Does the thought of visiting the dentist fill you with dread? Clammy hands, dry mouth, and the thought “I could just make up an excuse and walk out”. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and it’s quite common for people to fear visiting the dentist.
Most people’s fear of the dentist comes from a previous unpleasant experience, and often, stems from childhood experiences. Some people are fine with a checkup but dread the thought of other treatments such as having a filling. For some, the fear can be so bad that they develop a phobia about visiting a dentist and even bring on panic or anxiety attacks.
For those people with a phobia of dentists (odontophobia), it may mean they put off seeing their dentist for many years, which often leads to more work needing to be done, causing a greater fear – and so the vicious circle continues. Some people choose to suffer in silence rather than coming to see the dentist.
At Cherry Trees Dental Practice, we fully understand this fear, and our dentists and dental nurses are trained to put your mind at ease and help reduce your level of anxiety when you come to visit the practice.
Before you arrive for your appointment, it is important to remember to just take one step at a time. If you listen to our dentist’s and dental nurses’ advice, we’re sure your will find your visit is less overwhelming and frightening than you may think.
Helping yourself overcome the fear...
In our experience, there are some things you can do before you visit to help you relax and reduce the level of anxiety if you’re a nervous patient. Try these four tips to see if they help with your anxiety.
Sedation may help ease your anxiety...
Some people, no matter what they try, cannot get past the fear of visiting the dentist. It may be helpful to speak to your doctor prior to visiting the dentist and ask for something to help reduce your level of anxiety. Most doctors will understand and prescribe some form of oral sedation. However, please be aware that with most sedation, you may feel drowsy, and you should have someone with you who can drive you to and from your appointment and stay with you until the effects of the sedation have worn off. It’s always best to also ring the surgery and to check that it is safe for you to take the sedation prior to your visit.
I.V. (intravenous) Sedation
If you have a procedure booked, and you are extremely nervous, speak to your dentist and ask whether IV sedation would be suitable for you and the procedure. IV sedation is, for most people, perfectly safe. It will make you feel extremely relaxed and induce what is often termed as “twilight sleep”. You will still be conscious and will be able to do as the dentist requests (e.g. opening your mouth wider), but you will unlikely be able to remember anything about the procedure itself. Most people remember sitting in the chair at the start of the appointment, then don’t remember anything else until the sedation has worn off.
This type of sedation will require you to be accompanied home by someone as you will be drowsy for a while until the sedation has worn off, and they should be with you for the remainder of the day. You won’t be able to perform anything other than light duties and must not sign any legal documents for 24 hours after the procedure.
Prior to IV sedation, you will need to give details of any medication you take and your general health condition to ensure that IV sedation is safe for you, and you must be aged 16 or over and not be pregnant. Speak to your dentist first to see if IV sedation will be suitable for you.
Hopefully, you will have found this article useful. If you have any questions, speak to the team at Cherry Trees Dental who will happily answer any questions you have.