It is a phobia that is seen the world over, but can have a more detrimental impact than others. After all, your health is unlikely to become damaged if you are scared of spiders, but if you have a dental phobia, the idea of simply attending a dental check-up can be overwhelming. And as is often the case, you may simply aim to avoid attending this important health assessment.
But as you may have guessed, avoiding dental check-ups can result in cavities, gum disease, and eventually tooth loss which can reinforce your phobia.
Luckily, many dental clinics are now better equipped to manage patients who have dental anxiety and can provide you with a range of options to make you feel more at ease in the dental chair.
Talk it out!
If you have a phobia connected to attending the dentist Sydney CBD, this may be because you see dental professionals as judgemental people who will berate you for having teeth that are not of Hollywood standard. However, as mentioned before, many dental teams are now better equipped to discuss these issues with nervous patients and can offer you a non-clinical appointment before attending a check-up, so you can get to know your dental team and can talk through your concerns with them. For cases of mild to moderate dental phobia, this can often be enough to put patients at ease.
Music and TV
If you have a dental phobia linked to the sound of the drill or simply seeing metal devices coming towards your mouth, this can be mitigated by distractions which many dental surgeries can offer.
This can take the form of you wearing a headset to listen to your favourite music, a guided meditation, or listening to breathing exercises while your dental team works on your mouth. Some dental surgeries are even able to offer you television to watch, so you can become engaged with the latest news or even a music channel if you prefer while your teeth are assessed or you have work performed.
If you are more nervous and do not want to be ‘present’ when your mouth is being assessed, there are many dental teams that can offer sedation options. In this case, intravenous or IV sedation is administered via a needle into your arm and will put you into a twilight state. You will be able to respond to the instructions of your dental team, but once the needle is removed you will have no memory of what has transpired. For this option, you should have a family member or friend to take you home afterward and you should refrain from driving or operating other heavy machinery for 24 hours afterwards.
Much like intravenous sedation, oral sedation puts you into a twilight state and is usually the result of medication from the barbiturates family. To undertake this, you will need to discuss the option with both your dentist and your doctor to ensure that any contraindicated health conditions are not worsened. As before, you also need somebody to take you home and should refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery for at least a day afterwards.
For extreme cases of dental phobia, your dental team may be able to offer you a general anaesthetic. This will knock you out for the duration of the procedure, but is unlikely to be able to be offered in the clinic and you may need to be referred to a nearby hospital.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.