Dental Fear & Anxiety – How Barrie Dentist Can Help
It’s completely normal to feel some level of apprehension toward dental appointments and, more specifically, dental work being performed in your mouth. This fear could stem from a prior negative experience, apprehension due to financial concerns associated with treatment costs, or could be a product of general anxiety toward medical treatments. Ultimately, it’s very common and most patients can overcome their fear of the dental chair with a little work.
Very few people look forward to their next dental appointment. Even if you like your dentist, it’s not exactly a massage set to relaxing music. But regular checkups and appointments for specific treatments are incredibly important to your oral health in addition to your overall health.
We’re sympathetic to anyone who is apprehensive about going to the dentist. To help them overcome this fear, we’ve introduced certain techniques to ensure that each member of our staff is equipped to help a patient feel comfortable enough to receive treatment.
Let’s review the general idea behind a fear of the dentist to lay a proper foundation. Next, we’ll delve into sedation dentistry and how it can quell a patient’s anxiety. We’ll also look at our initial consultation, which can ease a patient’s concern from the onset. Our goal is to make sure you don’t let your fear prevent you from visiting the dentist.
Underlying Causes of Dental Anxiety
Per WebMD, roughly 5-8% of Americans don’t visit their dentist out of a fear. This figure grows to 20% when considering people who experience anxiety to the point where they will only go to the dentist when necessary or in emergency situations.
As mentioned, most of these fears stem from a painful experience but often this fear can be related to a mood or anxiety disorder or to post-traumatic stress disorder. Just because the cause of this fear was pain doesn’t mean a patient is necessarily scared of experiencing the same level of pain once again. Sometimes it’s the lack of control that can prevent a patient from booking an appointment. For some, being reclined in a dentist’s chair means having a stranger work on an area of their body that they cannot see while not being able to speak.
Understanding the root of an issue can help one overcome it. From our perspective, if we know what is causing your apprehension, we can craft a strategy and a treatment plan to tackle the problem at its core. Our recommendation is to not be shy about your feelings and to tell us what you need to feel comfortable. We’ll do our best to accommodate.
Overcoming Dental Anxiety
There are many ways for a patient to overcome their dental anxiety or fear. The first step is to let us know. This way, we can create a welcoming and pleasant environment.
Another method that a patient could find useful is to sit down with the dentist and discuss treatment options and ask any questions they might have. Furthermore, the dentist can break down how you might feel after each stage of treatment to alleviate any concerns.
Other common methods for dentist to use, include:
- Frequently checking in with a patient to gauge how they’re feeling during treatment.
- Making it clear to the patient that they can pause or even stop the procedure whenever they want. This is usually done by creating a signal (raising a hand, patting a shoulder, etc.) that notify the dentist or hygienist that you need a break.
- If possible, incorporate one or two breaks during the appointment. During this time, the patient can sit up, drink some water and even converse about how they’re feeling or about another subject to take their mind off things.
The goal is to help you get through treatment without incident or additional stress.
Our consultations are designed to answer your questions and to make you feel assured that you and your oral health are in good hands. We don’t treat a consultation as a sales call. Instead, it’s an opportunity for you to get acquainted with our facility, philosophy, approach, personalities and the services we provide.
It’s also a chance for us to tailor a plan to your needs, including addressing any fears you might have about dental practices, materials, treatments and financial concerns – we provide customized in-house and third party financing options to help spread things out. We will devote whatever time you need to make sure you have all the information you need to proceed.
You need a dentist who is understanding of your fears and anxieties. Don’t settle for one that simply says, “oh, you’ll be fine” or tells you stories about how well children cope with a visit to the dentist.
Some patients require more than just talking about their fears. For those with severe anxieties, we offer sedation dentistry, which is perfectly safe. This can allow a patient to undergo dental treatments like root canals, tooth extractions or a variety of oral surgeries.
When a patient awakes, they shouldn’t feel any pain and will have no memory of the experience. Additionally, this is an option for people who have trouble sitting still for a while or those who can’t get fully numb from anesthetics.
While under the influence of a sedative, a dentist can perform most treatments while the patient rests in comfort. The sedative is so effective that the patient won’t even experience any of the sounds and smells associated with their treatment.
At Georgian Dental, we are licensed by the American Dental Association and adhere to the laws that govern sedation medicine and administration. We can administer three levels of sedation:
Mild Sedation: This is the lightest form of sedation dentistry and can be employed for patients dealing with mild anxiety. It’s usually taken orally by the patient and while you will remain awake during treatment, you will feel quite tired and a bit groggy. You will be able to breath without the help of any instruments and should feel extremely relaxed. Recovery only takes a few hours after the end of treatment.
Moderate Sedation: The next level can be effective for patients with anxiety best described as moderate. With this process, a patient will still be conscious but in a deeper state of relaxation. Since it takes several hours for the sedative to wear off, patients must have someone accompany them to the appointment as they will be unable to drive home after the appointment.
Deep Sedation: With this level of sedation, a patient can slip in and out of consciousness during the procedure. Don’t let this frighten you, though, as gaining consciousness does not mean you will be aware of what’s happen or feel any pain. Patients will not remember their time in the dentist’s chair and during treatment will not have the wherewithal to respond to commands. Again, it’s recommended to have someone accompany you to the appointment so they can drive you home.
Book an Appointment
There’s no shame in feeling scared about visiting your dentist but do not let that prevent you from getting the oral care you need. Our job is to help you live pain-free with the radiant smile you deserve. We will do everything in our power to make sure you feel safe and comfortable before, during and after your appointment.
Book your free no-obligation consultation today to discover why Georgian Dental is the most respected clinic in Barrie.