Over 75% of all adults experience some form of dental anxiety or fear, but here at Dr. Carol E. Follette’s Santa Monica dental office, we think it’s worth asking whether those fears are justified. Sure, if patients were traveling back in time 200 years to have a sore tooth extracted, we’d understand the fear of pain, but in the 21st Century, our profession has changed so much that pain is hardly the concern it was centuries or even decades ago.


Still, we know that simply saying that pain management and prevention have improved won’t be enough to persuade many people who are feeling anxious about visiting the dentist. Knowing this, we’ve put together this list of pre-dentist activities that can help ease dental fears ahead of an appointment.


We want you to be calm and comfortable before, during, and after your visit to Dr. Follette’s office, and the following are few things you can do to help ensure that happens:


#1 Talk About It (With Your Dentist)


The best way to get through your fears and anxieties is to talk them through with your dentist. Chances are, you’ve built up something to be much worse in your head, and your dentist can help you understand the truth of a procedure. Knowing what’s coming and preparing for it creates much less anxiety than imagining something much worse than it is. Talk through your fears, and it can help you get past them!


#2 Distract Yourself


There are ways to distract yourself during a procedure, such as wearing earbuds to listen to music. For some people, it’s the sound of dental instruments that are stressful, so blocking them out can help you get past what may be the toughest part of any noisy procedure.


#3 Use Mindful Relaxation Techniques


It may sound cheesy, but meditating before a dental appointment or procedure, including relaxation and deep breathing techniques, can do wonders for your physical and mental state. During the procedure, keep taking deep breaths and try to stay calm.


#4 Don’t Skip Appointments


It may sound counterintuitive to visit the dentist more often to avoid dealing with dental anxiety, but visiting the dentist regularly lowers your risk of needing any major dental work done in the first place. If you can just visit Dr. Follette’s office for regular cleanings, you’ll have fewer cavities, less gum disease, and a lower risk for major dental problems. If the major procedures are what scare you, seeing your dentist every six months is the best way to make sure those major procedures aren’t necessary in the first place.


Choosing the Right Dentist for Dental Anxiety Concerns


Of course, choosing the right Santa Monica mercury-free dentist can go a long way toward nipping those anxieties in the bud, too. Dr. Follette wants to make sure you’re comfortable and calm during your doctor appointments, and she and her staff will do everything they can to be sure that’s the case. If you have any questions about anything, never hesitate to call the office and talk through your concerns.


And please trust us that dentistry is not what it was in the old days! It is a much smoother, much more comfortable experience than it once was. Dr. Follette and her staff have made sure of that.




Gum Disease and Your Health in Santa Monica


We most closely associate dentists with our teeth, but the fact is that a good portion of what we do here at Dr. Carol E. Follette’s office pertains to keeping the gums healthy, too. In fact, periodontal (gum) disease can cause significant health issues if left unaddressed, though a visit to your Santa Monica, CA dental office to address problems as they arise is a great way to help keep those health issues from arising.

What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease amounts to an infection of the gum tissues that hold teeth in place. It most often occurs due to poor oral hygiene habits, as brushing and flossing twice per day are considered the best defense against gum disease. The main cause of gum disease is a buildup and hardening of plaque on the teeth, especially near the gumline, and it can lead to sore, bleeding gums, issues with chewing, and in the worst cases, the loss of teeth.

Signs of Gum Disease

What are some of the indicators that you may be dealing with periodontal disease? Symptoms include:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Pain while chewing
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums that make the teeth appear longer than they should

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it’s possible you could have at least some mild periodontitis.

What Other Health Problems Can Arise from Gum Disease?

An increasing number of studies have proven that periodontal disease has a clear correlation to other, non-oral health problems. Some of these include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Dementia
  • Premature birth and low birth weight (for pregnant women)

Why do these correlations exist? According to WebMD, there isn’t a clear answer, but the best guess has something to do with the bacteria that builds up in the gums and slowly escapes into the bloodstream, where it does more widespread damage.

In these studies, the most common symptom is gum inflammation, most notably in heart disease and arthritis. In short, taking better care of your gums could mean you stay healthy in ways that have seemingly nothing to do with your teeth.

What Dr. Carole E. Follette Can Do to Help

If you are diagnosed with gum disease, what options are available to you? Well, if the symptoms are not severe, Dr. Follette will most likely encourage a more regimented brushing and flossing routine. Often, regular brushing and flossing can alleviate minor symptoms.

In cases that are more severe, however, some dental intervention may be necessary. For starters, Dr. Follette is a certified Santa Monica laser periodontal dentist, which means she can use innovative, non-surgical periodontal treatment options to improve gum disease symptoms. Laser therapy can eliminate harmful bacteria while also strengthening gum tissue regeneration. It’s a great way to get your gums in better shape before the worst symptoms can set in.

If you think you may be experiencing gum disease and would like a consultation to discuss laser therapy or other options, simply contact Dr. Follette’s office and we’ll get you back on track to having healthy gums and an overall healthier you!


It seems like every year, around this time, our kitchens, and, frankly, our lives are flooded with candies, cookies, and indulgent drinks. And for that reason, the fun and festive holiday season can seem downright scary when it comes to maintaining oral health. Keep reading to learn more from our Santa Monica dentists about protecting your smile during the holidays…

Be Aware Of Problem Ingredients

Sometimes it seems impossible to avoid all of the sugary treats that seem ubiquitous during the holidays. Whether it’s candy, cookies, cake, or sweet sips like cocoa, the oral bacteria in your mouth are able to use the sugars and refined carbohydrates that you consume as fuel to flourish. That is why it is so important to be mindful about the sugar you are consuming. Keep in mind also that acidic substances make dental enamel temporarily more porous than usual, so your teeth are at greater risk for about 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure. 

Rinse On A Regular Basis

If you want to make it more difficult for oral bacteria to flourish, try to get into the habit of rinsing your smile with water throughout the day. Thoroughly rinsing your smile clears away oral bacteria and food particles, which may otherwise cause unpleasant odors. Plus, every time that you rinse your mouth, you encourage healthy saliva production, which further neutralizes oral bacteria.

Indulge Thoughtfully

As you might imagine, continuously indulging in sugary and acidic holiday treats is pretty bad for your smile. Now is the time to boost your oral health by planning a specific time of day during which you will consume sugary and acidic substances. By being thoughtful and strategic about your consumption, and limiting it to one portion of the day, you decrease the number of hours available for oral bacteria to feed on the sugars in your mouth.

As always our Santa Monica dentist is here to answer all of your questions, and to help you schedule a personal consultation. The best way to get in touch is to give us a call or use the Contact Us page on our website!