Many people are frightened of going to the dentist. For some, this fear has become a genuine phobia; for others, such a level of anxiety surrounds the thought of sitting in a dental chair that they just keep putting it off until they experience an acute problem or are in bad pain.
Here at Smile Store – Your Local Dental Specialists, we meet many patients who are frightened, embarrassed and in pain. We can help and are very understanding, gentle and supportive.
For a lot of Irish people, a bad experience when they were young is often the culprit, as dentistry in Ireland was rudimentary back in those days – some might say brutal – and was responsible for instilling fear and a memory of pain into a lot of people.
There is NO PAIN in modern dentistry
Dental technology, techniques and even anaesthesia have progressed enormously in the past two decades. There is no pain in modern dentistry, but even that reassurance may not help patients who are genuinely terrified, or have a real phobia, about the dentist. Such deeply felt fear means that the very thought of going to a dental clinic makes them shake.
A phobia is hard to overcome, as it doesn’t matter how irrational it appears to other people-it’s very real to you. The big problem with a dental phobia, though, is that your teeth are probably in very poor shape by now.
Teeth demand attention
Teeth really need regular care. Once there is a problem with one tooth, bacteria spreads to other teeth until you have a mouth full of pain and decay. People who are afraid of the dentist are often also embarrassed about the extent of their dental problems. It’s usually unbearable pain that finally drives people to the dentist, by which time they are in dire need of extensive work.
This is a solution for very nervous patients. Sometimes called ‘Twilight Sedation’, it’s a medication, injected through a tiny, fine needle, which will make you happy and relaxed. It is given along with the normal pain-numbing anaesthetic for whatever dental work is being carried out, but the ‘conscious sedation’ medicine will give you a very pleasant, dream-like state; taking away all your anxiety and worries. You will be aware of what’s going on and able to respond when spoken to, but extremely relaxed.
Conscious Sedation has three effects:
- It relaxes you and reduces anxiety
- It makes you sleepy
- It usually produces amnesia, making you forget the procedure.
It’s ideal for nervous patients, or those with such a strong gag reflex that they have trouble with the dentist using any instruments in their mouth. It allows you to feel calm, and allows your dentist to work effectively, especially in cases where quite a lot of work is needed-instead of lots of repeat trips to the clinic; you can have a lot of work carried out at once.
What Would Make Me a Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?
- If you have a high fear level
- Past history of difficult dental procedures
- Unpleasant childhood memory of dentistry
- Difficulty getting numb
- Bad gag reflex
- Very sensitive teeth
- Complex dental problems
The sedation medication passes out of your system fairly quickly once your procedure is finished, and we will want you to get someone to drive you home afterwards, and stay with you for the rest of the day-this is a common precaution after any type of sedation. Patients can also take a virtual tour of our office on the website www.smilestore.ie and to take a ‘walk around’ all the rooms here at our practice; this is useful for people who are anxious about going to a dental clinic.