Tag: Dental anxiety

Blog posts, information and advice which mention Dental anxiety

Ways to manage your dentist fear

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

The British Dental Association estimate that around 25% of the UK population suffer from some form of dental anxiety with around 12% having extreme fears affecting their ability to attend the dentist.

Visiting the dentist is key to ensuring that your oral health remains good. Without good dental health gum disease can take hold meaning that more dental treatment is possibly required, thereby exacerbating the dental fear.

Finding ways to relax and stay calm at the dentist is what this blog post is all about.

Why are we scared of dentists?

The first thing to understand is that fear is a learned behaviour, think about it, we aren’t born afraid of the dentist, it is something that we have learnt to do as we have got older. Accepting this is an extremely beneficial thing to do as it means that if we can learn to be afraid then we can also learn to relax and be calm.

 

Fear of pain is one of the most common reasons people cite for being scared of the dentist, this is quite understandable especially if people have had bad experiences in the past. What is worth noting is that modern dental care has made extremely big advances in recent years. With topical numbing gels and fine needles injections can be extremely comfortable with no pain, this then also leads to painfree treatments.

Will dentists judge me and my teeth?

This is often another common reason people give for not visiting the dentist, a dentist is not there to judge or to criticise, we are here to help, encourage and educate you about how to stay dentally fit and healthy. A dentist cannot achieve this goal if they are judgemental so you will find that any good dentist will support and encourage you and not be judgmental.

What are my options if I’m afraid of the dentist?

The really important thing to understand is that you do have options. It’s quite common that people feel they have no options, especially nervous or anxious patients.

A good dentist that specialises in treating anxious or nervous patients will ensure you have as many options available to you as possible. Here are your options:

  1. Talking to your dentist. You should always ensure you have a dentist you can trust and talk to, a good dentist will take time to listen to your concerns and ensure they take your anxiety into account.
  2. Ensuring you stay in control. Make sure you agree a stop signal with the dentist before any treatment begins. Simply knowing that you can raise your hand at any point to take a quick break means you’re in control and can really help you relax.
  3. Breathe slowly and gently. Breathing slowly and gently helps muscle relaxation generally, if you just breathe slowly and gently throughout your treatment you will find you stay more relaxed.
  4. Ask about sedation. Some dentists offer gas and air via inhalation sedation. This can also help if you are feeling anxious.

How to stop being scared of the dentist

Relaxation techniques are a great way to stop being scared of the dentist. Understanding that fear of the dentist is a learned behaviour and can therefore be unlearnt is a key principle to accept.

Practising breathing techniques both before your appointment and during treatment can also help.

Requesting an early morning appointment is also a great way to ensure that any dental phobia is contained to a short period early in the day, rather than allowed to build throughout the day.

You may also find of bringing a friend with you can help to keep you calm.

Good ways to relax and calm the mind at the dentist

  • Enjoy a cup of green tea. Green tea has been shown to have a chemical, L-Theanine, which has been shown to elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain which can help you relax.
  • Chew sugarfree gum. This can help to keep saliva flowing and prevent your mouth from drying out. It’s also been shown to lower anxiety and control cortisol levels. Of course you can’t do this whilst in the chair!
  • Remember to breathe slowly and gently. You could do this in the waiting room of the dental practice and during treatment to help relax.
  • Visualise your happy place. Most people have a happy place that they think of, this could be a holiday or a time you spent with friends. Visualising this whole experience can be extremely relaxing and calming.
  • Listen to calming music. This type of music can be different for each person but listening to the music you find relaxing and peaceful can also help you with your dental anxiety.

We hope you have found the information contained in this blog post useful, our dental practice in Harrow is a friendly and calm practice, taking time to listen to your needs and concerns and help out wherever required with any dental fears.

Just remember, it’s good to talk…

 

Did You Know That Talking Therapy Can Help Dental Fear and Anxiety

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

It’s not uncommon for people to feel quite anxious about visiting the dentist, recent research has shown that talking therapies can help and so we thought we would create this article to explain more. We’ve broken this article in to 3 section:

  1. Talking therapies to overcome anxiety
  2. Dental Sedation
  3. General tips to relaxing more

Talking therapies

talking therapyCognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could help many people with a dental phobia overcome their fear of visiting the dentist and enable them to receive dental treatment without the need to be sedated, according to a new study by King’s College London. (1)

Patients with dental phobia were able to face doNickwn their fear after an average five sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a study found.

