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Really, the dentist is not that scary!
We are all afraid of something, and for some of us that fear gets activated the moment we think about booking a dental appointment.
Whether dental anxiety manifests itself as mild stress or debilitating dental phobia (resulting in complete avoidance of the dentist), there are ways to alleviate this problem.
One of the best ways to do this is to talk to your dentist about your anxiety. When dentists understand your concerns they can do their best to address them and to make sure you feel comfortable during your dental check up or procedure.
We understand a dental appointment can feel scary
We get it. Some people have had unpleasant experiences at the dentist as children and it has left them with permanent dental anxiety. Others have experienced past traumas including sexual assault, and being asked to put themselves in a vulnerable situation where they can’t talk or move can provoke immense anxiety and distress. This means many trauma survivors simply avoid dentists completely, resulting in potentially serious dental problems down the track.
For many young children also the fear of the unknown can make the dental clinic a very scary place. There’s the whining drill, the possibility of pain or discomfort, the bright lights and the unfamiliar smells resulting from common chemicals and compounds dentists use for treatment.
All the above factors mean there’s a large group of patients that we treat who are really struggling to even make it into the surgery.
But there’s no need to be scared of your dentist!
If you talk to your dentist about your anxiety and they dismiss your concerns outright, find a new dentist straight away. Good dentists are committed to patient care; they want to establish a trusting relationship with you and will listen to your concerns. They don’t want an anxious patient in the chair; a.) It makes their job more challenging and b.) It means you’re less likely to undertake the dental visits required to take the best care of your teeth.
A good dentist should be willing to schedule patients to visit the clinic before the day of their appointment so they can meet the staff and get a sense of how the clinic operates. This helps to reduce anxiety and can be very effective for children with anxiety.
A good dentist should also explain the procedure step-by-step so the patient knows what’s happening.
If you or your child has dental anxiety or phobia, and your dentist is not willing to work with you to make you feel comfortable, you would be best placed to choose another dentist. If you’re scared of the dentist it may just be you are seeing a dentist who is not right for you.
Have you heard about happy gas?
For some people, their dental anxiety is such that nitrous oxide or laughing gas may be a good solution. The inhalation of nitrous oxide does not render you unconscious; it just helps you to relax. It works very quickly and has no lingering effects, meaning after a short recovery time patients are fine to drive.
Contact our friendly team to discuss any concerns you have about going to the dentist.