Are You A Nervous Dental Patient?

If you are, you are not alone. Our Epsom dental team offers helpful advice

nervousAsk most people what their biggest phobia is and going to see a dentist will be right up there, along with spiders and flying, for a great many of them. This is nothing new and even the significant advances that have been made in dental care over the years don’t seem to have changed this greatly. Despite this anxiety, most patients of the Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre acknowledge the importance of overcoming this sufficiently to ensure that they can maintain a healthy set of teeth and gums.

So, why are so many people afraid of the dentist and what can be done to help them overcome this, at least enough for them to receive essential treatment?

Modern dental care

The first thing to remember, and especially if you haven’t seen a dentist for a very long time, is that dentistry has changed. The improvements in the equipment means that many of the things you might remember from your childhood have changed beyond recognition. From the surroundings of the clinic itself to the refining and technological advances in equipment, your dental experience is likely to be far more comfortable than you might remember.

Having said that, the reality is that we do sometimes have to perform procedures on your teeth to ensure that they are maintained correctly. Although there might be some slight discomfort when we do so, we use a range of methods to help keep you as comfortable as possible during your treatment.

The ‘needle’

One of people’s biggest fears seems to be the ‘needle’. This has traditionally been used to apply a local anaesthetic into the area of the tooth when a filling or other invasive treatment is needed. The reality is that without the anaesthetic, it would be very painful indeed in many cases and would make the treatment almost impossible to do. This would result in the worsening of the condition of the tooth in question.

This problem has been the subject of a great deal of research over the years, especially as what is in effect such a minor part of any dental procedure can be a major factor in causing some anxious patients to cancel their appointment. The good news is that there is now a method that can often be used instead of a ‘needle’ to numb the area of your mouth where treatment is needed.

The Wand

We always attempts to purchase the best equipment for our patient’s benefit, and one such tool that we are fortunate to have at our Epsom practice is known as ‘The Wand’.  This is a pen-like implement which allows us to numb the area of the gum using a computer controlled delivery of a local anaesthetic. Most of our patients experience no pain when this is applied and this can really help them overcome their fear of visiting the dentist.

Other dental anxieties

Of course, it isn’t just the needle that people fear. There is no getting away from the fact that when you have a dental procedure, it can feel strange. Your oral cavity is in a part of the body that is very close to all the major senses such as taste, sight and sound. This can make even having a minor filling feel like quite an invasive experience. For many people it is often the fear of impending pain rather than any actual discomfort they feel. Despite the powerful local anaesthetics used these days, some patients get extremely tense when they hear the whirring of the drill.

There are a few ways that you can help yourself to relax before your appointment and these can help both the patient and the dentist, enabling you to have your treatment in a speedy and efficient manner. We will offer a few tips in just a moment but this is also an opportune time to remind patients who are very nervous, or are about to undergo a longer treatment such as dental implant placement, that we can also provide intravenous sedation. This won’t put you to sleep but will keep you very relaxed throughout your treatment. You will need to bring someone with you who can ensure that you get home safely though as the sedative will remain in your system for up to 24 hours and under no circumstances should you drive during this time.

Dental anxiety tips

Here are just a few tips that our team have suggested to help you feel less stressed about your upcoming appointment. Please remember that oral care is important and that any treatment will soon be over and you will be able to forget about it afterwards. Maybe also plan a ‘reward’ for yourself afterwards so that you have something to look forward to. Please don’t arrive too early at the dentist so that you have time for your imagination to start to run riot. Do make sure you allow enough time though as you may have a few forms to complete beforehand.

Please talk to your dentist about any worries that you have about your treatment. Trust us, you are far from alone in feeling like this and we have experience of helping patients feel more relaxed.

Try a few breathing exercises or relaxation techniques in the days leading up to your appointment and whilst these don’t work for everyone, you might find them useful.

If your anxiety is severe, don’t be afraid to call your dentist beforehand to discuss your options. You may also wish to consult your GP who may be able to prescribe something to keep you calm for your treatment.

Regular oral care is important whether it is a routine check up or restorative dental work and cancelling appointments because of your anxiety is only storing up more problems for the future. Please talk to us if you are nervous about your treatment and we will do all that we can to help you. Please call the Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre on 01372 720136.