Up to one in four people in the UK fear a trip to the dentist to some extent. This blog aims to offer some useful advice on how to deal with this issue for both adults and children, and relate some aspects of modern dental care that should hopefully offer some further reassurance.
Dealing with nervous adults
Many people put off going to the dentist for years out of fear, which can risk their over dental health. It is much better to try and overcome trepidation – the better your teeth are looked after, the less likely it is that you’ll need extensive dental work.
When you return to the dentist, there are a number of ways to ease anxiety. Look for a dentist with experience of dealing with anxious patients, or ask family and friends to recommend a dentist they have had good experiences with. Always make your chosen dentist aware of your anxiety straight away.
Try to visit the surgery before making an appointment, to meet the staff and become used to the environment. Your first appointment is always a simple check-up – nothing more complex. Here you can get to know your dentist further.
When arranging an appointment, try to get an early slot so that you’ll have less time to dwell on it. You can be accompanied by a friend or family member, and they will normally be able to sit in with you during your appointment. Listening to relaxing music on a personal stereo can also help.
If you’re extremely nervous, you can ask your dentist for a reference to an NHS sedation clinic. These are specially equipped for helping patients who suffer from dental phobia, using chemical sedatives to help ease tension.
Dealing with nervous children
It’s perfectly natural for children to be afraid of the dentist. When taking your child to the dentist, it’s important that you should stay calm to prevent them picking up on any anxiety.
Try to explain about the visit in simple terms, but don’t give too much information; dentists are specially trained to relate more complex information to children in non-threatening terms that are easy to understand.
Don’t tell your child that the treatment may hurt, or about any traumatic experience you may have had. Instead, tell them about how it is important to keep their teeth and gums clean, and that the dentist is there to help them do that.
Dentists themselves use a number of techniques to put children at their ease, from tone of voice to using conversation and storytelling to distract the child’s attention. If your dentist does not attempt to ease your child’s fears, it may be best to find another dentist.
Advances in Dental Treatment
Happily for those who do worry about dental work, advances in technology and changes to the environment of the surgery have done a great deal to make it a much more pleasant environment.
Surgeries are now much friendlier places, with well-decorated reception areas and ambient music. Most equipment is concealed from direct view, and many of the smells and sounds are much less evident than they used to be.
Some treatments can now be completely painless; computerised ‘dental wands’ can deliver doses of anaesthetic without the use of needles. Where hypodermics are used, numbing gel can be applied to the gums to negate the feeling of the needle being applied.
If you are considering returning to the dentist but feel nervous about doing so, be sure to visit one of Smile Pad’s dental clinics in London, Bristol, Chertsey or Salisbury. We offer expert advice for nervous dental patients & will be happy to answer any queries you might have on any aspect of dental treatment and care.