Fear of the Dentist
Feeling comfortable at the Dentists.
Unfortunately, going to the dentist isn’t something most people find particularly fun and enjoyable. Dental phobia can be a debilitating condition that goes beyond anxiety. People with dental phobia have an awareness that the fear is irrational and exhibit classic avoidance behaviour (they will do everything possible to avoid going to the dentist). The tragic consequence of this is that these patient's only really then visit the dentist when they are in significant pain or discomfort which not only adds to their anxiety but generally calls for expensive and/or invasive treatment.
Some of the common fears related to coming to the dentist include:
- Fear of pain and discomfort: Usually this stems from a previous traumatic experience either one's self or another person. Thanks to modern techniques and advances in the dental industry, the majority of today's dental procedures are considerably less painful or even pain-free. Use a signal (like raising your hand) whenever you are feeling uncomfortable or simply need a moment to rest and catch your breath.
- Fear of injections: It is now fairly universal practice to apply a topical anaesthetic cream to the mouth prior to providing local anaesthesia. It also helps to adopt some form of distraction technique while the injection is taking place : squeezing a stress ball, taking a deep breath, moving your hands/feet in rotations or even listening to music with one's earphones can assist in reducing the discomfort of a dental injection.
- Fear of the unexpected and loss of personal space: a certain degree of vulnerability can be justified when sitting in a dental chair with your mouth wide open and unable to see what's going on. Actively participating in discussion regarding your upcoming treatment can help ease your tension and better tolerate this sense of 'lack of control'. Ask your dentist to explain what he/she is doing during the procedure so you can prepare mentally for what you are about to experience.
The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.
We at Team Dental are not interested in being a once-off inconvenience but prefer to retain our patient's for life. We know that our patient's all come with their own fears and insecurities and we are not here to judge or take your concerns lightly. We always aim to adopt a warm and empathetic approach to our customers and appreciate that a lighthearted sense of humor goes a long way to winning over even the most apprehensive patients.
This article was written by Gordon and Teresa from Team Dental Tauranga