Managing Dental Anxiety
Dental Anxiety exists in many people due to various reasons. You may have heard of a friend or family going through a procedure or experienced it yourselves. It is possible to educate a patient and help them overcome the fear as most commonly it is the “fear of unknown” which makes it difficult to cross the barrier to receive appropriate dental treatment.
The technology and techniques in dentistry over the past few decades have improved dramatically. This will make treatment less traumatic and more predictable than ever before. However, there are certain procedures like getting a needle in the mouth or having a procedure carried out like extraction can make one feel terrible. This could go to an extent where the consequence is severe dental neglect. This will end up in a vicious circle where self-denial makes it even more difficult to access professional care with an emergency treatment either for severe pain or infection.
There are common and simple ways of dealing with this situation. Attending a dentist who you trust and build a rapport with helps putting the patient at ease. Even attending the dentist for basic check-up and familiarizing with the environment could be the best FIRST step. As it is traditionally known- prevention is better than cure and therefore preventing any dental disease could help in a big way.
Many techniques are used by dentists to deal with such anxiety. Talking through and making one aware of what to expect will help a lot. Similarly staging dental treatment to ensure lot of it is not done in a short time span would help.
Your dentist will tell you about the relaxation or sedation techniques that the practice may offer. There are various methods available, and it will depend which methods the practice is experienced with and which you feel would help you most. Relaxation techniques can often be learned from specialist teachers or at home and can be very useful in controlling anxiety.
Other practices offer hypnosis and relaxation techniques. You would learn these techniques, which would allow you to gain control over your feelings of distress or fear.
Counselling is another way of dealing with feelings of anxiety. This is usually carried out by a member of the practice team, in a room away from the surgery. You would be encouraged to discuss your fears so that they may be dealt with and overcome.
Many practices offer several types of sedation, including inhalation (‘gas and air’) and intravenous (by injection). You will be assessed based on your fitness in relation to underlying medical issues as to what technique is safe and effective. At Ochilview we practice Intravenous Sedation and this works well for many patients. Please referred to the instruction sheet and feel free to ask one of your dentists for details.
Recovery room at Ochilview
Depending on the treatment to be carried out under sedation an initial assessment will be carried out by your dentist. At this point a detailed medical history and any other factors that could potentially affect sedation will be discussed. Not every patient may be suitable for routine sedation techniques and may require a Consultant Anesthetist to carry out this procedure possibly in a hospital setting.
An accompanying adult (escort) is absolutely necessary, even before the treatment starts. Once the procedure is carried out the patient will be placed in recovery until they are discharge fit.
A sedation nurse will be looking after you until the point of discharge.Dentists must train extensively to be able to practice techniques which help manage dental anxiety. Commonly these skills are gained over a period of few years when professionals can deliver safe sedation. This is the reason why not all practices are able to offer such a service.