Dental anxiety is defined as the feeling of nervousness or fear related to seeking or receiving dental care. At Church Street Dental Practice we see lots of nervous patients every day and we always do our best to put our patients at ease.
For some patients this can mean a feeling of uneasiness when an appointment is coming up, but for other patients they may experience irrational fear and avoid coming to see the dentist completely. These patients have a true dental phobia and unfortunately this can lead to delays in treatment which can be detrimental to both oral and general health.
How dental anxiety/phobia can affect a patients health?
Most dental disease is preventable. If patients attend the dentist and have regular checkups it enables us to prevent problems or find any problems earlier. This often means easier less invasive treatment is required, if any at all.
Avoiding the dentist means any dental disease worsens over time, leading to more invasive treatment being required or often pain and suffering for a patient who doesn’t seek help from us at all. If a non regular patient ever does attend its then more likely they will need emergency treatment from us.
The same lifestyle factors that can cause dental disease are also known to contribute to other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. This means having good oral health can also have an impact on a patients general health.
How Can We Manage Dental Anxiety?
The most important thing for us at Church Street is that our patients feel they can talk to us about any worries they might have so we can work to ease them. There are often certain triggers for patients who are anxious, for example the noise of the drill or needles. If our patients tells us about their worries more often than not we can manage the treatment plan accordingly. Little things like surface anaesthetic before an injection or the patient bringing in some headphones to listen to their favorite music can make such a difference.
Some patients might be anxious because of a bad experience in the past. If we can communicate with our patients about what happened we can allow extra numbing time or use distraction techniques to help the patient cope with any treatment that is needed. In extreme cases where a patient is very anxious there are options such as sedation which can help to relax the patient during treatment.
The most important message for our patients is for them to know here at Church Street we would never make a patient have any treatment done that they don’t feel comfortable with so don’t be afraid to tell us your worries and have a chat with us. Its rewarding for us when an anxious patient says they don’t know why they were even worried in the first place and have a positive experience.
If you would like to join our family and overcome your fear of the dentist, please do not hesitate to call us today!