If you fear going to the dentist, you are not alone. One in four of us dread a visit to the dentist, but there are ways to overcome your fear.
Dental phobia is a more serious condition than anxiety. It leaves people panic-stricken and terrified; most will do everything possible to avoid going to the dentist, unless they are forced to do so by extreme pain. The main problem for the dental-phobic is the wider implications, such as unsightly teeth; increased risk of heart disease; gum disease (periodontitis) and an increased risk of pneumonia.
Fear of the dentist can be caused by:
- Poor early experiences as a child;
- The thought that it will hurt;
- Uneasiness around needles or that the anaesthetic won’t take effect;
- Loss of control or feelings of helplessness;
- Feeling uncomfortable about the physical closeness of the dentist or self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth.
- Worrying about the smell of halitosis (Bad Breath)
The good news is that more and more dentists understand their patients’ fears and are actively working to make the experience more bearable. Moreover, thanks to the many advances in dentistry made over the years, most of today’s dental procedures are considerably less painful or even pain-free. We use a numbing gel to numb your gums before an injection so you don’t feel the needle, offer temazepam sedation before surgery and, for those with a very nervous disposition, offer intravenous sedation with a consultant anaesthetist (through an injection into your hand or arm) during treatment. The team at South Coast Dental work hard to make sure your experience is as stress-free as possible. All our waiting rooms are fitted out with big comfy chairs and wood panelling, we have a plethora of magazines available to read, plugs to charge your phone or IPad and beverages available free of charge. Our staff are polite, friendly and always willing to help out should you require assistance or more information.
The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist; don’t be embarrassed because you are definitely not alone and we can’t help unless we know what the problem is. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.
If lack of control is one of your main stressors, actively participating in a discussion with your dentist about your treatment can ease your tension. All our dentists explain (in as much detail as you want) what will happen before you agree to any treatment and, should you decide to move forward with treatment, what is happening at every stage of the procedure. This way you can mentally prepare for each stage of treatment. Another helpful strategy is to establish a signal — such as raising your hand — when you want the dentist to immediately stop. Use this signal whenever you are uncomfortable, need to rinse your mouth, or simply need to catch your breath.