Dentists and fear: two things often associated with each other. It’s just something we dentists live with, but did you know, it’s not necessary for patients to live with this often deeply ingrained fear.
Today, there are ways around the fear and sleep dentistry is one of them.
What does a fear of dentists do?
A fear of dentists and dental treatment paralyses people.
Like most dentists, I regularly see patients who have an excessive fear of anything remotely dental. They are fearful of coming to the dentist and they are even more fearful of the treatment they’ll need when they get there.
This is understandable, and is often the result of one (or a number) of negative dental experiences, this fear can be very debilitating. I frequently hear patients say it feels like they have no control over the process or outcomes and in many cases – far too many – they decide not to seek treatment at all.
In fact, this is the worst thing they could do for their dental health.
Weekly, if not daily, I see patients who have opted out of dental treatment for a long time and reached a point where they finally had to make a different choice.
The pain became so intense, or the discomfort so unbearable, they’ve been left with no other option but to face their dental fear and seek treatment. In many cases, the remedial treatment justifies the fear, as more complex work is required to address issues that have been left too long.
So what are the options if you have an intense fear of dental treatment?
As a local dentist treating ordinary people everyday I encourage patients with high anxiety levels just to come in and discuss their options.
What surprises them is sleep dentistry is a way to have their fear AND receive the quality dental care they need.
What is sleep dentistry?
Sleep dentistry is anesthesia administered to patients during treatment that eliminates the concerns, anxiety, and discomfort that may be associated with the dental treatment. It is ideal for patients who:
- Have a fear of needles and a low pain threshold
- Feel uncomfortable with typical dental sights, sounds, smells, and tastes
- Have jaw issues or difficulty keeping their mouth open for extended periods
- Struggle with trauma from previous negative dental experiences
- Need to have multiple dental treatments simultaneously
- Have an intellectual disability or advanced ADHD
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing during dental treatment
Fear should never prevent you from receiving the best dental care available
As a dentist, my priority is to provide patients with gentle care that builds confidence and helps manage fears. If you experience any anxiety at all with dental treatment, look for a dentist who truly cares.