is a serious and often paralyzing fear of seeking dental care. Fear is a learned behaviour which, therefore, can be unlearned. Patient-centred behaviour modification that treats you as a whole person, not as a set of teeth can help you overcome your fears. Our nervous patient programme has been developed to incorporate the following:
Explanation and clarification of any and all procedures proposed is your right as a patient. If you have a question about a particular procedure, ask it! Empower yourself with the knowledge to alleviate fear of the unknown. You should have input into treatment decisions and choices. You should be honest with your dentist regarding how much treatment you think you can tolerate at first. As you build confidence in yourself and trust in the team that is caring for you, the length of your appointment and the amount of work accomplished will increase.
A signalling system should be established allowing you to stop for any reason, whether it be because you need more anesthesia, want to rinse, or simply need a break. The most common signal is raising your hand.
If you have been ridiculed in the past for your behaviour or if you are embarrassed by your present dental condition caused by your neglect, please express yourself honestly and give your dentist a chance to understand your concerns and show you that they care. You will be amazed at the wealth of treatment options that you might not have thought were possible. With modern dentistry, it's never too late to recreate a new smile!
If you feel tense in the chair, the easiest way to relax is through forms of physical relaxation. A relaxed body promotes a clear and relaxed mind. The human body cannot be physically relaxed and mentally anxious at the same time! The brain won't process these feelings simultaneously. Physical relaxation methods are easier to accomplish at first as compared to cognitive ones, so practice forms of physical relaxation first. Examples of physical relaxation are Diaphragmatic Breathing, Progressive muscle relaxation and various methods of taught yoga.
A relaxed body promotes a clear and relaxed mind. By inducing relaxation in the presence of the stimuli that normally induce phobias (the dental environment), the fear response is greatly diminished over multiple exposures and you will gradually desensitize yourself to these fears as you build confidence. The memories of traumatic visits will be replaced with more innocuous ones and this less threatening environment coupled with your relaxation methods will help you alleviate your fears.
As you get more comfortable in the dental environment, you can engage in various distraction techniques that are available. The use of MP3 players is a common technique. We only suggest distraction techniques once you have established some trust and confidence because your ability to communicate will be compromised, although it is easy to stop any of these devices if need be.
Modern dentistry has many new techniques with regards to the administration of local anaesthetics to block any possibility of pain. There are many people who have anatomical or biological variations that do require more individualized techniques in order to predictably achieve proper local analgesia. This variation must be respected and communicated to your dentist. All injections should be given slowly. The needle itself is not the major cause of discomfort, but in fact, it is the pressure and volume of fluids being injected that causes the discomfort. There are also great differences in the types of tissue in various locations anatomically and from person to person that must be considered when administering injections.
Patience and understanding will convert almost any dental phobic but in extreme cases we can use oral sedation prior to treatment.
I used to be an incredibly nervous patient and I hadn't been to see a dentist for many years. This obviously had a knock-on effect. It was when my two front teeth became really loose that I decided I had to do something.
I live in Cranleigh and work in Woking and it was a work colleague who recommended Goldsworth Road Dental Centre Practice. They couldn't have been better: they're really understanding and Felicity (Martin), in particular, is wonderful.
Felicity takes appointments at my pace and is happy to stop at any point. I've been a patient here now for about three years and there has been a complete change in the way I feel about going to the dentist.
When I was younger I had to have four teeth taken out for a brace. It was in the days when they gave you gas and air but I came round half way through the extractions to a gruesome sight. This was obviously very traumatising.
This dentist then gave me more gas and air and it made me very sick for the following four days. The experience was enough to make me terrified of dentists and I developed a very sensitive gag reflex, which made things worse.
I have gone from being really nervous and not going to the dentist for years, to having cosmetic treatments out of choice!
I have had my two front teeth and one back tooth replaced with dental implants and Mr Pritchard placed these. The service has been so good – and my implants are amazing. I forget they're there; they are part of me now. They blend in perfectly with the rest of my teeth and it doesn't feel like they're not real. You really wouldn't know.
I've also had all of my metal fillings replaced with white ones. This is definitely worth doing because when you smile, you can always see glimpses of metal in your mouth.
I work in a media company in finance and have a team of 18 staff. This means I am often giving talks and demonstrations and I was always quite conscious of my teeth and their condition, so much so that I would cover my mouth when I smiled or laughed. Since the treatments have been carried out my teeth look great – this has made a big difference to my smile and confidence.
I also see the hygienist every quarter and she's excellent. She is very honest and if you're doing something wrong, she'll explain how you can do it better, and likewise, if you're doing something right she'll compliment you. She's so thorough and I come out feeling great.