Dental Fear/Anxiety Management

Dental fear or anxiety is a problem for millions of people all over the world, but why is it so common? There are many diverse reasons as to why so many of us are fearful when it comes to visiting the dentist.

Many of these reasons stem from past experiences;  we as humans have an instinctive nature to avoid any situation that may inflict pain, therefore if an individual has had a painful experience at the dentist before, they may be too scared to return. Over a number of years, and the continuous avoidance of the dentist, the fear often intensifies; the memory becomes warped and often the idea of the pain is much worse than the actual pain endured.

Dental anxiety that cannot be pin pointed to a specific cause or event, has been found to stem from the fear of ’the unknown’, and is often deep rooted from childhood appointments when the dentist most likely directed their attention and information to parents. This lack of understanding causes apprehension and confusion and can often result in a long term issue with visiting the dentist.

The sounds associated with the dentist can often be enough to send people into a panic. The fear of the high pitched noise of the drill and the suction is something that dentists are familiar with. Drilling inside the mouth, combined with the vibrations will make the noises a lot more frightening. This phobia is normally associated with a bad memory, most likely that at one point the patient experienced pain while the dentist was drilling.

Our dental team have much experience caring for nervous patients, and take the time to discuss with them exactly what treatment they will be receiving and what they should expect from the procedure. By gaining a clear understanding of treatment and experiencing a high level of care and compassion, patients often feel more relaxed, and more willing to undergo treatment needed.

If you are suffering from dental anxiety due to a past experience, the anxiety can often be partially over come just by meeting and talking with your dental team.  We take time to demonstrate the tools and drills to nervous patients; this exposes them to what it is that they are afraid of, and gives them time to digest and come to terms with the upcoming treatment.

We also recommend to patients, who are fearful of the noises, to bring along a set of earphones to distract them during drilling. It can also be comforting for patients to bring along a friend or family member to their appointment, having someone there to support you can do wonders.