Here, we are looking at ways we help patients who suffer with dental anxiety or phobia. This is a really common issue for a many people, which is worrying because it can prevent people from attending the dentist, which can lead to many major oral health problems. We are proud to say that our practice is dental phobia certified, which means we are proven to provide a range of dedicated treatments for dental phobics, and are up to date with the current professional training and latest technologies regarding these treatments. We will now answer some of the questions that people often ask us about dental phobia. The answers to these questions can also be viewed in a video by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbI6wdkxgWw
Why do I suffer with dental anxiety?
You may be able to pinpoint a specific reason why visits to the dentist make you anxious. However, you may be unsure of why you have these feelings when attending dental appointments. There are many different reasons why people suffer from dental phobia. Some people had a bad experience with the dentist as a child, and are still put off visiting their dentist when they are grown up. Others are put off by what they think of as horror stories from friends or colleagues, and are unwilling to put themselves through this. For other people the lack of control that they experience whilst visiting the dentist puts them off. They feel that they are helpless and can do nothing to stop the dentist doing what they wish whilst carrying out surgery. To try to combat this our dentists always talk to their patients during the procedure, to let them know exactly what they are doing, and why. We find this really helps to put all patients at ease.
What should I do if I’m so nervous about attending dental appointments that I simply cannot go, and haven’t been for many years?
The worst thing that you could do would be to avoid or just stop visiting the dentist, as this can lead to severe oral health problems and result in lengthy and potentially painful and expensive surgery. The longer you leave dental issues, the worse they will get and the more invasive treatment you’ll need to have. This may also lead to you losing teeth, which is never good. We always encourage our patients to talk to us about their anxiety and worries, and welcome prospective patients to visit the practice beforehand, meet the dentist, and talk to them about the procedure and get a feel for the dental surgery.
What can you do to help me relax during my treatment?
We encourage our patients to let us know straight away if they are nervous about their procedure, and we will do whatever we can help make the patient feel relaxed. We can play soothing, relaxing music to help put our patients at ease whilst they are receiving treatment, or they can pick whatever music they like that makes them feel better! We laos have TV screens on the ceiling above the chair so our patients can watch something of their choice to take their minds off the procedure. We will also talk to our patients every step of the way, if that helps, to try and take their mind off their surgery, and inform them in detail about everything that is happening. We also let our patients take as many breaks as possible during their treatments. They just need to raise their hand to let us know if they need a break.
What if I take up too much of the dentist’s time if I’m nervous during my appointment?
We are more than used to treating patients who suffer from dental phobia and are trained to help you. We are more than happy to help, but it is important to let us know that you are apprehensive so we can prepare for your visit. We have treated many, many patients who are nervous about visiting us, and you will be no where near the worst that we have encountered. No matter how much inconvenience you think you may be causing the dentist, it is important to remember that your oral health comes first, and that he or she is trained to help patients feel comfortable during dental procedures. The dentist will in n o way feel that the patient is causing them any inconvenience or wasting their time, they’re just doing their job. You should never be embarrassed about suffering from dental phobia, and should never let it put you off attending your appointment s. We would rather spend more time with you than see your oral health suffer.
I’ve had really bad experiences with dentists in the past- how can you assure me this won’t happen at your practice?
At this practice, all of our dentists are trained in the gentle dentistry approach. They have access to a vast amount of training and knowledge about how to treat patients who are anxious about pain or phobic about dentistry. They are fully equipped and able to employ sophisticated behavioural management techniques, which help our patients to relax. All of our dentists are highly skilled and completely sensitive to how their patients are feeling. They are able to adjust their own behaviour and approach to suit different patients and put them at ease. If for example, you need injections, the less tension in your body then the easier and less painful those injections will be. So, our primary goal first and foremost is to make our patients feel welcome, calm and relaxed as soon as they walk through the door. Therefore we have made our practice wonderfully welcoming. Our staff will always greet you with a smile and we even have a massage chair in the Reception area to make patients feel more relaxed while they are waiting for their treatment. We also offer hot and cold drinks and have a wealth of literature available for our patients to browse while they are waiting. All of this helps an anxious patient to take their mind off thinking about what will be happening next. If patients are so anxious they don’t like to wait in the waiting area then they can request to be brought straight through to the surgery. Whatever the request to help ease the anxiety we will fulfil it, and ensure that none of our patients have any bad experiences with us.
I’m really scared that the treatment will be painful. Can you do anything which will make it less painful?
The first thing we can do is apply a ‘Numbing Gel’ which is basically just Topical Anaesthesia. If you are phobic about dental pain, about needles or about injection, the dentist can apply numbing gel to your gums before the injection. This helps to reduce the pain of the needle as it enters the tissue. the numbing gel helps patients to relax and feel more comfortable about facing a needle – as well as removing any pain. We also offer the dental wand, which offers a pain free injection of local anaesthetic.
