Do you suffer from fear of the dentist?

Don’t worry you’re not alone, did you know one if four of us have a phobia of the dentist? A visit to the dentist is ranked in the top 5 things that people fear. Many people who have phobias of the dentist, most likely haven’t visited the dentist in many years, which means, taking a trip to see your dentist now, will be more bearable than you may think. A lot of people are put off by sounds in the dentist, smells and most commonly, feeling pain. But today’s dental equipment is much quieter, with new technology to make things a lot more laid back for the patient. Some people are needle phobic, which also ties in with dentistry of course, but now there is an option of using numbing gel before the injection, which numbs the gum to make the needle less sharp.

At this day and age, a lot of dentists are very understanding with fears and phobias, so they are well experienced in treating nervous patients, with the simplest things, such as reassuring the patient, creating a calm and relaxed atmosphere, letting them know what’s going on during treatment, plugging in headphones to their choice of music, or even watching films on long treatment appointments. Little things like these can make a huge difference to the patients confidence, and slowly but surely their fears will soon disappear. Dental surgeries are a lot more welcoming now, compared to how they used to be years ago. Patients are usually greeted with polite and happy staff, flowers around the practise and scented candles to take the dentist smell away. It’s generally a nice environment to be treated in.

Visiting the dentist is very important for your health. Teeth need to be checked at least once a year as an adult, too see if there are any cavity’s in your teeth, and to check around your mouth and soft tissues for signs of oral cancer. Remember, the earlier a diagnosis is treated, the less damage is caused to your tooth. If a decayed tooth has gone unnoticed and not checked by a dentist, if can cause a lot more problems further down the line than if treated when the cavity first started, so it is really important you do get them checked regularly, to prevent less work for yourself, shorter treatment times which is a benefit if you don’t like sitting in the chair, and may even be more cost effective. If a tooth is treated quickly at the first stages of decay, there is a very high chance it can be saved, but if left to get worse, you will end up needing root canal treatment, or even an extraction, which nobody wants.

There are other options for extremely nervous patients, such as having sedation at NHS clinics and private clinics. There are different types of sedation, depending on how nervous you are, and what you feel you can handle. The easiest type of sedation is called ‘oral sedation’. Oral sedation is a medicine which comes in either tablet form or a liquid, which you take prior you appointment, the night before and an hour before you’re the procedure, depending on what dose you was perscribed. This will relax you during your treatment. You are still conscious, but may feel a little drowsy. Secondly another type is called ‘Conscious Sedation’. Conscious sedation, also known as IV sedation, is a liquid which is placed in the back of your hand through a cunula. This will make you feel sleepy and unaware of what’s going on, you are still awake, but very much relaxed, you speech may become slurred and you may appear drunk like. The last option for sedation is general anaesthetic. General anaesthetic is rarely used these days, as there are other easier and safer options, but if it has to be used it can be arranged. General anaesthetic will make you totally unconscious of anything going on, and you will have no memory at all of your treatment. This can only be performed in hospitals and specialized clinics. This technique is performed by an injection or a face mask. For all three of these types of sedation, you will need to bring an escort along with you, as you will not be able to drive.

I think if you are nervous about visiting the dentist for the first time, you should pluck up the courage and go and check it out for yourself, before making any decisions about having sedation, as the first visit is usually simple examination of your mouth, there’s not a lot involved, other than checking all your teeth and possibly taking x-rays, so you can use this time to check out the practise and staff, and get a feel of the whole place, to see if you do feel relaxed, also take this time to talk to the dentist and staff about your concerns and fears, and maybe any previous bad experiences you have had, so they can put you at ease. Maybe even think about taking a friend with you, for moral support, also its best to book an early morning appointment if you’re nervous, to prevent yourself from worrying about it all day. I think by taking these simple steps, you will well be on your way to a fear free dental visit.

Here at Perfect Smile Spa, in Hornchurch Essex, we do offer oral sedation for treatment if you feel it’s needed, we have friendly, helpful and understanding staff to help you get through your visits, and eventually get over your dental phobia. Please give us a call for any information or queries you have, and we will be happy to help you.

Do you suffer from fear of the dentist? was last modified: July 2nd, 2018 by Dr Jas Sagoo

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