Professor Tim Newton, who led the King’s College team, said: “People with dental phobia are most commonly given sedation to allow them to become relaxed enough for a short period of time to have their dental treatment performed. However this does not help them to overcome their fear in the long term.

“The primary goal of our CBT service is to enable patients to receive dental treatment without the need for sedation, by working with each individual patient to set goals according to their priorities. Our study shows that after on average five CBT sessions, most people can go on to be treated by the dentist without the need to be sedated.”

Of all patients referred, four-fifths (79%) went on to have dental treatment without the need for sedation and 6% had their dental treatment under sedation. The average number of CBT appointments required before a patient received dental treatment without sedation was five.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

CBT cannot remove your problems, but it can help you deal with them in a more positive way. It is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.

CBT can help you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you. These parts are:

A Situation – a problem, event or difficult situation. From this can follow:

  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Physical feelings
  • Actions

Each of these areas can affect the others. How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally.

In addition to talking therapies some people also want to consider dental sedation

What is Sedation?

ID-100341794tiveryluckyIntravenous Sedation is when a drug is administered into the blood system during dental treatment. Sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being aware of the treatment being carried out. You remain conscious during intravenous sedation and you are still able to understand and respond to simple requests.

However, many people report that they do not remember much or anything at all about the treatment they had done as sedation can produce a partial or full memory loss (amnesia) for the period of time when we administer the drug until it wears off. This can result in you not remembering very much of what happened, some people remember nothing at all.

While the drug used during sedation will relax you and make you forget what happens, you will still need to be numbed as it is not a painkiller. If you have a fear of injections, the dentist will not numb the treatment area until the sedation has taken full effect. They will then wait until the local anaesthetic has taken effect before starting your treatment.

The sedation drug administered though a vein, usually in the hand. An extremely thin needle is put into a vein close to the surface of the skin on the back of your hand. The needle has a soft plastic sheath around it and as it enters the vein, the needle is slid out leaving the soft plastic sheath in place. The drugs are put in through this sheath, this stays in place throughout the procedure.

How will IV sedation in the surgery affect me?

You become drowsy and are not aware of having any treatment, but you are still able to co-operate with the dentist. The effects of sedative medicine take some time to wear off and your dentist will tell you how long the drugs will take to clear from your body. You won’t be able to drink alcohol, drive or work machinery during this time.

In addition to CBT we also recommend finding ways to relax…

Top Tips to Relaxing at The Dentist (2)

ID-10044145Ambro.Try Acupressure

Pressure to meet a deadline can be stressful, but acupressure can help release all that tension. Acupressure’s a kind of touch therapy that works by balancing the circulation of fluids and energies in the body. Use the thumb and forefinger to massage the soft area between the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Dab on some lavender oil for extra relaxation.

Sip Green Tea

Instead of turning purple with rage, get green with a cup of herbal tea. Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger . Boil the water, pour it out, and take a soothing sip.

Remember to Breathe

Is there any simpler way to relax? Slow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate . For the fancy noses out there, try pranayama breathing, a yogic method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. The technique’s supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body (and possibly eliminating the need for a tissue).

Use Creative Visualization

The doorbell rings. It’s Ryan Gosling (or Elizabeth Banks), and he/she wants to know if you’ll marry him/her. “Yes!” you shout and then—sorry, time’s up. These little daydreams, also known as “creative visualization,” involve thinking of something that makes us feel happy. It’s an instant mood boost on hectic days when we’re feeling tense.

Find the Sun

Here comes the sun—and some stress relief. If it’s a sunny day, head outside for an easy way to lift your spirits. Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can even cheer up otherwise healthy folks

Take a Quick Walk

“Now walk it out, now walk [stress] out.” When you’re feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick stroll around the block. You’ll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts!

Try Aromatherapy

It takes just a minute to drip some lavender, tea tree, or another essential oil into your palm and inhale. The soothing scents may help send stress and anxiety packing by stimulating smell receptors in the nose that connect to the part of the brain that regulates emotions

References

(1) ‘Oral health status of non-phobic and dentally phobic individuals; a secondary analysis of the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey’ by E. Heidari, A. Banerjee and J.T. Newton was published in the British Dental Journal on Friday 13 November 2015

(2) Tips sourced from: greatist.com/happiness/40-ways-relax-5-minutes-or-less site accessed 14/12/15

Image courtesy of Ambro, Tiveryluck & Stuary Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net