Options for Dental Fear and Anxiety: Making your Next Visit Less Traumatic

Author: Dr. Reem Kidess | Posted on with 0 comments

There are many options for dental fear and anxiety to help patients with their phobia. These options include counseling, relaxation techniques, having a companion present for moral support, and more; all serve as excellent help for you or a member of your family.

Some patients have dental fear and anxiety for different reasons. Most are afraid of the pain associated with dental procedures and are intimidated by the many tools used by dentists. This type of phobia is often a result of a bad memory from receiving dental treatment as a child, like pulling a tooth out. In addition, there are cases where people get so afraid of the dentist that they avoid going to their appointments altogether. An issue that can lead to serious dental problems eventually.

Related post: Reasons Why People Hate the Dentist

Read below for a breakdown of solutions against dental fear and anxiety.

Sedation

Sedation is a way to reduce anxiety while maintaining adequate comfort and responsiveness. The type of sedation used may depend on the duration of the dental procedure. 

There are two types of sedation, which include:

Inhalant sedation

inhaland-sedation

With inhalant sedation, a patient’s anxiety level is reduced to a minimum. A gas is inhaled through this method, which takes a patient to a euphoric state, helps suppress the painful memories from past dental procedures, and reduces or even eliminates pain during treatment.

Inhalant sedation uses nitrous oxide or any similar variant with the same calming effect.

Oral conscious sedation

oral-conscious-sedation

Oral conscious sedation helps with a patient’s anxiety by using medications administered orally an hour before the procedure, which offers a lasting effect for up to four hours. This method is perfect for patients who require moderate-to-deep levels of sedation for long periods of dental treatment. With this sedation, patients become more comfortable, with less interference in responsiveness and coordination during general anesthesia.

Hypnosis or Counseling

For drug-free solutions to dental fear and anxiety, hypnosis or counseling may be the best choice. Hypnosis alters a person’s thinking with better focus and a great deal of positivity in mind.

The goal of hypnosis is to let the patient relax and let go during an appointment with the dentist. Think counting sheep to fall asleep. But instead of counting sheep, for instance, patients will count down from 100 by sevens or focus on their breathing until they feel relaxed and distracted enough during the procedure.

Dental counseling works similarly. But with counseling, the dentist will converse more with the patient. It starts with the dentist simply striking a conversation about the patient’s day before the visit; a few minutes into the conversation, the dentist will ask the patient to close his or her eyes and take a moment to relax. At this point, the dentist will start talking deeper into the patient’s subconscious, explaining how the procedure will feel and what will happen every step of the way. The patient will become more aware and focused on the dental treatment with less anticipation of the pain, which helps lessen the anxiety and increase the relaxation.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can help a patient during the actual dental procedure. An example of this method is controlled breathing while focusing on a small part of the body to distract the mind and clear out stress and other negative thoughts.

This type of therapy teaches patients to recognize the connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The goal is not to eliminate anxiety but rather to help people understand that they have choices about how they think and feel, which changes their behavior.

For instance, a patient with trauma on needles could change his or her perception of the pain, and that it’s only momentarily and an injection is essential to treat whatever dental problems need fixing.

Having a Family Member or Friend Present

One of the best options for dental fear and anxiety is having a companion during the procedure. Some patients feel more at ease if a partner, family member, or friend is present while receiving dental treatment. Hearing a trusted voice during the dental procedure can increase a patient’s confidence and comfort. It will also help if the companion talks about what’s happening. This is to have a sense of compassion, and that someone, aside from the dentist, understands what the patient is going through.

Conclusion

Some dental procedures tend to be painful, like fillings or extractions, which can cause fear to other patients. Always talk to your dentist about your phobia before the procedure begins. There are many options for dental fear and anxiety, and they are all designed to help you overcome your phobia. Identify the right option that best suits you and do them before or during a procedure.

For dental care by professionals who understand a patient’s dental fear and anxiety, call PV Smiles!

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