A lot of fear about the dentist stems from a fear of needles so we find that if we offer a pain free injection, this puts many people at ease. The flow of anaesthetic in the wand is computer-controlled, and The Wand is the handpiece that holds the needle. Operating together, they remove the possibility of the injection being delivered accidentally fast, which is what causes the pain when an injection is delivered. To find out more about the dental wand, visit this page https://www.cheadlehulmedental.com/our-technology/
7. Can I be sedated for my treatment to help with my dental anxiety?
We do offer sedation dentistry here at the practice, which uses medication to put the patient in a very relaxed, dreamlike state whilst having surgery carried out. This means that the patient does not feel the stress and anxiety that they may usually feel prior to visiting the dentist and the dental procedure taking place. For the dentist, sedation means that surgery is easier to perform, and that more surgery can be performed in one session, reducing the number of sessions needed to carry out a course of treatment. Sedation Dentistry is an ideal solution for those of us who suffer from dental phobia. It is used here reglarly to perform dental surgery on patients in a stress and worry free way, and helps many patients overcome their fear of visiting the dentist.
Sedation dentistry comes in many forms, including oral sedation, inhalation sedation, and intravenous sedation. It is important for you to remember that sedation does not simply mean put to sleep, this is only part of it. Sedation techniques will make you feel drowsy, but are different from general anaesthesia, which puts you into a deep state of sleep, and has side effects which may last for hours after the surgery. Whilst sedation dentistry is a fantastic solution for many sufferers, not everybody is suited to it. Those who are already taking some sort of medication must alert their dentist before accepting oral sedatives, as well as those who have a history of allergic reactions to medication. We would need to examine your full medical history before we could offer you sedation, and there is an additional charge for this treatment too.
For further information about sedation dentistry at the practice, follow this link https://www.cheadlehulmedental.com/treatment/dental-sedation-manchester.html
8. The sound and feel of the drill brings on my dental anxiety, is there an alternative to this?
Many people can’t think of the dentist without imagining the sound of the dental drill. That’s because whether preparing a tooth for a dental crown, removing cavities or performing root canal therapy, dentists have relied on this time-tested technology for years. However, modern dentists such as the dentists here also have a newer option for removing portions of the tooth structure without that familiar noise of a drill: air abrasion. Patients who feel some level of dental anxiety at the thought of a traditional drill may be pleasantly surprised to discover that air abrasion, an alternative to drills, is available for many procedures. Compared with the traditional drilling method, the advantages of air abrasion are many and include the following:
- Air abrasion generates no heat, pressure, or vibration.
- It sometimes reduces the need for anaesthesia, particularly if the cavity (hole in the tooth) is shallow.
- The procedure is relatively simple, although it may take longer than traditional drilling.
- Air abrasion is not necessarily completely free of pain. The air and abrasive particles can cause sensitivity.
- Air abrasion is not recommended for deep cavities (those close to the tooth’s pulp) or for cavities in between teeth. It is best suited for removing small cavities that form early on the outer or chewing surface of teeth.
- If hard enamel needs to be removed to access the decay, this cannot be done with air abrasion and a traditional drill must be used. Once access to the decay has been achieved, air abrasion can then be used.
- Crowns, onlays, and inlays cannot be prepared using air abrasion. So therefore, it cannot be used for all treatments
9. How can I overcome my dental anxiety?
A survey by the British Dental Association shows us that 25% of people suffer from anxiety before visiting the dentist. This means then, that 25% of the British population must either try their best to cope with their dental phobia, or risk their oral health by not visiting the dentist at all, which could lead to long term serious health problems and result in lengthy and expensive surgery. That’s why we do everything we can to make our patients feel at ease and reduce dental phobia as much a possible. However, if you are still suffering more than you’d like, or are wanting a more long term solution there are a couple of things you can try:
- Hypnotherapy- Although hypnotherapy is more effective for some people than others, it can be a great way to treat dental anxiety. You are safe in the knowledge that you cannot be made to do anything against your wishes whilst hypnotised, and you can relax knowing that this technique does not involve taking any medication.
- Counselling- sitting down and talking to somebody face to face about your fear. You could try to talk about why you have this fear, perhaps events in the past that have triggered it, and learn to accept your fear and face it gradually, to try and see things in a more positive light. Counselling helps people from all over the world overcome all sorts of different fears, and is proven to be a very effective way of overcoming a phobia.
- Fear of visiting the dentist is a completely understandable human emotion, and affects many people in varying degrees around the world. Often the best way to overcome this fear is to think about where it originated from and to confront it. Some people suffer because of a previous bad and painful experience at the dentist, and are anxious about repeating the experience. Many others may have heard horror stories from friends or colleagues or fear the lack of control that they will have during their treatment, and are put off because of this. But it is absolutely vital to remember that you are not alone, dental phobia is extremely common across all kinds of people, male or female, young or old.
- Whatever treatment you may decide upon, It is crucial to talk to the dentist beforehand and explain exactly how you feel, they are trained to deal with nervous patients and will be more than happy to help you. Please, please whatever you do, do not let dental phobia stop you from visiting the dentist as this will result in your oral health suffering, and could also lead to much more lengthy and painful treatment than you avoided in the first place.
Our practice couldn’t be further from the traditional dentists from years ago. We are a completely modern practice that tries really hard to eliminate the smells and stigma attached to old school dentistry. Modern dentistry is completely different to what it was years ago, and dentists are now so much more aware of the needs and feelings of their patients these days. We totally embrace this ethos and the happiness and well being of our patients is at the heart of everything we do. We do everything in our power to make our patients feel comfortable and cared for and encourage them to talk to us openly about any concerns or apprehensions they may have. We like to think that every patient that comes to us feels relaxed and extremely well looked after.
This site is really useful for finding out more about dental anxiety https://www.dentalphobia.co.uk/