So many of us are putting off that dreaded visit to the dentist, waiting for a pain before we make that appointment. If you have a niggle in a tooth for quite a while now, maybe even since Covid times and are hoping it will go away itself, maybe let 2024 be the year where you take the bull by the horns and book a trip to the dentist?
The hardest part is lifting the phone
The hardest part when you have a dental fear or phobia, is usually getting the courage to lift that phone to make the first appointment. Often these fears start in childhood or adolescence related to a bad experience at the dentist way back then & it is so hard to move past this unless you find a caring, compassionate dentist who takes the extra time to understand your fear. If you can’t overcome the fear totally, you may well need to explore the option of finding a dentist who offers conscious sedation.
Lack of control
Many patients say the ‘lack of control’ they feel in the dental chair is the main reason for their fear, others state it is the noise of the dental drill. Since Covid, we have seen an increase in the number of adults and children put off by the clinical smell of the dental surgery also. It is worrying to see the number of young children who have never been to a dentist at all, and their first visit to the dentist is with a toothache or dental emergency. We recommend bringing children regularly to the dentist from the age of 2 or 3 to ensure they develop a positive experience with the dentist from a young age & to ensure they don’t develop a fear of the dentist as they get older.
Steps to reduce the main fear factors
Modern dental practices have now put steps into place to reduce these 3 main fear factors for our patients. For example in Frazer Dental, we have an open door policy where we invite you to bring a friend with you to act on your behalf if you are worried you won’t be able to talk for yourself whilst in the chair, this is also helpful at the initial consultation as that friend is there with you to make sure you understand what we say and the treatment plan provided. A written treatment plan will be provided. We also play welcoming music in the waiting room, corridors and dental surgery to help create a calming atmosphere. You will notice the calming scent of the diffusers dotted around the practice to create a nice non clinical scent and of course, if it’s the dental drill itself which you hate, we have noise cancelling earphones which we can provide you with to ensure you are not going to be distracted by the drill at all during your trip to the dentist.
Cost is a determining factor
Oftentimes when we have put off a visit to the dentist for a long time, we become anxious about the cost so it is reassuring to know that your local dentist may accept medical card, PRSI & dental health insurances so do contact us with your PPS number so we can see if you are eligible for any subsidized dental schemes. At Frazer Dental, we offer interest free payment plan options for many of the treatments we offer such as endodontics ( root canal treatments ), orthodontics & dental implants.
A lot of dental practices, have taken steps now to make it easier to know what you need to book, for example in our practice Frazer Dental, you have the option to make an appointment online now, without even lifting the phone by clicking onto our website & booking through the online booking system. This is particularly useful if you want to see the available time slots over the coming days & gives you options to book an emergency appointment, a pain appointment or sedation assessment.
If you have left it a long time to attend the dentist, then often we would recommend booking a pain appointment if you have pain or a check up if you don’t have pain and if we feel at initial consultation with you that you are so nervous that sedation might be the best option for you, then we will refer you in house to our sedation dentist, after we have given you a treatment plan and taken the initial X-rays ourselves.
Sedation might be right for you
Sedation is one option to help you overcome your fear of the dentist. Conscious sedation or IV sedation is the most powerful form of sedation offered in general and specialised dental practices. IV sedation also known as sleep sedation is fantastic as you usually don’t remember attending the appointment afterwards. It has the power to make you forget the whole visit to the dentist, so if you opt for IV sedation, you must arrange to have someone bring you home afterwards as you can’t drive or operate machinery for the rest of that day.
IV sedation is most popular
Sedation dentistry is becoming very popular nowadays especially as we are seeing an increase in the number of patients with severe dental phobia who haven’t attended the dentist since they Covid and need many treatments completed at one time. Conscious sedation is particularly useful if you wish to have all your dental treatment completed in 1-2 visits and need lots of treatments done. At Frazer Dental we recommend IV sedation especially for tricky wisdom tooth extractions, anyone requiring multiple fillings, anyone with a Gag reflex and anyone who just feels they can’t cope with having to attend the practice multiple times to have a root canal treatment or other treatments done. A thorough assessment is required beforehand and we require a full medical history including details of all your previous operations and current list of medications before a decision can be made about whether or not IV sedation is the best option for you.
Happy gas & oral sedation
Nitrous oxide sedation (happy gas) and oral sedation are other forms of sedation which your dentist may employ especially for children or teenagers.
The hardest part is lifting the phone to call the dentist if you have left it a long time, so let 2024 be the year you make that call and overcome that fear of the dentist once and for all.
Dr Rachael Frazer
Sensodyne Dentist of the Year for nervous patients award winner & Most Child Friendly Dental Practice Award Winner.