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 yourself. It is possible to educate patients and help them overcome the fear as most commonly it is the “fear of the unknown” which makes it difficult to cross the barrier to receiving 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 an extraction, that 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 put the patient at ease. Even attending the dentist for a basic check-up and familiarising yourself 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 a lot of it is not done in a short period would help.

Techniques

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 on which methods the practice is experienced with and which you feel would help you most. Relaxation techniques can often be learned from professional 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 practice team member, 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 (using a needle). You will be assessed based on your fitness about underlying medical issues, and what technique will be safe and effective. At Ochilview, we practice intravenous sedation and this works well for many patients. Please refer 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 anaesthetist 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 discharged 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 few years when professionals can deliver safe sedation. This is the reason why not all practices can offer such a service.

For more information regarding this treatment
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General Dentistry

We offer an amazing array of general dental services.

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Cosmetic Dentistry

Minimally invasive treatment, life-altering results.

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Dental Implants

Dental implants – blending naturally with your teeth.

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Advanced Dentistry

A dental practice where your best interests are always considered.

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Oral Surgery

Restore your smile and confidence.

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