Some people are so afraid of going to the dentist that they put off going until the need for care turns into an emergency. They have a dental phobia, and very few know that there are solutions to manage it. Let’s discuss them one by one!
Most adults don’t have a problem visiting their dentist however, it can be anxiety inducing for some people (adults, like children). Nearly one in two people are affected, significantly more women than men and, in particular, younger people.
People who have this phobia are ready to delay their dental appointment until the last moment, despite dental problems having consequences on their health and social life.
Regardless of the cause (fear of pain, sting, instruments, etc.), this situation leads to a vicious circle in these people who deprive themselves of dental care. Indeed, when patients postpone going to their dentist for a long time, the probability of the care required becoming complex (root canal treatment, crown placement, surgical extraction, etc.) increases sharply. A decay untreated can progress to inflammation of the pulp, and infectious complications on the face may occur at the stage of an abscess.
Solutions for Dental Phobia
MEOPA Inhalation Sedation: A Real Plus
For the patient, a dental surgery often means spending more time in the dentist’s chair and risking more pain after the operation. However, there are solutions dedicated to these patients, primarily specific sedation. Some dentists offer a technique called an equimolar mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide (MEOPA). MEOPA is effective in 3 to 5 minutes and is devoid of contraindications. It is considered to be the most reliable and safe technique for obtaining conscious sedation without side effects.
It places patients in a modified state of consciousness but without sleeping. They remain in verbal contact with the healthcare team, and their cooperation improves significantly, with a benefit that increases from session to session. Reconciled with dental care, some patients sometimes do not even need MEOPA over time.
Therefore, people who have dental phobia can look for clinics specializing in this area, such as offering longer appointment slots. But the latter often have to deal with long waiting lists, which can dangerously delay their care.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies are Effective
Another possibility is to be directed to a hospital and undergo general anesthesia. Hospitals and practitioners alike can also use a completely different technique, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) so that these patients can overcome their phobia. CBT is a work on behavior and thoughts, opinions and beliefs called cognitions. This therapy does not seek the origin of the problems but aims to treat the visible manifestations.
It is practiced by doctors (general practitioners or psychiatrists) or psychologists trained in this technique, ranging from ten to twenty sessions. An earlier study at King’s College London found this approach very effective, allowing people with dental phobia to overcome their fear of going to the dentist and even receiving treatment without sedation.
Improve Your Oral Hygiene to Preserve Your Health
The last line of intervention is based on more advanced prevention in these patients, with more personalized advice to improve their oral hygiene (brushing technique, smoking cessation, etc.). This improved knowledge should make it possible to promote better oral hygiene to limit the occurrence of other diseases and, in fact, reduce the anxiety associated with dental consultation.
Any phobia can be difficult to manage, but it can be devastating if it affects the health and quality of daily life. Controlling it helps patients who are victims of it today, and those who could be victims tomorrow since the evidence shows that there are family predispositions to certain phobias. But in the area of prevention, Americans do not comply with all the usual precautions.
Familiar Factors can reassure the Patient
A relaxing atmosphere and the proximity of a loved one are sometimes enough to reach the level of appeasement sufficient to overcome the fear of the dentist.
Evidence shows that many patients ask for music, scented candles, a ceiling television, soft light, or an aquarium to forget about the pain. Take a tour of the dental offices in your neighborhood and choose the one whose decor inspires you the most to start on the right foot.
Looking for Sedation Dentistry in Miramar!
If you’re residents of Florida who have dental phobia and are looking for Sedation Dentistry in Miramar, contact the Sedation Dentistry Spa. Their team of experts deals with every case according to their level of anxiety, offering the best option or a combination of options for patients with dental phobia, and helping them overcome their fear and provide the dental treatment they need.