Dental Anxiety is one of the most common problems among patients seeking dental treatment. In a survey conducted, more than 50% adults expressed anxiety at the prospect of dental treatment. We try to do our best to alleviate your anxiety, and make you comfortable so that your experience with us is a pleasant one. This page is also an attempt in that direction, it will help you understand what anxiety is, what its causes are and how we try to relieve it.
A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.
Anxiety can have negative effects on both the patient and the dentist.
For the patient, this usually manifests in delay in getting a problem attended to; waiting till the very last moment- till all other home remedies have stopped working. Or in the very least it will lead to frequently cancelling or postponing appointments. As a result, the treatment becomes more expensive, extensive and prolonged. For e.g., what could've been managed with a simple filling now needs a more complicated treatment such as a root canal followed by a crown. Over the long term, this can also result in a tooth loss, unattractive smiles and also bad breath.
For the dentist, besides the inconvenience of frequent cancellations and delays, this also results in a stressful appointment session. Work cannot be done as smoothly and efficiently, as when the patient is relaxed.
Fortunately anxiety can be effectively managed in most situations. The only expectation from the patient in such a situation is to trust the dentist and try to relax.
The most important aspect in managing anxiety is the establishment of a connection between the dentist and the patient. The patient feels much more comfortable if he/she feels a connection to the dentist. That also leads to an assurance that the dentist will be as gentle and caring as possible. It helps if the patient mentions at the outset, what part of the whole experience, he/she is anxious about. That lets the dentist respond to the patient appropriately and meaningfully.
A local anesthetic is frequently used to help manage pain during treatment. Although some patients are more scared of the needle than the drill, an injection of local anesthetic is always better, because once the patient knows that the procedure can't hurt, he/she is much more relaxed. Even the local anesthetic is not as painful as it used to be. Pre-anesthetic application of a numbing gel, and the finest [thinnest] needles make the injection surprisingly tolerable.
In extreme cases medications such as Valium can also be prescribed before the appointment to relax the patient.
These measures have helped us in our practice to successfully relieve the anxiety of hundreds of patients and make their dental appointment a stress-free experience.