Nothing personal Doc - 'I Hate Dentists' - The Feel Good Guide to Going to Dentist.
Nothing personal Doc - 'I Hate Dentists' - The Feel Good Guide to Going to Dentist.
If, like most people, you experience some degree of anxiety when it comes time to see your dentist, the following suggestions can help you to relax before and during dental treatment. What's important is to recognise your anxiety, accept it as a common reaction to an uncertain situation and learn to master it.
1. Start by sharing your feelings with your dentist and dental hygienist. Let them know that you are fearful, tense, or anxious so that they can tailor their treatment and their pace to your needs. Often, a pain reliever can be given if it's pain you fear.
2. Set aside a stress-free time for your dental visit - a time when you won't be rushed, physically strained, or troubled by other concerns.
3. Being friendly and sociable helps establish trust and warmth, both of which can do wonders in allaying your fears and in reducing tension. You might also have a close friend or family member accompany you to your appointment to make you more at ease.
4. Try to identify your specific fears and concerns. While these fears are very understandable, it is important to recognise that they often are not realistic given the modern, pain-free techniques now used in dentistry.
5. Get a good night's sleep the day before and eat a light breakfast the day of your appointment. To allow unconstrained movement, wear loose, comfortable clothes. Especially avoid wearing constricting necklines, such as tight collars.
6. Schedule short dental appointments by having different procedures performed on different days, if possible. Also arrange to break from lengthy procedures now and then.
7. Use visualisation to feel more comfortable and relaxed both before and during a dental visit. You can focus on a relaxing scene from a favourite vacation spot or activity and hold it before your "mind's eye" during treatment.
8. During the dental visit, practise distraction and relaxation techniques to take your mind off the treatment and to reduce tension. You might focus, for instance, on such pleasant distractions as soft music or a colorful poster.
9. Ask the dentist or hygienist to explain each step of the dental examination or procedure. The more you know about the reasons for a certain procedure and what will be done during it, the more confident and relaxed you'll be.
10. Once the dental visit is over, praise yourself for a job well done! You might also treat yourself to a special reward for overcoming your dental anxiety.
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10 Tips to Help You Overcome Dentist Phobia
1. Tell the dentist about your fears. This information will help the dentist determine how to best manage and address those fears. By letting the dentist know exactly why the experience is difficult for you, you will feel more control in the examination chair.
2. Remember that dental procedures have greatly improved in the past few years. Modern dentistry offers new methods and treatment options to make you feel comfortable.
3. Your dentist can explain the entire procedure to you beforehand, as well as walk you through step-by-step while the procedure is being performed. You always have the right to fully understand the work being done on your teeth.
4. Consider additional medication to relax. Many dentists recommend nitrous oxide, sedation or anti-anxiety medicine for extremely nervous patients. Find a dentist who offers these options to help you get through the visit.
5. Find a dentist you are comfortable with and establish a trusting relationship. There are many personalities in the dental profession. Find a dentist who makes you feel at ease and is willing to work with you on your fears.
6. Breathe deeply and try to relax. Some dentists recommend practicing relaxation techniques before and during the appointment. Other dentists find that listening to music, or scheduling an appointment first thing in the morning, before the stresses of the day add up, also help patients to relax.
7. Talk to the dentist about stopping if you're uncomfortable. Many of the dentists surveyed said they establish a signal to "stop" with their patients. This puts you in control of the procedure and alerts the dentist if you're uncomfortable or need to take a break during the appointment.
8. Visit the dentist regularly to prevent problems. For fearful patients, just going for a check up can be nerve-wracking, but the more you go to the dentist for routine cleanings, the more likely you are to avoid larger problems that result in extensive procedures.
9. Visit the office and talk to the staff before your first appointment. You should feel free to meet with the dentist and to ask questions before scheduling your appointment. Meeting the dentist and his or her staff first will help you find a dentist you like and trust.
10. Go slow. Dentists are happy to go slow with nervous patients. If possible, make sure your first visit is a simple one, such as a cleaning. This will help you build your relationship with the dentist before going in for a more difficult procedure.
TREATMENT METHODS OF OVERCOMING DENTAL PHOBIA
If you are anxious about dental treatment then you are not alone. Between 6-14% of the population avoid attending the dentist because of anxiety about treatment. Between 45-55% of patients who attended the dentist are anxious in the dental environment.
The reasons people fear attending the dentist are varied and include pain, cost of treatment, lack of control while in the dental chair, embarrassment and fear of the unknown. The cause of dental anxiety is usually a previous bad experience, but can be caused indirectly through horror stories about dental treatment from family, friends and even the media.
The fear of treatment may appear to the patient to be irrational, uncontrollable and without obvious cause. Such patients will only attend for treatment when in extreme discomfort or never at all. As a result their dental condition deteriorates to the point where their appearance is affected. This can cause embarrassment and loss of self-confidence which in turn can cause problems socially and at work.
