Fear of Dentists: How to Cope and Get the Treatment You Need Blog

4 September 2016

Fear of Dentists:

Many people strongly dislike the dentist, either due to an unpleasant experience in the past, or simply because the idea of visiting the dentist frightens them. If you struggle with fear of the dentist or anxiety over your dental check-ups, you are most definitely not alone. This consensus is extremely common. Continue reading on more information on how to tackle your fear of the dentist.

It is not always just small children who need guidance and a gentle hand when visiting the dentist. Dentistry is a considerably invasive form of medicine, which can make people uncomfortable to begin with. If the individual is uncomfortable with their teeth, this may worsen the situation, as they will be embarrassed. There are always solutions to these problems. Do not allow an unfortunate experience in the past to taint your view on all dentists. The right dentist will make you feel calm, relaxed, and safe.

If you currently visit a dental office that makes you uncomfortable, or one that you do not leave feeling that you have received the best care possible, begin a search for a better option. While the office may be the closest that accepts your insurance, you may find that a bit of a longer drive will be worth it. Search online, and be sure to take a look at reviews posted by current patients. Reviews are an essential key to selecting a new dentist; they allow you to gather more information straight from people who know first-hand what that office is like. If you are unable to read reviews online, gather some information from your phone book and set aside some time to drive around your area to scope out different offices. Simply walking inside and talking to reception about what to expect at your first visit can give you some insight as well.

If you currently have a dentist that takes good care of you, but you just cannot seem to shake your fear, be sure to explain to him or her in detail what scares you about coming to the dentist. Always remember that dental professionals exist solely because they wish to help you maintain your oral health;they are here to help you, it is never their intention to hurt you. If your dentist knows all of your fears and concerns, they will be able to understand your situation a little more, which will help them immensely in attempting to make your visit as comfortable and worry-free as possible. If you speak with an assistant before you speak to the dentist, tell them all of your concerns. Dental assistants are a great medium to use, as it is their job to comfort patients and communicate their wants and needs to the dentist. Talking with a dental assistant may seem more achievable for those who are simply afraid to speak with dentists.

Keep in mind that modern dentistry has come a long way. If you haven’t been to the dentist in awhile, even as little as five years, you will discover that many advances have been made. Most offices now use digital x-rays, which are much easier to take, and less of a stress or pain for patients. Numbing agents have been developed that provide a pain-free experience for every patient, no matter what procedure they may be having done. Procedures themselves have become much more advanced, with new tools that get the job done in a painless and relatively quick manner.

If you are still wary about visiting the dentist, it is always best to simply talk with your dentist. You will most likely learn that he or she will be eager to help make your visits as comfortable as possible

Covid-19 and your care

We have now received clear guidance as to what dental procedures we can safely carry out and at what stages during the pandemic.

Below is a summary of the guidance as we understand it, although this may modify over the next few days as some small inconsistencies are clarified.

The government has set five different risk levels for the pandemic 1-5 (low to high), although this changes on a daily basis.

The treatments that we can carry out safely in dental practice will change with the risk level.

Treatments are significantly limited at level 4.

During the next few weeks, we will attempt to contact each patient that has contacted us with a significant dental problem during lockdown, and we hope to book an assessment appointment for those patients in the week commencing 8th June.

Practice doors will be locked at level 3, 4 and 5. Entry to the practice will be limited to pre-booked appointments.

There will be very clear criteria provided in due course as what is required before arriving at the practice, and what the procedure will be upon arrival. We will endeavour to ensure that each person knows exactly what to expect at their visit as this will be quite different to what you have been used to.

The appointment diary will be structured to take into consideration those patients who are shielding, may have underlying medical issues and so on.

The first week is expected to be a slow start as we ensure that the new protocols are working effectively for everyone’s safety. These protocols will be audited and modified until required.

At level 4 we should be able to carry out the following:

Dental assessment (initially restricted to patients who have current urgent need, or did and contacted us during lockdown).

X rays but only for patients who tolerate them well.

TEMPORARY re cementation of crowns. (We cannot dry the tooth effectively enough to cement a crown permanently with the restrictions we face).

Fabrication or repair of removable dentures.

Simple dental extractions. If a tooth breaks, it is probable we will have to leave the roots in place until we are at a lower level of risk. Naturally, we will assess the risk very carefully prior to treatment.

Tightening of loose dental implants if possible, without using a high-speed handpiece (drill).

Temporary fillings.

Draining of a swelling/abscess.

Provision of antibiotics.

Trimming of sharp orthodontic wires (not reliable re cementation of loose brackets, or replacement of missing brackets).

Treatment is only to be offered after careful assessment.

Cosmetic orthodontics

Cheshire Dental Centre provide many of these treatments. We may now be able to progress some of our Quick Straight Teeth cases. We will be in touch with each patient shortly, but please allow us to contact you; we hope that it is understandable that we will be prioritising patients with urgent dental need.

The PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements for the above are not too onerous, and we will not look too different to normal. As you are aware, the cross-infection control at Cheshire Dental Centre has always been exemplary and one of our top priorities.

Although we have been organised with the new PPE guidelines well in advance there may be the occasional time where we are awaiting stock. All practices are attempting to source the necessary PPE we need to keep you and us safe, but supplies are scarce and consequently very expensive.