Have you heard careless comments like, "It's all in your head," "Don't be a baby," or even "When are you going to get your teeth fixed?" Dental anxiety is real, often compared in the medical community to post traumatic stress disorder. It is unfortunate that the average person is callous to the thousands of women and men who suffer a level of anxiety that keeps them from getting preventive dental care, necessary restorative treatments, and cosmetic dentistry that would let them love their smiles. Dr. Charles Martin shares these tips to aid patients throughout the Richmond area in dealing with dental fear.
A previous harsh dental experience, exaggerated horror stories from others, or personal issues with closeness, perceived lack of control, or pain may be at the root of your dental fear. To keep those vague anxieties from becoming overwhelming, it helps to recap calming facts like these:
- Today, dentistry is virtually painless.
- Modern dental tools, materials, and methods have greatly improved, with an emphasis on patient comfort.
- You don't have to focus on the setting or procedure. Distractions such as listening to an iPod or watching a movie are totally acceptable during treatment.
- You are entitled to as much or as little information about dental treatment as you would like.
- Most checkups last only about a half hour and many routine procedures are completed within an hour.
- There is a real person inside the white coat; one who cares as much about your comfort as he does about your oral health.
- You are free to establish a cue – such as a raised hand – to immediately signal Dr. Martin if you are uncomfortable.
- Dental sedation is an option for most patients in reasonably good health.
Help from your dentist
In addition to a calming atmosphere, friendly faces, and gentle techniques, Dr. Martin offers oral conscious sedation. This is a prescription pill, usually taken the night before and again on the morning of your appointment. The medication does not "knock you out." It allows you to feel relaxed and unconcerned about dental care. Because some patients become groggy, you will need a friend to drive you to Richmond Smile Center and home afterward. During treatment you breathe on your own, can respond to verbal prompts, and may get up to stretch or use the restroom if necessary. You take it easy the rest of the day, and probably won't remember much about the appointment.
This level of relaxation calms your fears and allows Dr. Martin to work efficiently. Because you aren't unconsciously tensing, risk of jaw strain is reduced and soft tissues heal more rapidly.
Dental fear is nothing to be ashamed of. It is simply something to be dealt with so that you can enjoy oral health and a beautiful smile. Call Richmond Smile Center today at 804.417.7203 to learn more about calming sedation dentistry.
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