TIP OF THE WEEK

Few Americans relish going to the dentist, but nearly half of Americans experience at least a moderate level of fear of dentists, the American Psychological Association notes. Fear keeps 5 to 10 percent of adults out of the dentist’s chair altogether, the APA says. If the prospect of sitting in a dentist’s chair is too much for you to bear, the American Dental Association suggests some coping strategies:

— Be honest with your dentist and his or her staff about your fear. Share bad past dental experiences that have contributed to your anxiety.

— Agree on a signal that you can use if you need a break.

— Don’t be embarrassed about your pain tolerance; if something hurts, speak up right away.

— If the sound of the drill bothers you, wear headphones and listen to music or an audio book.

— Use meditation techniques like visualization and breathing exercises to help calm yourself.

MEDICATION

Important facts about generic medications

If your doctor or pharmacist has suggested replacing your brand-name medication with generics in order to save money, here are some important facts you should know about generic medications. According to the Food and Drug Administration, in order to be approved for use, generics must:

— Work in the body the same way the brand-name medicine does.

— Match the brand-name drug’s dosage, safety, effectiveness, strength, stability and quality.

— Use the same active ingredients.

— Be taken the same way the brand-name medicine is taken.

— Be prescribed for the same conditions the brand name is prescribed for.

— Last for the same amount of time as its brand-name counterpart.

— Undergo a rigorous review by the FDA Generic Drugs Program.

Generic drugs cost, on average, about a quarter of the price of brand-name medicines, according to the nonprofit pharmacy RX Outreach.

KIDS’ HEALTH

What new parents should know about newborn screenings

New parents find great joy in hearing their newborn’s first cry and counting all 10 precious fingers and toes. However, fully assessing a new baby’s health requires a number of medical screenings.

According to Babysfirsttest.org, each state decides the health conditions it will screen newborns for, and you can find state-by-state information on the website. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends states screen all newborns for 34 different conditions, including cystic fibrosis, hearing loss, severe combined immunodeficiencies and sickle cell anemia.

While newborn screenings can’t diagnose a problem, they can give parents and doctors the chance to detect and address a possible problem right away — before the baby even leaves the hospital. What’s more, while most babies will undergo screening, just 5,000 or so of the 4 million infants born in the U.S. each year will have a positive screening result, Babysfirsttest.org reports.

OPIOIDS

Young adults seek opioid alternatives for pain relief

While opioids remain the popular course of pain relief following wisdom tooth extraction, many oral surgery patients are becoming interested in non-opioid options.

New research from Nielsen’s Harris Poll Online finds that 90 percent of oral surgery patients or their caregivers who responded to the survey said they experienced side effects after taking opioids, such as nausea, vomiting and confusion. However, the same study found 70 percent of oral surgery patients would choose a non-opioid medication for pain if they were given the choice and 80 percent would do so even if the non-opioid option costed more.

Discussing pain management options — including non-opioid options and long-acting local anesthetics — with your oral surgeon remains the most effective way to feel comfortable both at the moment of the procedure and along the recovery. For a list of questions you can ask prior to surgery, visit www.oralsurgeryprep.com.

— Brandpoint