For someone who is very anxious about visiting a dentist, just getting to the dentist’s office can feel like an accomplishment. Even though this feeling can be overcome after some gentle coaxing, a person who consciously or unconsciously avoids necessary dental work has developed a phobia that requires help from an experienced dentist. Many dentists specialize in treating patients who have dental phobia.
Stepping inside an office is so traumatic for some phobics that they’d rather watch their teeth rot. Unfortunately, many of these feelings develop after a bad dental experience during childhood. Ironically, many phobics know their fears are irrational. Still, the ability to get past the panic symptoms is harder to overcome than the actual thoughts about what will happen. These panic symptoms can include:
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Heart palpations
- Feelings of nausea
Most of these symptoms are related to fearing lack of control in the situation. A great dentist is very familiar with these symptoms and the fear of dentists and knows several ways to help you manage or even overcome your fear.
Below are some tips used by caring dentists:
1. Let the dentist know on the phone before your visit that you have a fear of dentists. A sympathetic dentist will then work at your pace, whereby the first visit is for chatting not for surgical treatment.
2. A good dentist’s practices a “painless practice” using discomfort-reducing techniques such as topicals like anesthetic gels and air abrasion units.
3. Several techniques can be used during treatment to ease anxiety and ease the pain. Inhalation sedation, oral sedation, general anesthesia, hypnosis, and psychotherapy are just a few techniques. Alpha-Stim SCS is a new relaxation practice that allows the patient to send an electric wave current through the brain from a hand-held control box connected to ear clips.
4. Knowing that fear is a healthy survival mechanism is often the key to putting a phobic’s fear into perspective.
5. In many ways, the knowledge about what is actually going to take place rather than presumptions about potential pain is very much a sigh of relief. It’s no surprise that if all someone hears is “If you don’t behave, I’ll take you to the dentist!” then that person soon builds preconceived notions that the dentist must be a bad place.
6. A “painless practice” is the objective of a great dental practice. These dentists practice discomfort-reducing techniques. Thus, a patient can choose from several topicals like anesthetic gels and air abrasion units.
7. Just as you should feel comfortable to ask as many questions as necessary, a dentist too should ask you questions. Questions like “How are you doing?” or “Are you feeling this?” allow the dentist to know how fast to proceed or if you need a few minutes. No compassionate dentist will proceed if you’re feeling pain.
8. Follow up like a dental office’s phone call or painkillers like ibuprofen or long-lasting anesthesia let the patient know that the dentist cares.