No one likes going to the dentist, but for those who suffer dental phobias a trip to the dentist's office is more than just unpleasant, It is a dreaded intolerable appointment. Some patients are so terrified that they can't even come into the building.
Although some patients' phobias are rooted in deep trauma, most dental phobics can trace their fears to bad experiences in the dentist's chair, usually during childhood. For people who were held into a dentist's chair as children, or ignored when they were experiencing pain, every visit to the dentist is a return to that sense of helplessness and terror.
Here at Sedation Dental Care we focus on treating the whole patient, not just their teeth. Our staff is focused on listening and communicating with our patients, building trust and respect. As a patient you should always feel in control. You should feel that the dentist will listen when you say you are uncomfortable and will do everything he/she can to make your experience a pleasant one. An anxious patient should discuss specific fears with his/her dentist well before sitting down in the chair. If the dentist downplays your concerns, find another one.
If your primary concern is pain, find out what forms of anesthesia the dentist can offer. Local anesthesia isn't 100 percent effective on all patients. It's important to see someone who can provide options. Here at Sedation Dental Care we provide many different options for anesthesia designed around comfort and function. For example, one relatively simple technique for reducing anxiety is to use a local anesthetic that does not contain epinephrine, which can make the heart race and escalate a patient's sense of panic. Other options include nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or pre-medication with anxiety-reducing drugs, oral or IV sedation. We can even bring in a Dental Anesthesiologist if necessary. Be forthright about your previous experiences and fears, and don't settle for anything less than a comprehensive, caring response. Here at Sedation Dental Care we will make every effort to give you a pleasant, and comfortable appointment.
Dental phobia is a severe fear of the dentist that over time causes loss of teeth because of the patient's inability to go to the dentist and receive regular care. The heart of the matter is that dental phobia can rob patients of their self-esteem as they become embarrassed about the appearance of their teeth and withdraw from friends, coworkers and loved ones.
Why do people hate and fear the dentist so?
Fear of the dentist is most commonly something that patients learn from traumatic personal dental experiences. If these experiences occur as a child and are accompanied by a real sense of panic, the resulting reaction to the dentist may become deep-seated, visceral and lifelong. Such patients just don't feel safe in the dental chair. Patients' recall of their traumatic childhood experiences often includes being held down against their will, being yelled at, pain and terror. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people who suffer abuse as children may have lifelong alterations in their response to stress. If a patient suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, the dental office may be just one of many situations where such patients feel unsafe. Patients who suffer from panic attacks associated with dental care will do anything not to have that awful feeling again. Sedation, which can block the panic response, can be particularly helpful for dental patients with anxiety attacks.
Other patients may simply have difficulty getting numb after the dentist gives them an injection. If the patient is extremely anxious the patient may be sensitive to the slightest sensation because of the emotional component of their pain. Many patients may not be particularly anxious but still may feel pain during dental care because of anatomical reasons: the presence of infection or hypersensitivity of the tooth. Local anesthetics (A.K.A. Novocain), used by dentists to numb the tooth or jaw may rarely cause patients to become excitable or anxious in large doses, especially in combination with epinephrine, a common additive. Newly developed injection techniques may help in these situations.
Some patients suffer from a severe fear of needles, also known as needle phobia. As a result people have trouble going to the dentist, medical doctors or even getting marriage licenses. A wide variety of techniques to help at the dentist are available, such as anesthetic pads or gels administered without piercing the skin. Patients can also be sedated with an elixir or pill before any injection.
What can be done to help people who avoid the dentist because of fear of pain or embarrassment?
If you have a severe fear of the dentist, the most important thing is to recognize that Sedation Dental Care is ready to help you. Take the time to communicate your feelings and concerns to your dentist. Make sure the treatment plan that you and your dentist have chosen reflects your cosmetic and long term oral health goals. Sedation Dental Care is dedicated to a high level of care and patient satisfaction. Sedation Dental Care has the tools to care for you comfortably and has the patience and experience to guide you through the complete treatment plan. Consider relaxation and distraction techniques such as deep (diaphragmatic) breathing, or headphones. Oral medications such as a Valium, or something similar, can be used to help you relax and feel more comfortable. Sedation may be best for very anxious patients who won't have dental procedures any other way. All medications will be administered by dentists who are well trained and experienced for a safe and comfortable experience. Sedation can be a beneficial way for patients to experience dental care without fear, pain or anxiety. Most importantly, it is possible for you to have your dental care in comfort.