Are you petrified of the dentist?
Have you not been to the dentist in years or since childhood?
Too embarrassed about the condition of your teeth?
Do you feel as though you are beyond help?
Worried about the pain?
Apprehensive about cost?
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
This article is not to disregard any fears, anxieties or phobias. We know that bad dentistry experiences are out there and that childhood nightmares, as well as adult ones, are as real as the physical symptoms of anxiety. BUT, and this is a big but, you must remember that there are fantastic dentists out there, be that the NHS or privately. Dentistry is improving every day, as well as health care regulations, meaning that an experience that you may have encountered 10 years ago could never happen today.
A new study has revealed that one in four of us dread going to the dentist. Being a bit anxious about going to the dentist is relatively normal. The idea of having someone invading your personal space seems a bit daunting. Yet, when these anxious feelings are preventing you from going to the dentist altogether or you are even crippled by fear at just the thought of going to the dentist, this is when the dentist becomes a phobia.
If we can give you one good reason to read on…
Did you know that your oral health has a knock on effect to your overall health? There have been multiple studies on the effects that bad oral health has to our health. This has been physical, from cardiovascular diseases to mentally, such as loss of confidence and self-esteem.
We want to help, so we are going to take a look at the top 3 things that people say, scare them about the dentist. Let’s differentiate the myths from the realities. We look at what dentistry is today for anxious patients. As well as 10 tips that can help you overcome your fear – what your dentist wants you to know!
AND remember, it’s never, ever, too late.
Do you suffer from tooth loss? Read more about what dental implant treatment could do for you.
Top 3 THINGS
That people say scares them about the dentist.
Ok, so they exist, but they are not as scary as you may think. To begin, they are not ginormous and you can have a numbing gel applied to the area in your mouth so that you will not feel the small scratch. Dentistry nowadays is a pain-free experience, it may be invasive, but it’s pain-free. Dentists are trained in pain management, which is another way of saying, managing pain preventive measures. This means not only in using pain preventive measures such as local anaesthetic but administering it too.
2. Dentist drill
When people think of the dentist, one of the first things that people think of is the dentist’s drill. People do not like the sound of vibrations and are concerned about the potential pain. Dentist drills or the more favourable name, ‘dental burs’ are not what they used to be. They are a lot quieter, smaller, pain-free and completely safe.
Some clinics do practice what they call drill-free dentistry. This is known as air abrasion dentistry, however, this does have its limitations and is usually only used in cases of tooth decay. This procedure is not only drill-free but needle-free too, with no need for local anaesthetic, no noise and no vibrations.
Many people are terrified of experiencing pain and not being “in control” to manage pain relief or be able to prevent it. One of the things that people struggle with is being able to trust their dentist. It’s all about TRUST. Dentists are human too, as well as dental health care professionals. This is why it is so important to have a relationship with your dentist, as well as an understanding. Your dentist will ALWAYS talk through any treatment or procedure with you, making sure you are relaxed and comfortable.
Thinking about dental treatment? Read our article on one of our most common questions “Are dental Implants painful?”
From our early stages of development, we learn how to rationalise fear and real danger. But, were human, which means we can develop irrational fears and worries. Even though having a phobia is a type of anxiety, which can create anxious feelings such as a sense of unease, worry and apprehension. Phobias can cause an overwhelming, severe and intense sense of panic and fearfulness, leaving some in a state of hysteria. Phobias are usually irrational, although symptoms are very real.
Dentists are real people, who would have thought? Many dentists are very understanding and some are specially trained to be able to provide additional services to patients with phobias such as sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry is where a dentist will give you an I-V sedative during your procedure. Although you are conscious, you will feel very relaxed and sleepy, hence its alternative name “sleep dentistry”. This technique is known to relieve as well as eliminate anxiety.
Still need some convincing?
Here we have a look at 10 steps, to help you to overcome your fear. We know it won’t be an overnight cure, but it will be a step in the right direction, and who knows, maybe even booking in that appointment.
1. IT’S NEVER TOO LATE – BEATING EMBARRASSMENT
Many people express being too embarrassed about the condition of their teeth. Do you think you’ve left it too long? Do you have bad habits, which could be making your teeth worse? It’s ok. Your dentist is not here to judge you; your dentist is here to help and give you the best advice as well as treatment. Not a lecture. They have studied and seen hundreds or thousands of cases. Yours is no different.
2. FINDING THE RIGHT DENTIST FOR YOU
Many dentists who are exceptional in their care of patient fears and phobias advertise that they do so. Have a look online for the best dentist or clinic for your specific needs. Build a relationship with your dentist; communication is key, talk about your fears and apprehensions so they know how to help.
To overcome your fears, one of the first steps is identifying what our fears are. It is easy to get lost in our thoughts and fears, but we are not our fears, rationalising fear begins with identifying what is fearful and why.
4. THE FIRST APPOINTMENT
The first appointment, booking is the easy bit, going is a little harder and we get that. Remember that no one is going to spring anything on you; nothing is going to happen unless you agree it to happen. With every first appointment, it will only be an evaluation, to evaluate the condition of your teeth. If there are any problems with your teeth, tissue or gums, your dentist will discuss this with you.
If you are unhappy with your teeth, possible procedures or treatments can also be discussed with your dentist, including dentures, dental implants, dental bridges, fillings and crowns. (Please note that some procedures are not available on the NHS.)
Do you want to make a change? Do you want to smile with confidence? Contact us, at the Brighton Implant Clinic.
5. BEING IN CONTROL
With every treatment and procedure, there are feelings of vulnerability. To make you feel more at ease, discuss with your dentist the treatment or procedure and take things slow. Organise a signal, something simple such as raising your right hand if you would like to stop or take a break. This will ensure that you know as well as feel, completely in control of your procedure or treatment.
6. TAKE A FRIEND OR LOVED ONE
If you are feeling particularly scared or anxious, taking a friend or loved one with you can be very beneficial. Taking a friend or family member gives you a sense of familiarity and can promote feelings of ease and trust.
7. MUSIC RELAXATION
Music is a proven form of relaxation, which has real physiological functions such as lowering blood pressure, reducing the levels of stress hormones and slowing down your heart rate. Music taps into our emotions, and our own fears and anxieties are not exempt to this. Music is played in dentists all the time, and many people bring in their own personal audio systems to listen too during a procedure! Just ask.
8. BREATHING TECHNIQUES
Breathing techniques have been used for thousands of years in meditation and relaxation. Similar to music, this can help relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. Through deep breathing exercises, patients are able to decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure as well as relax physical symptoms of anxiety.
9. ONLINE SUPPORT NETWORK
There are many online forums and support groups for people who are battling fears and phobias for many different reasons, including the dentist. Talking and acknowledging your fears is an essential part of overcoming and rationalising them. Joining an online support group can give you support at your fingertips, where you can talk to people with similar fears to yourself as well as share tips and triumphs.
10. UNDERSTANDING THE COST AND PAYMENT PLANS
People may be apprehensive about visiting the dentist because they do not know what they may need to be done and whether they can afford what then need. This can create feelings of embarrassment, stress and helplessness. In the U.K. we do have NHS treatment as well as lots of different types of payment plans. The most important stage is getting an evaluation or checkup, this is on average, less than 30 pounds and free in some cases. If you do need any treatment or procedure, you will be given a payment plan.
At the Brighton Implant Clinic, we offer a free consultations for dental implant treatment. Book yours today.