For other patients, the fear is not so deep seated. They can explain the cause of their anxiety and can usually control it to some extent. However, they are still anxious about dental treatment and will try and avoid it where possible.
Fear of dental treatment can be overcome by a variety of treatment methods which are described on this website.
When you make the appointment to see the dentist, tell the receptionist you are nervous about treatment. This first appointment will usually be to discuss your fears about treatment and to do an initial examination of your teeth. From this appointment a provisional treatment plan can be made. Depending on what you and the dentist decide, this plan can include one or more of the the treatment methods outlined below.Initially, you may wish to have treatment using one or more of these described methods. However, the ultimate aim should be to reduce your anxiety to a level that it is possible to have treatment without any assistance. This is not possible in all cases, but where it can be achieved it is very satisfying for both patient and dentist.
There are several methods available to help you overcome your fears while dental treatment is being done.
This is the simplest method of treatment for nervous patients. It involves a careful and sympathetic approach from the dentist, with explanations of what is being done and allowing the patient control over the procedure.
Some patients may want to bring a friend along for support. It may also be possible to play relaxing music or to watch a video while having treatment.
This involves the use of oral sedative drugs e.g. diazepam, midazolam, which are taken before treatment. They can also be taken the night before treatment to help you sleep.
The sedative effect of these drugs is unpredictable and can vary between individuals. Because the drugs are taken by mouth it is impossible to quickly increase or decrease the amount sedation.
They are best used for sedation the night before treatment to ensure restful sleep or to produce light sedation during treatment where anxiety levels are low.
While under the effects of the drug, the patient must be accompanied by a responsible adult and refrain from driving and operating machinery.
This involves administering a sedative drug in order to produce a very relaxed state so that treatment can be carried out. The drug also causes short term memory loss so that very little of the treatment can be remembered.
The drug is administered through one of the veins in the arm or hand. The amount of drug given varies between individuals but enough is injected to produce relaxed state within five minutes. Because the drug acts very quickly, more can be given if necessary to increase the feeling of relaxation.
The effects of the drug can last up eight hours after and the patient must be accompanied by a responsible adult and refrain from driving, operating machinery or other responsible activities during this time.
It can be used on most healthy adults but must be avoided in patients with severe lung disease, some heart problems, obesity or in pregnancy. It is also not suitable for children or the elderly.
This type of sedation is very safe as the patient is not unconscious as in general anaesthesia. It works for the vast majority of patients and it is a very effective way of providing dental treatment. It is also very effective in treating patients who gag easily.
This involves giving a mixture of nitrous oxide ('laughing gas') and oxygen which are inhaled through a rubber face mask. The nitrous oxide reduces anxiety and improves co-operation, without causing unconsciousness.
The effects of the nitrous oxide wears off very quickly and the patient can leave the surgery without the need for an accompanying adult.
This technique can used for most patients but must be avoided in those with colds and other respiratory problems, psychiatric treatment, vitamin B12 deficiency and in pregnancy. This form of sedation is particularly useful for treating anxious children.
General anaesthesia (GA) involves being 'put to sleep' in order to provide dental treatment. It is only available in hospitals and specialist centres, and must be administered by a qualified anaesthetist. Because of the slight risks involved with GA, it is only used where there is no other option. The procedure is usually limited to adults who are undergoing complex treatments (e.g. extraction of wisdom teeth) or are not suitable for the other methods of treatment described. It is also used to treat anxious children. Treatment provided under GA is usually limited to extractions and simple fillings.
This involves the use of hypnotherapy to reduce anxiety.
It is very effective in people who are respond well to hypnosis. It may involve one or more preliminary sessions before treatment is attempted. The hypnosis may be done by a hypnotist working with a dentist or by the dentist if he is qualified in hypnotherapy.
This type of treatment is not widely available and can be time consuming and expensive.
This form of treatment is used to treat a whole range of phobias and anxiety disorders. The psychotherapist will initially try and locate the origin of your fears. They will then follow a program of therapy designed to overcome or control your anxiety sufficiently for you to undergo dental treatment.
Acupuncture is a medical treatment which can be used to relieve the symptoms of a variety of physical and psychological conditions including dental anxiety. Each patient's case is assessed by the practitioner and treatment will be tailored to the individual.
A Simple 5 Minute Cure for Dental Anxiety
Many of us feel extremely anxious when we think of visiting the dentist. This fear is the cause of procrastination in scheduling dental appointments, missed or cancelled appointments, and difficulty in tolerating procedures during dental care.
Although many dentists will try to convince you that these fears are unfounded, we believe that there are actually many good reasons (even aside from painful past dental experiences) to feel anxious about visiting the dentist. By understanding these reasons and utilizing our simple techniques, dental anxiety can become a thing of the past!
