Our Process for Helping Patients with Dental Anxiety

How our dentists can help to overcome dental anxiety for dentist for dental anxiety

Parts of this system:

  • Sedation Dentistry
  • Sedation Dentistry Pill   
  • Dental Phobia
  • How A Dentist For Dental Anxiety Helps Patients At NFD:
    Creating Positive Experiences For All Patients By Being Aware Of Their Five Senses.

Dentist for Dental Anxiety: Sedation Dentistry

Taking the Fear Out of Visiting the Dentist, Explained By A Dentist For Dental Anxiety…

For so many patients, the dentist is something they avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, this avoidance can lead to cavities, periodontal (gum) disease, infection, or other dental problems. Not only can opting out of dental visits lead to more dental issues, but it can also affect your overall health. Research has shown that there is a direct link to your dental health and oral health. In fact, because of the bacteria and infection present in patients with gum disease, there is a direct correlation between gum disease and heart disease.

So, instead of letting your fear of going to the dentist keep you from receiving the treatment you need, learn more about sedation dentistry and what it has to offer. With sedation dentistry, you can sit back, relax, and let us take great care of you. We can complete much of your needed treatment at once!

Sedation dentistry is typically indicated for lengthy procedures. We understand how difficult coming to the dentist can be when you have a dental phobia. So, we strive to accomplish as much as we can at each appointment. Sedation dentistry will allow you to fully relax even during an extended appointment.

Who can benefit from sedation dentistry? A Dentist For Dental Anxiety Explains…

Sedation dentistry can be used for any procedure. If you have one of the following situations, you may be a candidate for sedation dentistry:

  • Dental phobia or anxiety when visiting the dentist.
  • Dental work that will be long or invasive.
  • Teeth that are extremely sensitive.
  • Strong gag reflex.
  • A fear of needles.

To determine whether you would be a candidate for sedation dentistry and to make a plan that is right for you, contact our office for a consultation today.

How oral sedation works. A Dentist For Dental Anxiety Explains…

Oral sedation is a type of sedation dentistry taken in pill form. It is a normal anti-anxiety medication or mild sleeping pill. Most commonly, a pill is taken about an hour before the appointment. Some patients may start to feel drowsy on their way to receive treatment. Once the patient has arrived at the office, it is possible a second dose may be taken. While patients are technically awake, they are “out of it” and will most likely not remember the appointment. Patients can respond if we ask them to do something such as turning their head, but they are so relaxed – some will even take short naps throughout the procedure.

It is important to note that with sedation dentistry, a friend or family member will need to bring you to your appointment as well as be there to take you home.

Recent advances for the patient with dental phobia: Sedation Dentistry Pill at Our Office

While sedation dentistry is not a new concept, the options have broadened over the last few years. A patient who is comfortable and relaxed in the dental chair is our number one priority. That is why we continue to stay current on the newest advances in dental protocols, procedures, and of course, technology.

Our sleep dentistry pill, taken in a small dose, has been proven to help patients relax through their dental treatment. This same drug has also helped create a procedure known as “sleep dentistry.” Not all patients sleep during the procedure, however. In fact, some patients stay awake and can respond to us, but do not care about or remember what is happening. The pill used for sedation dentistry is considered to be the safest drug on a market for this purpose. This sedation pill will allow you to relax while receiving much needed dental treatment without fear or anxiety.

We have had many patients who were so fearful that they were in tears almost as soon as they entered the office. With the help of the sleep dentistry pill, these same patients were able to remain calm and receive the treatment they needed.

Even though we have a dentist for dental anxiety and gentle dentists, we understand that previous dental trauma can cause high anxiety or dental phobia. Because of this, we sought a sedation dentistry solution that would benefit our patients and help tame those fears. As far as disadvantages are concerned, there is only one: as with almost any form of sedation dentistry, you will not be able to drive yourself to and from the procedure. Also, you will need to plan ahead for restrictions in daily activities. Most of our patients report going home and sleeping a good portion of the day, roughly four to five hours. In short,  you should plan to be off of work for the rest of the day after your procedure. Once home, be sure to rest and limit your activities.

Even with being unable to drive and needing to take the remainder of the day off from work, sedation dentistry is an extremely safe, easy option overall. If you have dental anxiety or dental phobia, call our office today to schedule an appointment! We would love to meet you and a dentist for dental anxiety would love to help you.

What is Dental Phobia?

dentist showing empathy

Negative Experiences

You may have had a painful or bad experience at your previous dentist. It may have been a personal conflict with the dentist, another staff member, or even a painful procedure.

