Overcoming dental fear
Effective ways to cope with common dental fear
Dental fear and dental anxiety wreak havoc on the oral health of a large number of Australians. In fact, around one in six struggle with a high level of fear of dental work. Fortunately, there are some options to help you cope.
The Point Dental are experts in helping patients overcome dental fear. The techniques and approaches used include sleep dentistry, and form a unique part of our dental practice.
If you have been avoiding the dentist and would like helpful advice on how you can conquer your dental fear, contact The Point Dental.
Understanding dental fear and anxiety
When patients experience fear, anxiety or stress in a dental setting it can lead to the delay or avoidance of important treatment. Collectively known as ‘dental anxiety’, it can be associated with needles, drills, a past negative experience or just the atmosphere of a dentist.
For some patients, the fear is so severe that patients will completely avoid the dentist altogether, which may be classified as dental phobia. People with dental anxiety may experience:
- Racing heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Signs of panic and distress like crying
- Pacing, talking loudly, or fidgeting
If coping with dental fear or dental anxiety is something you find challenging, or perhaps even embarrassing, you are not alone. Our friendly staff can help you get through it. While the fear may feel irrational, it’s a legitimate concern for many patients. Thankfully, it’s not insurmountable.
How it affects your oral health
There is strong evidence that dental fear is connected to poorer oral health, less dental visits, and an impact on patients quality of life. Dental fear affects the dentist as well, if appointments are delayed or cancelled, and treatment is stressful and difficult to perform.
For those who experience fear of the dentists, and delay or avoid treatment, it can result in the worsening of dental issues. When dental issues become more complex, this may lead to increased fear, and the cycle of dental anxiety becomes even harder to break.
For these reasons, it can be very reassuring for patients who have dental fear to be in the care of dentists who are highly trained dental fear experts. By discussing your fear with your dentist, it is then possible to see which techniques may be available to help you receive your treatment.
Sleep dentistry as a solution
One of the wonderful and much sought after options now available for many patients with dental fear or dental anxiety is sleep dentistry. Sleep dentistry offers comfort and ease during treatment and is the most advanced form of sedation dentistry.
Sleep dentistry also suits patients looking for a pain-free procedure. Sleeping through a treatment is likely to benefit people who:
- Have a strong gag reflex
- Need multiple extractions or complex procedures
- Are afraid of needles
- Dislike the noises or smells from dental work
- Have had traumatic experiences in the past
We offer various sedative options prior to the procedure but general anaesthetic is the only one where you will be completely unconscious. The anaesthetic is administered by a professional and registered anaesthetist, and when you wake up, the hard work is over.
Alternatives to overcome dental anxiety
While sleep dentistry is an excellent method for some patients, it is not the only option. In many instances a patient-centred approach, that is caring and combined with fear management techniques can be very effective.
The technique depends on factors like your fear level, the type of procedure, and the length of the procedure. Examples of alternate solutions to help patients overcome dental fear include:
- Distraction techniques
- Providing control for the patients
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Penthrox inhalation sedation
- Intravenous sedation
Some patients find it helpful to bring a family member to appointments for support or to speak to an expert in an initial free consultation. Overall, communicating with your dentist about which strategies are right for you will yield the most positive outcome.
Book a consultation
It’s enormously beneficial for dental fear patients to visit a dentist that is trained and accustomed to treating dental fear patients. The Point Dental is Melbourne’s leading dental fear clinic and we make it our priority to care, listen and respond to our patients concerns.
Take the first step in controlling your fear and arrange a consultation with our dental fear experts today. Together we will work with you to make an informed decision in a comfortable, supportive and calm environment.