The oral cavity is one of the most tender and most vulnerable parts of our body. We feed ourselves through it and kiss our loved ones with it--the mouth is literally a path to our innermost self. The tongue is the only organ in our body which is fully developed at birth and functions fully during the first 2 months of life. Our infant lives are dependent upon it for nourishment, to communicate and express our feelings, and to explore the world (We all know how infants just seem to put everything they touch into their mouths!). During this early part of our lives, we are helpless and dependent, unable to express ourselves fully, and vulnerable to pain outside of our control.
Does this describe the feelings aroused by a dental visit?!
During dental care, we place our mouths in a very vulnerable position. If we feel helpless, these infant experiences of dependency and vulnerability will arise from our unconscious minds. The result: anxiety.
A visit to the dentist is unlike any other medical experience. We place ourselves in a physically vulnerable position (on our backs), and suspend our usual physical boundaries by allowing the dentist to "invade" our bodies. We render ourselves unable to communicate in the usual way (since our mouths are what's being tended to), and anticipate pain, while remaining conscious and fully alert. The physical proximity of the dentist may be perceived as threatening, and if we add to the mix the negative associations many of us have with doctors or other authority figures, it is easy to see how feelings of anxiety might arise.
Most of us agree that anxiety and fear notwithstanding, the benefits of timely dental visits far outweigh the cost of avoiding them. How then, do we cope with the anxiety we feel when faced with a dental appointment?
Eliminating Acute Anxiety
This exercise is intended to give you control over the physical discomfort of anxiety.
1. Before your dental appointment, imagine yourself in the anxiety producing situation
In order to eliminate anxiety, one must first recognize the feeling of being anxious.
Sit in a chair in a quiet place and picture yourself in a stressful situation, dental or non-dental. For example, a stressful dental situation might be either anticipating a dreaded dental experience or remembering a past dental experience. A non-dental example might be speaking in front of a large group of people.
At first, try standing "outside" of yourself and watch yourself in the difficult situation. Then try to experience the situation yourself, looking at it from the "inside".
Once you feel anxious, or physical discomfort, go on to #2.
2. Locate where in your body the anxiety 'lives,' such as a tense neck or back, clenched fists, nervous stomach, unconsciously holding your breath, or dizziness. Close your eyes. Pretend to travel inside of your body and find the place where the stress seems to "live". This is often the stomach, chest, head, hands or arms. This area feels different and separate from the rest of your body.
3. Measure the anxiety on a 1-10 scale. Rate the degree of discomfort on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst. This will allow you to monitor your progress.
4. This step is important: Explore the "size, shape, borders and texture" of the anxiety.
The area of discomfort feels different and separate from the rest of your body. Try to isolate it and explore its "borders" and "shape". Is it "large" or "small"? "Round" or "square"? Localized or diffuse? How deep does it go? All the way to your back? Or is it shallow and just under the surface? Is it a solid, liquid or gas?
5. Manipulate the anxiety: make it larger, smaller, softer, etc.
Now that you have a clear idea of the stress you're feeling, you can do things to change it. First, make it bigger. Take all the concentration you need to do this, and when you're ready, rate it on a scale of 1-10. (It will probably be less than 10.) Then, make the area smaller, like a golf ball or an egg. Now, you can move it around, forward and back, or side to side. As you begin to gain control of the anxiety, you can begin opening a path from where the anxiety "lives" to your throat. Now, move the spot of discomfort to your throat, then take a deep breath and blow it out of your mouth.
6. Re-measure the anxiety. Do your 1-10 rating. By now, it will probably feel much less!
These steps give you some control over your anxiety, which enables you to reduce it.
What if these tactics to overcome the fear of visiting a dentist don't work?
In some cases a step-by-step desensitization program can eliminate severe fear of the dentist. Another option is medication to help you relax for your appointments. Discuss this possibility with your dentist.
"Your relationship with your dentist is based on trust, and you should expect to be treated as an individual. Make requests. Don't hesitate to ask for special treatment.
Treating Children Who Fear the Dentist
Some children have a deep-seated fear of dentists, making dental appointments a traumatizing experience. However, it is important that children have regular dental checkups. There are tips for dealing with children who have dental anxiety or severe dental phobia, including:
Start dental checkups at an early age, so the child will be comfortable and familiar with dental appointments.
Enforce good oral hygiene, so trips to the dentist are minimal.
Be careful not to convey your fears of the dentist to your child.
Another option to treat a child's dental anxiety is to find a dentist who specializes in pediatric care. Pediatric dentists have special training that allows them to help anxious children feel safe and secure during dental checkups and procedures. They also offer kid-friendly offices, so the environment is inviting and comfortable for children.
If not addressed during younger years, dental anxiety can develop into severe dental phobia as one gets older. To prevent bad oral hygiene later in life, the above suggestions can work to calm your child's fear of dentists.
Vogue Smile Melbourne practices a full scope of general and cosmetic dentistry with unconditional commitment to excellence in delivering quality, warm, personalized dental treatment and care.