I’ll admit, I’ve never really had an issue with visiting my dentist. My sister on the other hand, now that’s a totally different story altogether. When we were young we used to go to the dentist but only find out where we were going at the very last minute. It was at this point that the hysterics would begin as well as the constant reassurance and hand holding until the whole ordeal was over. While the tantrums have calmed down (at least where the dentist is concerned) now that’s she grown up, any mention of visits to the dentist brings out sheepishness and comments of how much she hates going.
The problem with this is that this type of reaction is more common than people would think. Dental practices are fully aware of these reactions or ‘dental phobias’ and take it very seriously, doing their utmost to make sure their practices offer the most comfortable experience possible for their patients. These days’ patients have less to worry about with new practices with modern equipment helping to remove some of the stress out of the whole ordeal.
Music has often been used as a way to help relax patients however some practices are going a step further. In some cases treatment rooms are fitted with TVs or they have multimedia screens that can be used to help take the patients mind off of any treatments they’re undergoing. There are also a lot of techniques practices use to set up a relaxing and comfortable ambience. Warm colours, comfortable chairs and storing equipment out of sight help to create a welcoming environment in the treatment rooms. Comfortable waiting rooms, full of distractions like magazines, music and TVs also help to calm a patient before their appointments.
When it comes to treatments, modern advancements have helped to take the pain away from some of the more scary procedures. These days’ injections for anaesthetics have been removed, being replaced by modern injectors that don’t use a needle, injecting anaesthetic into the gums through pressure. Numbing dental gels are also available for treatments including cleaning and scaling to help make the patient more comfortable.
If you have a dental phobia and can’t stand the visits, or even if your fears are putting you off from booking an appointment – maybe it’s time you tried looking for a new dentist. If you’re dental practice is old and impersonal; shop around and see if you can find one that’s more to your liking. Generally you might have to pay a bit more for dental practices using advanced techniques and really consider the feelings of their patients but you need to ask yourself, isn’t the money wort
Gareth writes on a number of health topics on behalf of dental insurance provider AXA PPP healthcare