Scared to go to the dentist?
Did you know that being scared of going to the dentist is incredibly common? In fact, approximately 13-24% of people feel anxious or scared each time they prepare for a visit. For a small number of patients, the anxiety can heighten to an extent where it becomes a disabling phobia. The result? Avoiding dental appointments can lead to poor oral hygiene in the short-term and significantly impact your overall dental health if neglected over time.
In this blog post our expert dentist, Dr Kala Jones, takes a walk through this common problem and looks at ways to help you relax at the dentist.
What is dental anxiety?
The first thing to highlight is that general anxiety about going to the dentist is extremely common. Whilst you’re not alone, it’s reassuring to know that over 75% of people actually enjoy their dental visits.
Dentists are well aware that some patients experience anxiety during their appointment. A good dentist will be prepared to help put you at ease.
Dental anxiety can transform into a phobia. A dental phobia becomes a debilitating condition where the person is completely unable to go to the dentist at all. What’s important to remember is that your dentist will help support you at every step of your dental journey.
Is dental anxiety medication available?
Yes. Your dentist will discuss your concerns and identify the best course of action. Most dentists are quite happy to prescribe dental anxiety medication in the form of a mild sedative. Oral sedation can help you stay calm during your visit and your dentist will explain how this works with you, so you know what to expect.
Can you be put to sleep at the dentist?
Some patients find that oral sedation and the dental anxiety medication are not sufficient and therefore require a deeper level of relaxation. Dental sedation helps you drift off into a quiet world of your own, often called ‘Twilight’ or ‘Sleep’ dentistry.
Overcoming dental anxiety
Often this involves overcoming your fears one small step at a time. When you first start thinking about your visit, or that you need some form of treatment, it can often seem like a huge mountain to climb. But we want to assure you that the journey of 1,000 steps always starts with a first step.
Many patients have shared their tips and you may find some of these useful.
“I listen with a headset to laugh-aloud funny books or podcasts when I am in the waiting room and in the dental chair. I try not to get to the appointment too early, as sitting in the waiting room can increase my anxiety. And while waiting, I practice relaxation breathing.” — Suzanne
“I bring my iPod and play nice soothing music, or a book on MP3.” — Heather
“Have the dentist explain everything before doing it. Make sure there is a nice scent in the treatment room, and listen to catchy, familiar, calming music–something with a subliminal connection — a song everyone knows the words to”. — Nancy
Can you maintain control when sedated?
The final point to cover is that whenever you visit our dental practice in Euston, London you will always be kept in full control of the entire process.
We will always agree a stop signal with you. This means you can halt the treatment at any point to take a breather or a rest. This keeps you in full and complete control.
All treatments will be explained in full prior to going ahead. This gives you the perfect opportunity to discuss your concerns before any treatment commences. For any patients who experience dental anxiety, please speak to us about dental sedation.