Dental Anxiety And Fear
The overwhelming fear of dental appointments can be a common cause of anxiety. Many people visualize a drill-wielding man in a white coat just waiting to cause pain and remove teeth. The reality, however, is very different. The comfort, relaxation, and happiness of the patient are the primary focus of any good dental practice. Our team will do whatever they can to reduce anxiety, allay fears, and provide painless, quick treatments.
Recent technological advancements have meant that in many cases, dentists are able to replace noisy drills with painless laser beams. There are also a wide variety of safe anesthetics available to eliminate pain and reduce anxiety during routine appointments.
Here is a list of some of the most common dental fears:
- Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth.
- Fear of gagging.
- Fear of injections.
- Fear of loss of control.
- Fear of not becoming numb when injected with Novocain.
- Fear of pain.
- Fear of the dentist as a person.
- Fear of the hand piece (or the drill).
How Can One Overcome Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming. It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the dental office at all because they are too afraid. Receiving regular dental check-ups and cleanings is incredibly important. Having regular routine check-ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.
Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:
Talk to us – We can’t read minds. Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, we can take extra precautions during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.
Bring a portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.
Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment and will continue with the procedure regardless. The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal. Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.
Spray the throat – Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex. Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.
Take a mirror – Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild. Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.
Sedation – Sedation offers a very safe, excellent option for many people. Our patients come to us saying things like, “I don’t want to hear anything”, or “wake me up when it’s over”, and many other concerns about the fears of treatment. There are several types of sedation, but the general premise…
Ask about alternatives – Advances in technology mean that a dental microsurgery is now an option. Lasers can be used to prepare teeth for fillings, whiten teeth, and remove staining. Discuss all the options with us and decide on one that is effective and produces minimal anxiety.
How can I get over my fear of dentistry?
Because we pride ourselves in taking care of people and listening well, our practice is full of patients who have avoided going to the dentist because of anxiety. On average around 20-30% of the patients we see for restorative care (fillings and other dental procedures) are IV sedated. It is very safe and reduces the physiologic stress that allows the patient to be “stress-free” while they sleep through the procedure. With time and relationship, many of these patients require less and less sedation as they experience exceptional care with sincere concerns for their well-being and comfort.
If you have questions or concerns about how we can help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact our office.