The overwhelming fear of dental appointments can be a common cause of anxiety. Many people visualize a drill-wielding mad man in a white coat just waiting to cause pain and remove teeth. The reality, however, is very different. The comfort, relaxation, and happiness of the patient are the primary focus of any good dental practice. The staff at our practice will do whatever they can to reduce anxiety, allay fears, and provide painless, and quick treatments.
The electric handpieces (drills) in our office make the sound of air and water, without the squealing sound that comes with the traditional air-driven handpieces. We make use of a wide variety of safe and effective anesthetics to eliminate pain and reduce anxiety during routine appointments.
Here is a list of some of the most common dental fears:
- Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth (we’re here to help not judge)
- Fear of gagging (we have solutions)
- Fear of injections (we have techniques to minimize discomfort)
- Fear of loss of control (we can take a break at any time, for any reason)
- Fear of not becoming numb when injected with local anesthesia (we have solutions)
- Fear of pain (we will not work on you, if you are not numb)
- Fear of the dentist as a person (Dr. Garrett is a nice guy ☺)
- Fear of the hand piece (or the drill). (our electric handpieces make it easier)
How can one overcome dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming. It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the dental office at all because they are too afraid. Receiving regular dental check-ups and cleanings is incredibly important. Having regular routine check-ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex and costly treatments.
Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:
Talk to us – We can’t read minds. Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, we can take extra care during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.
Listen to music– Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety. We have speakers in every operatory and we play Pandora radio for your, and our, relaxation and enjoyment.
Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment and will continue with the procedure regardless. The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal. Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.
Spray the throat – Benzocaine throat sprays can actually control the gag reflex really well. One or two sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.
Take a mirror – Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild. Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.
Sedation – If there is no other way to cope, sedation offers an excellent option for many people. There are several types of sedation, but the general premise behind them is the same: the patient regains their faculties after treatment is complete.