phobia is a serious and often paralyzing fear
of seeking dental care. Fear is a learned behaviour which,
therefore, can be unlearned. Patient-centred behaviour
modification that treats you as a whole person, not as
a set of teeth can help you overcome your fears. Our nervous
patient programme in Wimbledon has been developed to incorporate the
Explanation and clarification of any and all
procedures proposed is your right as a patient. If you
have a question about a particular procedure, ask it!
Empower yourself with the knowledge to alleviate fear
of the unknown. You should have input into treatment decisions
and choices. You should be honest with your dentist regarding
how much treatment you think you can tolerate at first.
As you build confidence in yourself and trust in the team
that is caring for you, the length of your appointment
and the amount of work accomplished will increase.
Sense of Control
Signalling system should be established allowing
you to stop for any reason, whether it be because you
need more anesthesia, want to rinse, or simply need a
break. The most common signal is raising your hand.
Never be Embarrassed
If you have be ridiculed in the past for your
behaviour or if you are embarrassed by your present dental
condition caused by your neglect, please express yourself
honestly and give your dentist a chance to understand
your concerns and show you that they care. You will be
amazed at the wealth of treatment options that you might
not have thought were possible. With modern dentistry,
it’s never too late to recreate a new smile!
If you feel tense in the chair, the easiest way
to relax is through forms of physical relaxation. A relaxed
body promotes a clear and relaxed mind. The human body
cannot be physically relaxed and mentally anxious at the
same time! The brain won’t process these feelings
simultaneously. Physical relaxation methods are easier
to accomplish at first as compared to cognitive ones,
so practice forms of physical relaxation first. Examples
of physical relaxation are Diaphragmatic Breathing, Progressive
muscle relaxation and various methods of taught yoga.
A relaxed body promotes a clear and relaxed mind. By inducing
relaxation in the presence of the stimuli that normally
induces phobias (the dental environment), the fear response
is greatly diminished over multiple exposures and you
will gradually desensitize yourself to these fears as
you build confidence. The memories of traumatic visits
will be replaced with more innocuous ones and this less
threatening environment coupled with your relaxation methods
will help you alleviate your fears.
As you get more comfortable in the dental environment, you can engage in various distraction techniques that available. The use of an ipod or MP3 player is a common technique. The use of a virtual reality-like set of eyewear will immerse you in a pleasant visual and auditory environment making you forget that you are in the dental chair. We only suggest distraction techniques once you have established some trust and confidence because your ability to communicate will be compromised, although it is easy to stop any of these devices if need be.
Predictable Pain Control
Modern dentistry has many new techniques with
regards to the administration of local anaesthetics to
block any possibility of pain. There are many people who
have anatomical or biological variations that do require
more individualized techniques in order to predictably
achieve proper local analgesia. This variation must be
respected and communicated to your dentist. All injections
should be given slowly. The needle itself is not the major
cause of discomfort, but in fact, it is the pressure and
volume of fluids being injected that causes the discomfort.
There are also great differences in the types of tissue
in various locations anatomically and from person to person
that must be considered when administering injections.
Patience and understanding will convert almost
any dental phobic but in extreme cases we can use oral
or intravenous sedation to help you through your treatment.
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