The Psychology of Dentistry
Are you afraid to go to the dentist? Dental phobia or anxiety is real, and it can cause debilitating fear. What’s worse, these fears cause delay for oral disease treatment which then can lead to pain. This fear is actually very common and has been estimated to be 9% to 15% of Americans. That turns out to be about 35 million to 45 million people.
Naturally, no one wants to feel pain, and this is the number one fear that patients predict, “It’s going to hurt!”. The mouth is sensitive and in many cases patients are in a lot of pain before seeking treatment. It is important to tell us that you feel anxious or afraid so that we can better cater to your needs.
Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as ”laughing gas” is an effective and safe method to increase relaxation. Once the procedure is over, simply breathing oxygen flushes the nitrous out of the system and one will feel back to normal as well as able to drive.
Many people have had a bad experience as a child. These feelings of fear can follow a patient into adulthood. As an adult one may feel they should be able to cope and ‘get over’ the trauma of a past experience. However, psychologically this may not be possible without some help. Minimal sedation, or anxiolysis, allows patients to follow instructions during procedures. Although cognitive and physical impairments occur, airway reflexes are not affected. This type of sedation does require someone to drive the patient to and from the appointment.
Feelings of helplessness or feeling out of control during dental appointments may be similar to claustrophobia. If this is the case, let the team know this, and we can allow extra time for breaks. Simply raising a hand during the procedure will let us know a break is needed.
Embarrassment of one’s oral state should never be a reason to put off treatment. This is a very common reason patients apologize for not coming in earlier. Making that first appointment can be the hardest part. At Martin Dentistry, our team will never judge nor will we dismiss your feelings. We are happy that you chose our experienced team to aid in your oral health. Trusting us with your care is the greatest compliment you can give us.
Always feel free to discuss anxieties with our team. Many times just an understanding practitioner can calm fears enough to gain trust. Communication is key for us to provide your best treatment and to give you options. The Martin Dentistry Team‘s goal is treat our patients like friends. We thank you for entrusting us with your care and concerns.
The Martin Dentistry Team