I am a Dentist and I wear it
proudly on my sleeve ! But a lot of people I meet and announce to them the same
when I introduce myself ….. well the responses nave been plenty and varied !
But one thing I can say for sure …… they’ve generally been negative !!!
Like I had this really sweet lady with not a mean bone in her body say …”its
not you Doc ….its just what you do ! I so really do hate dentists !”
Or the other time I met this group of fine looking educated and suave gentlemen …..till they got to know I was a dentist !And then there was no stopping them with all the funny dentist horror
movies and jokes!!
I could go on and on !and now I laugh with people when they make funny dentist jokes ! I’ve realized its not them but their genuine fear of the dentist /dental pain or dental phobia that’s
setting off their reactions !
In the last so many years of being a dentist ….18 to be precise I’ve seen all kinds of people …..the really
compliant ones ….. yes they do exist ! The really fearful ones ,the ones who start off being really scared and then settle down beautifully for the rest of your life , the ones who make sure
each appointment is like the fist one in their life and traumatize themselves
and the dentist And then we have the ones who
never ever settle and need a little more help than just a good dentist…..
They have a genuine problem and ever so often I have seen busy dentists
getting all angry and riled up with a patient for wasting time !The worst
strategy according to me …..makes the patient go further into a shell and more
non compliant as minutes pass and the dentist gets angrier !
It could be a case of
Dental Anxiety or Dental Phobia
…..and ive seen both both really closely
Those with dental anxiety will have a sense of uneasiness when it's time for their appointments.
They'll have exaggerated or unfounded worries or fears.
Dental phobia is a more serious condition. It's an intense
fear or dread. People with dental phobia aren't merely anxious. They are
terrified or panic stricken.And it’s a genuine problem.
Ive had a patient who exhibits a classic case of Dental Phobia …..she would come upto the office
building and before she could take the lift to our office ..turn around sit in
her car and drive back home !She would call from her car and say “Doc am
heading back home … I just cant get my self to come into the office ! Of course
we found a way to treat her .. but differently ! will tell you in just a bit how we dealt with
Dental anxiety we see in all our patients ! The word dentist
has something magical about it that evokes the anxiety response !
Patients may force themselves to go, but they may not sleep
the night before. It's not uncommon for people to feel sick — or, in some
cases, to actually get sick — while they're in the waiting room
And of course we have
ways to deal with that too !
Statistics reveal that 10% to 20 % of the people never end
up seeing a dentist at all and that’s a huge percentage !
Research has shown some common factors .
1.Fear of Pain — Fear of
pain as the main reason. The fear of pain is most common in adults 24 years and
older. This may be because their early dental visits happened before many of
the advances in "pain-free" dentistry.
2.Feelings Helpless —Patients
in the dental chair need to sit still , cant see what’s happening and have to
submit themselves completely making them feel helpless and out of control which
may trigger anxiety.
3.Being Self Conscious — The mouth is an intimate part of the body. People may feel ashamed or embarrassed to have a stranger looking inside. This may be a particular problem if they're
self-conscious about how their teeth look. Dental treatments also require physical
closeness. During a treatment, the hygienist's or dentist's face may be just a
few inches away. This can make people anxious and uncomfortable.
4. Bad Dental Experience — Anyone who has had pain or discomfort during previous dental procedures is likely to be more anxious the next time around.
The Changing Face Of Dentistry and Pain Management Today !
As time has gone by and Dental practice has become more
evolved and patient centric ..the level of dental anxiety and pain management
has become serious business
Some new research has set shop for gadets that make dental
anxiety seem lika thing of the past
The Dentalvibe gadget was invented by Dr. Stephen
Goldberg DDS. This invention focuses primarily on helping to reduce pain
in patients during dental procedures. Obviously this is quite important because
dental pain is one of the major reasons why people don’t get the dental
procedures they need as often as they need them.
The way the Dentalvibe works, is by tricking your brain
into not feeling pain while a needle is inserted during dental procedures.
Your brain will tend to ignore rhythmic sensations, but pay careful attention
to more random ones that don’t follow a rhythm. So, by creating just such a
non-constant rhythm, the device will get your brain to pay attention to that
instead of the pain of a needle during gum procedures.
One problem with many dental procedures is one of
communication. When you have a drill in your mouth, how do you properly
communicate with the dentist that there’s a problem? This leads to many
patients feeling like they are completely out of control during procedures even
though they are conscious.
One recent solution to this is the “DentalButton.” This is a
tool that connects to a dentist’s drill and allows the patient to press the
button and cut power to the drill if they are uncomfortable with what is going
at any point.
Many dentists have said that they use the button and it lets patients feel much more at ease and in control, even though few of them ever actually use it. But the psychological fear of
being out of control is a major problem for many dental patients, so even the
potential control that patients get back can go a long way to making procedures
Most injections at the dentists office
are handled with a needle. IN order for it to be done properly, the
dentist needs to make the anesthetic injection at exactly the right speed. If
they go too fast, it can cause the stinging sensation many people are used to
during a dental procedure. The Wand is a device that controls the injection
electronically using a computer, so that it goes much more smoothly without any
human error problems. This can take the guesswork out of the procedure on the
Dentist’s side, and make people a lot more calm and assured about the entire
process on the patient’s side.
Hard tissue lasers are getting popular as they can be used
to cut tooth structure without using the dental drill ….the sound of the drill
and the fear it evokes is one of the biggest problem dentists deal with ! The
advent of the hard tissue laser may make dental drilling a thing of the past !
No noise! No pain !
Dentistry couldn’t be better !
Research in the filed of Dental Hypnosis is making great
strides and with great success ! The process needs to be regulated .But for a
patient willing to be hypnotized …the dental experience can be magical !
Conscious Sedation :
Dental phobia can now be easily dealt with with Conscious
It involves sedating the patient with a cocktail of
anesthetics which make them completely comfortable and with no memory of the
dental treatment later .
Advantages being it can be carried out in the Dental office
and does not need complicated equipment .
But the dentist has to be thoroughly trained to administer
Tips to Help
Overcome Dentist Phobia
1. Find a dentist with high EQ (Emotional Quotient ) who
is willing to listen and talk to you
about your dental fears . This information will help the
dentist determine how to best manage and address those fears.
2. Pick a practice that works on schedules and are punctual about appointments ……remember
the longer you sit in the reception the more anxious you're likely to get …
3. Pick a Dental Practice that believes in keeping abreast
with advances .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.
4. 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.
5. Consider additional medication to relax. Many dentists
recommend sedation or anti-anxiety
medicine for extremely nervous patients. Find a dentist who offers these
options to help you get through the visit.
6. 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
7. 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
8. 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
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12.Pick a practice which is
large,cheerful and airy…..claustrophobic spaces and set off anxiety attacks .
Pleasant ambience ,fresh with some music playing and
cheerful faces…..all of this will help you get over your dental fear !
Still wondering about your next dental appointment !! Be
brave ,pick up that phone and schedule an appointment now ! Its never that bad
I sign off now …till next week again !