Ask Dr. Archer

“Ask Dr. Archer” is a chance for you to email me your dental questions. I'll be answering as many of your emails as possible, every Wednesday. Consider this Q&A feature as a way to relieve the anxiety and tension that you may experience when thinking about visiting the dentist, or other dental worries. You can also send me your questions on Twitter using the hastag #AskDrArcher or, if you need more than 140 characters, you can post your questions on our Facebook page.

Here's our very first round of questions:

Are you afraid of needles?Q: I'm petrified of needles. How do you deal with patients like me?

A: You're not alone if you suffer from this common "needles" worry. Over 20 million people are terrified of needles.

As trivial as needle phobia may seem, this is nothing that I take lightly. Aside from causing major stress and dental anxiety, fear of needles may prevent patients like yourself from seeking the medical and dental care you need.

I believe we all fear needles to some extent -- who wants to be poked with sharp pointy things?

As a dentist and one who has completed  education in conscious sedation dentistry, intravenous sedation, nitrous oxide dentistry and treated the most fearful in a specialty practice I  understand fearful patients and at our office we spend the time it takes to earn your trust and make your visit as positive, effective and pleasant as possible without significant or expensive interventions.  When booking your appointment and when we first meet please apprise of this so this can be easily noted in the chart and in this way we can  allot extra complimentary time to ensure you obtain the best chairside manner.  You may also want to consider speaking with your doctor about anti-anxiety medication. We can review this with you as well.

Knowing the true cause of your fear will make it easier for you to address your phobia and get the dental care you need, though it does take a lot of time, patience and courage to treat any phobia. I have built a practice of families and referrals of loved ones who have been so nervous to obtain any dental care.  We have made positive change in the dental visits of many nervous patients one patient at a time.  We  will take the time necessary to make your experience positive and effective and pleasant and affordable.

Q: My son just turned one, and he doesn't have any teeth yet. My friends daughter, at 6 months, already has two little front teeth blossoming. Should I be concerned?

A: Thank you for your first tooth question. Many of our patients are new or new-to-be parents and this is a popular question.  I have enclosed a chart for you to view with the pictures and this acts as a rough guide.

When Do Primary Teeth (Baby Teeth) Erupt?
Upper Teeth A - Central Incisors - 8-13 months B - Lateral Incisors - 8-13 months C - Canines (cuspids) -16-23 months D - First Molars - 13-19 months E - Second Molars - 25-33 months
Lower Teeth A - Central Incisors - 6-10 months B - Lateral Incisors - 10-16 months C - Canines (cuspids) - 16-23 months D - First Molars - 13-19 months E - Second Molars - 23-31 months

I'd say the sequence is more important than the actual timing.  Some children teeth earlier, some later.  If you are worried or thinking too much about teeth, feel free to bring your little one in for a quick peek-a-boo look even at your own examination and cleaning appointment for us to assess the gums for signs of tooth emergence.

Thank you for your submissions so far. Keep the questions coming!

Happy flossing!