Dr. Justin Hillock served as a Member of Boy Scouts of America. Founded in 1910 as part of the international scout movement, Boy Scouts of America initially set out to teach young boys how to become constructive members of society. Since its inception, Boy Scouts of America has counted more than 110 million Americans among its membership.

According to the mission statement, the Boy Scouts of America seeks to educate young people in character development, self-reliance, and responsible citizenship by organizing a wide variety of outdoor activities and educational programming. For older members, Boy Scouts of America partners with a number of community organizations to provide career guidance and mentoring services. Younger members of Boy Scouts of America can participate in several outdoor activities to build values of good citizenship, trust, and other skills.

During the early years, Boy Scouts of America sought to instill values of patriotism and individualism in young men drawn to big cities during the progressive movement. Alongside organizations such as the YMCA, Boy Scouts of America placed an emphasis on social welfare and religious, mental, physical, and social development. The early Boy Scouts of America also drew upon membership from the Woodcraft Indians and the Sons of Daniel Boone, two similar organizations that later merged with Boy Scouts of America.

Membership in Boy Scouts of America generally falls into three categories according to age. Cub Scouting, designed for boys between first and fifth grade, seeks to instill values of character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Boys between the ages of 10.5 and 18 can participate in Boy Scouting, which draws upon camping, aquatics, and camping to develop good character and citizenship. Venturing, available to men and women between the ages of 13 and 21, consists of a wide variety of tangential programs such as Sea Scouts and Air Explorers. Through the Venturing Program, young men and women learn values, which can help them become mature, responsible adults.

Justin Hillock DDS’ Blog

September 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog