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HOW TO MANAGE DENTAL ANXIETY

Do you need Help with Dental Anxiety?

Dental Anxiety is described as a fear of the dentist and the general dental setting that results in avoiding dental treatment.  Extreme fears of dental drills and needles  can lead to developing an extreme dental phobia.  This can be made worse if you already suffer general anxiety and depression.

A sign of dental anxiety is sweating, racing heartrate, palpitations, feeling faint, crying or having panic attacks.  Even if dental treatment is simple you may have such a fear that you constantly move or cancel your appointments.

It is usually a past traumatic dental experience that leads to dental fear, anxiety and phobia.  But is may also be another general healthcare experience, a traumatic life experience affecting your trust and control, or an obsessive compulsive disorder.

Dental anxiety can affect children and adults and can last a lifetime.

What will happen to my Oral Health if I avoid the Dentist?

Regular dental checks, cleans and screening X-rays can help detect dental problems early.  This means that simple, less invasive treatments like small fillings and minor dental cleaning, are more likely to fix the dental problem.

Avoiding the dentist due to anxiety and fear can result in dental disease becoming more complex to solve, more invasive and more expensive, like root canal treatments and extractions.  This exacerbates the fear of the dentist as you associate it with stressful situations rather than simple routine dental visits.

Looking after your oral health is as important as your general health.  The lifestyle factors that lead to dental disease are also linked to systemic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

What can we do to help you Manage your Fear of the Dentist?

It is important to choose a dentist who recognises your fear and is sympathetic to your situation.

“ Here at our Spring Hill Dentist, we work hard to help you manage your fear and feel comfortable and relaxed, we have a number of ways to help you do this at our dental practice”  Dr Barbara Szylkarski  

 

These include:

  • Deep breathing, ceiling television for distraction, music and a general homely, relaxed setting is incredibly effective and simple.  We also use WAND numbing technology which is extremely comfortable.

 

  • Relative Analgesia or Nitrous Oxide, also known as happy gas or laughing gas is one of our most effective relaxants. Oxygen and nitrous oxide pass through a mask fitted to your nose and within a few minutes you feel relaxed.  You are awake, can talk to the dentist and it wears off quickly at the end of your treatment.

 

  • If you do not like the feeling of the happy gas, you can try oral tablets instead. These can be prescribed by the dentist or your GP after consultation and discussion.  These are called anxiolytics – such as temazepam.  Taken the night before the appointment and then 1 hour prior to your appointment, someone is required to accompany you to our Spring Hill Dental Practice and you cannot drive for 24 hours to ensure the medication has worn off.

 

  • Conscious Sedation and General Anaesthesia are two options that involve an anaesthetist and more involved pre-operative and post-operative care. These are not suitable for everyone.
    • Conscious Sedation: If you would like this option we organise a referral to an accredited specialist dental setting for your treatment. The sedation is provided through an IV line.  You are asleep but you can respond to verbal commands and you usually have no memory of the treatment.
    • General Anaesthesia: It is more difficult to provide dental treatment under General anaesthesia as dental treatment is sometimes better staged over several visits and time under general anaesthesia can be limited. This option requires a full hospital setting with some care provided awake in our dental setting and the more invasive treatment completed asleep by a specialist.

We would love to help you conquer your fear of the dentist, you can book online at our Spring Hill Dentist in Brisbane and have a chat with us about how we can help make your visit relaxing and enjoyable.  Or have a read about our difference with Dr Barbara at our Spring Hill Dental Practice.

Accredited

We are an Accredited Dental Practice and a Member of the Australian Dental Association

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