The phobia of the dentist is a serious problem, which touches all the layers of the population, whatever the age, sex, or social environment.
This phobia often leads to neglecting oral care and preferring to self-medicate or endure terrible dental pain, rather than seeking treatment.
The most common signs are:
- State of anxiety before the dentist visit.
- Triggering physical disturbances by a simple thought or after any simple sight of dental office equipment. That can include:
- Sweaty hands
- Heart rate and breathing
- Dry mouth
- Panic attack
These signs can lead to unusual behavior such as: canceling appointments with the dentist, fleeing the waiting room just before the patient’s turn, getting out of the chair, and interrupting the treatment even after applying anesthesia.
Management of Anxiety
Who does not know that bad feeling before every dental appointment?
Almost all of us say we feel scared before hitting the clinic. Sometimes, childhood bad experiences and shocks are the reason for this phobia.
Not taking the fears seriously, or telling those suffering from this anxiety that the dentist “will not hurt you” will not change a thing. It only makes it worse.
It is difficult to find the right arguments to convince a person psychologically victim of irrational causes and to insist in this way could lead to a definitive blockage.
The refusal of going to the dentist can have serious consequences on dental health and general health.
Treatment of Anxiety Patients
High-end dental centers offer special treatment methods following anxious patients’ needs.
There are two goals when treating phobic patients:
- Perform treatments without stress or anxiety.
- Beating the patient’s fear with a logical approach.
There is a proven effective strategy to achieve this, focused on the following themes:
- Building confidence
- Minimum anxiety stimulation
- Gentle and stress-free treatments
Many patients with dentist-phobia say that they have a trauma related to a broken promise of a no-pain treatment from a dentist.
A dentist may promise the patient that the treatment will not be that painful, then he can not keep that promise. That destroys confidence and can be traumatic.
Besides expecting a well-done treatment, the patient wants clear information about it. He also expects attention, patience, and understanding for the anxiety he is having.
Thus, despite the busy life of people working at the clinic, the dental team should have a high level of patience and psychological tools to understand the patients’ anxieties and win their confidence.
Due to past experiences, a dental clinic is a risky place for anxious patients. Thus, the dentist should be able to reduce anything that provokes anxiety to the minimum. That could include:
- Bright spacious rooms
- Noise reduction
- Avoiding smells related to treatments in the waiting room.
The practice should spend every possible effort to reduce anxiety during the waiting times.
Also, the dentist can prescribe anxiolytics just before an appointment.
Less Pain as Much as Possible
Gentle and painless treatments today are the norm in general not only for anxious patients.
The effectiveness of local anesthesia has improved a lot in recent years. That’s why dental treatments, like teeth extraction or larger surgeries, must be pain-free.
Anesthesia techniques and equipment have also evolved to give fast results while minimizing the pain as much as possible.
The dental staff should have the necessary training to perform gentle treatments and recognize patient needs.
General Anesthesia: The Last Resort
General anesthesia is a must in the case of heavy surgery, like teeth implants, and is possible for patients with disabilities or other situations.
This type of anesthesia makes the person unresponsive to pain. The procedure can last up to 2 hours, then the patient should rest for about an hour.
However, for most patients with dental phobia, all of these measures are not enough to overcome their fear of the dentist. So, do not fear the dentist. Take Conscious sedation with nitrous oxide is ideal when added to the measures listed above.
Sedation means tranquilizing. That means calming the nervous system with the help of drugs without losing consciousness. Sedation has different degrees, from mild soothing to complete drowsiness. However, vital functions and reflexes remain active.
Also Read: Types And Benefits Of Dental Implants
As often, the real remedy for these problems is probably at the source of these problems: on the very place that gave rise to the phobia of the dentist. That is to say, in the enclosure of the dental office.
Phobic patients must choose a practitioner with whom the current flows, a practitioner in whom one can trust, who will be able to show patience, understanding, and listening, who will set up his practice in such a way that it is welcoming, far from old pictures of the torture room that haunt some people’s minds, who will take their time to explain their treatment plan, who will not hesitate to take breaks during treatment, and who will display a certain degree of confidence.
Author: Dr. Nabil Mocbil from Swedish Dental Clinic in Dubai Marina