Overcoming Dental Fear and Anxiety
At Crown Dental we understand that many patients are nervous about visiting the dentist, particularly if it has been a long time since they last sought dental treatment. Fear of the dentist is the number one reason adults in Ireland put off having dental treatment, often leaving a simple-to-treat problem until it becomes an emergency. Ironically, seeking early treatment and attending regular dental check-ups could prevent many emergencies from arising, and most problems could be solved quickly and painlessly.
Some of the more frequent reasons for anxiety are listed below, with ways we can help you conquer them.
⇒Painful or frightening experiences in the past.
⇒Being conscious of the current condition of your teeth and gums or even bad breath.
⇒Dentists not listening to your concerns and what you want.
⇒Fear of the sound of a dental drill or the clinical smell of a practice.
Our friendly dentists Dr.Erika Barta and Dr.Juan Kelly are highly experienced in treating nervous patients, without the need for sedations. We practise gentle dentistry and all of our dentists have a kind, reassuring nature that has helped many nervous patients overcome their fears.
The team at Crown Dental are experienced dental professionals, and we can promise you that we see patients with high treatment requirements all the time. We appreciate that it takes a lot of courage to come for treatment if you are nervous, especially when you know you need a lot of work.
We treat all patients with care and respect, and want only to help you achieve a healthy mouth and happy smile. We would never be judgemental and see patients with many different conditions, so you should never feel embarrassed about coming to us.
It is sometimes helpful to distract attention away from the treatment. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Talking to your dentist
Talking to your dentist is the first step to overcoming your dental fears. Often, our fears are bigger than reality, and we have to remind ourselves of what we are trying to achieve. It will also help if you talk to your dentists about your anxiety, and let them know how you are feeling. Sharing your feelings and your fear with the person you are working with will help you feel better, and will help your dentist understand where you are coming from.
- Take deep breaths
Controlled breathing relaxes your body, will reduce stress and shifts your focus to other things in order to preoccupy your mind. This is fantastic when you are at the dentist as you can avoid a lot of discomfort and anxiety. When we are stressed, we tense up without even realizing it, which can sometimes make us even more sensitive to discomfort than if we were relaxed. The easiest breathing techniques simply involve inhaling and exhaling through your nose for a slow count of three – so three seconds breathing in followed by three seconds breathing out. This technique is particularly useful as it also overcomes the breathing issues many of us feel when things are in our mouth.
- Using relaxation techniques
There are a number of relaxation techniques that may work for you. You could bring music into your appointment with you, ask to have your favorite radio station on or just have the nurse chatting to you about something. Different relaxation and distraction techniques work for different people so try and find something that will work well for you.
- Use Positive Imagery
It may seem cheesy to picture yourself on a beautiful island with your feet buried in warm sand, but studies have shown that creating positive and relaxing images in your mind will actually work to make yourself feel more calm. Positive thinking goes a long way when dealing with anxiety.
Stress causes us to naturally tense up and this will make you physically feel bad without even noticing it. Stretching and focusing on your body will take your mind off of your anxiety, and will help your muscles to loosen up, which naturally puts emotional anxiety to bed. When your body feels relaxed, your mind will feel relaxed, and vice versa.
- Calming your nerves
Your dentist can offer you diazepam (Valium) or a similar drug to calm your nerves before a dental procedure.
No. The majority of patients can be treated painlessly and comfortably with a simple, modern dental local anesthetic, these are effective for everything from a simple filling to a more complicated tooth extraction. In our practice, the most frequent comment people make at the end of their treatment appointment is “if I had known it was that painless I wouldn’t have worried about coming”.
We always try to use materials and techniques that do not need an injection if you are frightened of needles. If we feel that getting an injection is advisable , we can use a special (strawberry or bubblegum flavoured ) gel to numb your gum first if you would like, and then our local anaesthetic injections are given so gently that many people do not even feel them.
We will never start treatment, even a check up, without your being ready. We will agree a signal you can give us, such as a raised hand, if you need us to stop what we are doing at any time. If you decide part way through an appointment that you have had enough for today, we will stop treatment. You can have absolute faith that you are in complete control of what is happening at all times.
It is highly likely! As you get to know and trust your dentist, hygienist and other members of the dental team at your practice, your fears will dampen. In time you will come to see your regular visit to the dentist as just another part of your normal life.