I actually have a few patients who tell me they “love” coming here. They enjoy getting their teeth clean and shiny while getting caught up with staff they’ve become close to over the years. But, I know these patients are not what makes up the majority of dental attitudes in the U.S. Most people dread dental visits, for a variety of reasons.
The most common cause of dread is dental fear. Although our patients know our reputation for a gentle touch, traumatic experiences in a dental chair in years past can leave an individual with anxiety, fear or even phobia associated with dental visits. For a fearful patient, we understand that perceived pain can seem just as real as actual discomfort.
Years ago, I began offering Oral Sedation to help patients relax. This is in pill form and taken prior to the patient arriving at our office. Once here, they are seated in a comfortable treatment chair and covered with a warm blanket. By the time treatment begins, they are totally relaxed, almost to a dozing state.
Patients like Oral Sedation because it takes anxiety out of their visit and allows them to seemingly zoom through a lengthy procedure, often without memory of the procedure afterward. However, I felt some patients needed a deeper state of sedation, which is why I completed training and certification for I.V. sedation.
Also known as ‘twilight sleep,’ I.V. sedation provides a sleep state for patients who want a more intense state of sedation during dentistry. I.V. sedation also has an amnesiac effect. With both sedation options, patients are monitored for safety and comfort by trained staff members and advanced safety equipment.
Dental fear is not always to blame for dread of dental visits. Some patients dread dental visits simply because they don’t like the vulnerable feeling they get from being in a dental chair. Laying on their backs with their mouths open while procedures take place that they can’t see can make some people feel they have no control. Others react uncomfortably to certain smells, noises or sights such as seeing dental probes or an injection. Some patients avoid dental visits because they are concerned they’ll be lectured or made to feel guilty for not having regular dental checkups.
Quite frankly, I always dread my annual eye exam. Although I’m not afraid of experiencing pain, I don’t care to have my pupils dilated and always feel the amount of time for the exam and recovery from dilation knocks out half a day. Yet, my eyes are precious and I want to take good care of them, so I have this annual check.
It’s the same with dental visits. Yes, we all have other things we’d rather do with the time required but know that keeping teeth and gums healthy plays a major role in our overall health and well-being. Like caring for our eyes, making sure our smiles are in good shape is well worth the time required for these screenings.
In addition to Oral and I.V. Sedation, we use topical numbing, drills that hum rather than make a whining sound, and offer music or videos to patients who want a distraction during their procedure. Some procedures can also be performed with a dental laser. This reduces or eliminates bleeding, increases comfort and speeds healing.
Other features help take the dread out of dental visits here. Our CEREC 3D technology allows us to prepare a tooth for a crown, create the crown, and place it in the patient’s mouth – all in one visit. This not only speeds treatment, it cuts numbing requirements in half. And, with CEREC 3D, patients don’t have to wear those pesky temporaries while a dental lab creates the final porcelain result.
Our patients know us for a gentle touch, scheduling procedures so each patient moves at a comfortable pace, explaining what is taking place throughout each procedure, and trusting each member on our team to provide optimal care with exceptional comfort. If you have delayed care due to a sense of dread or fear, let us help you relax and see dental visits in a new light. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about getting a lecture here. We respect our patients and are always glad they come for care.
Begin with a no-charge, no obligation consultation. We’ll discuss your concerns and comfort options in a private consultation room. If desired, we can also put you in touch with patients who, like you perhaps, once had fears or a sense of dread and now smile throughout their dental care.
Call toll free 1-877-966-9009.