Techniques to help nervous dental patients in Epsom, Surrey.
Dental phobia is very common. Recent research has shown that around 80% of Brits are scared of going to the dentist, with around a quarter having cancelled appointments for just this reason (reference 1).
For a significant number of people, their fear and phobias have meant that they have not seen a dentist in the last three years.
Visiting the dentist can be challenging, even for some dentists when they need treatment themselves; so no-one is really going to pretend that it is a fun thing to do. It is however, very necessary, not only for the sake of your teeth and gums, but with oral health issues increasingly being linked with serious medical problems, perhaps even for your life too.
We will take a look at other anxiety issues a little later, but, for now, let us focus on the needle. Some people are nervous of any type of injection, whilst others are generally fine where it is in the arm. When it comes to putting a needle into the gum though, we often see even the calmest patient start to tense as the needle gets close.
What may interest some of our patients to know is that you barely even feel the needle as it enters the gum. Any sensation should be little more than a pin prick. What patients actually feel when they think this is causing the pain, is when the injected anesthetic meets the bloodstream. Whilst this can feel unpleasant, it usually only lasts for a few seconds before the area becomes numb. It would also be impossible to perform most procedures without it.
As it is essential that the procedural area is numb in order for treatment to take place, we have spent a lot of time researching the best way to make this possible for our more anxious Epsom dental patients. To this end, we have invested in the INJEX system.
The INJEX system allows an anaesthetic to be delivered in a much more comfortable way. It does this via a ‘micro orifice’ that is less than a fifth of a millimetre in diameter, making it virtually painless. The quantity of anaesthetic needed is generally lower than that of a conventional needle and the effect takes place quicker too.
Not only is this system an excellent solution for nervous adults, it is ideal for use with children too, and can make any treatment that they need to receive, much more pleasent.
Other solutions for nervous patients
Bearing in mind the importance of healthy teeth and gums, it is worth nervous dental patients looking into ways of reducing their levels of anxiety prior to attending The Clock Tower Dental Clinic. Although our experienced and friendly dentists will do all that they can to help you to relax, you may also wish to consider the following, or other similar solutions.
Relaxation and breathing techniques
There are lots of these to choose from on YouTube and similar places. It may take a little while, but if you can find one that works for you, this will help you to manage any anxiety you may start to feel as a dental appointment approaches.
There are many who claim this doesn’t work, but for some patients it does seem to be effective. It may depend on the individual, but it is worth looking into for some.
Aromatherapy and your home
Aromatherapy is a long standing ‘alternative’ practice. Even the more skeptical of our patients may find that even if they believe it has no direct effect, a pleasant aroma in their home can be quite relaxing. Taking a look at your own home may also help as an untidy home may be causing undue anxiety. Even if you have children, try to create an uncluttered space where you can go to relax.
Finally, for patients who suffer from very high levels of dental anxiety, sedation is an option. We are pleased to have a fully qualified anaesthetist, Dr Joe Omar, on our staff.
Sedation enables even the most nervous dental patient to have the treatment that they need. It also helps patients to know that they can have the procedure with less stress and are therefore much less likely to cancel an appointment. At the end of the day, if you cancel a treatment appointment, the problem is not going to go away. You may well end up in significant pain and, despite your anxiety, calling us for an emergency appointment. Clearly this is something to be avoided if you can!
Even if you do not suffer from anxiety, you may wish to consider sedation where a lengthier treatment, such as dental implant placement, is due to take please. We are always pleased to discuss this option with you.
Fear of the dentist can have a significant negative impact on your oral health, and perhaps general health too. We are a very understanding practice and always happy to discuss your anxiety to find the best way forward to help you receive regular dental care.
If you live in the Epsom area, and dread your visit to the dentist, why not come and talk to us to see how we can help you? Please call The Clock Tower Dental Clinic today on 01372 720136.