Embarrassment

You may be embarrassed by the condition of your smile. Years may have passed, and within that period, you neglected your teeth. Perhaps you are recovering from an addiction to soda, drugs, alcohol, smoking. It is also possible you suffered from an eating disorder. Whether it be neglect, bad habits, or something else, we are very sensitive to patients’ feelings. We will never ridicule you or belittle you because of your dental health. We understand that time can slip by and before you know, it has been years since your last dental appointment. We are glad when a patient does make an appointment; it shows that they are ready to improve their dental health.

Dental Instruments

Dental instruments can look very intimidating. Perhaps you have a fear of dental instruments or a fear of having them placed in your mouth. For you, this may cause anxiety, breathing difficulties, or a gag reflex.

Uncaring, Insensitive Dentists

You may have had a dentist in your past that was unsympathetic to your needs or one who was not a dentist for dental anxiety. In many cases, experiences with an uncaring dentist can deter you or any patient from returning regularly, if ever at all.

Fear of the Unknown

Many patients did not grow up going to the dentist and in some cases, have never been to the dentist. If this is true for you, the dental anxiety may come from a fear of the unknown.

A Message to All Patients From A Dentist For Dental Anxiety:

Dental anxiety or dental phobia is a common problem that affects nearly one in five adults. If there is one thing we want all anxious patients to know, it is that you are not alone. Please do not feel embarrassed. There are many compassionate and empathetic dentists, many of which can be found right here at Nebraska Family Dentistry. A dentist for dental anxiety who is committed to taking care of anxious patients.

Patients with dental anxiety are often so fearful they have delayed treatment for years. As a result, their oral hygiene suffers leading to gum disease, tooth infection, abscesses, or cavities. Through research, we now know, that inflammation in the mouth that is left untreated spreads throughout the body. This can leave patients more susceptible to heart disease, low birth weight babies (in pregnant patients), uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, and other inflammatory or autoimmune conditions. It is essential to see a dentist regularly to address your oral health as well as your overall health.

We have noticed anxious patients may differ in the degree or extent of anxiety they may have to treatment as well as what triggers this anxiety. However, we have found that talking about it before starting any treatment and developing a custom plan to help manage it, is the most critical first step for every anxious patient. Always seek out a dentist who will listen to your concerns and offer a variety of options.

Typically, a past bad dental experience can be as simple as a smell or a sound from the dental office. More severe concerns could be about having a strong gag reflex or even a fear of not being in control. Another big concern for many is that they have a needle phobia.

Having a needle phobia is more common than most people realize, and understandably so. Many people associate needles with pain. With pain comes an uncomfortable feeling that in and of itself causes anxiety. At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we take all fears and concerns, including a fear of needles, very seriously. We feel that all patients, even those without dental anxiety, deserve an easy-to-understand, well-educated reason to support their need for any treatment. Delivering education to help everyone understand what we are doing or what needs to be done, is something that comes naturally for us. It’s simple. After all, you have made time for us, and we feel taking a few extra minutes to set your mind at ease is the least we can do.

Some patients aren’t always sure what causes their anxiety. For many, it could be a combination of things. The following are common things that trigger anxiety in patients and things we can do to help you manage it:

  1. If placing dental instruments in your mouth causes you anxiety, this may trigger a gag reflex or create an anxious feeling. This uneasy feeling could make you feel as though you are having difficulty breathing. At our office, we use a device called an Isolite, which protects your tongue and helps prevent and control your gag reflex.
  2. If you have had an experience with an unsympathetic dentist, you may fear that your concerns will be ignored or go unnoticed. We will always explain everything we do before we do it. Some patients often need a different approach or even a little more time to complete their treatment. More time and a different approach may be all that it takes to help you address your concerns and or manage your anxiety. Find a dentist who is willing to listen to your concerns, and help you manage them.
  3. Many anxious patients, as discussed earlier, are concerned about getting numb for a procedure. With the help of special gels and creams, we can help you feel comfortable long before ever using a needle. There are also excellent distraction techniques that we can use to help minimize pressure and reduce sensitivity. A dentist for dental anxiety often knows a few extra tricks to help you overcome any fears.
  4. Many patients say that being in a comfortable atmosphere surrounded by caring people is also soothing. Thus, helping them feel more at ease. We offer items such as blankets, pillows, headphones with television, and several breaks. All of these things will help ensure your comfort. You are in control of your dental treatment. Your comfort is our priority. You will know this from the moment you enter our office. Our friendly team will greet you at the front desk, and from there we will maintain your comfort throughout your entire appointment. Afterward, you will leave with a care package and instructions to help promote proper healing of your new treatment so you can get back to your routine as quickly as possible.
  5. Some patients still find they need extra help feeling comfortable the day of treatment and those patients elect to do sleep dentistry. Sleep dentistry is an excellent option for the most anxious patients. Remember, don’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about discussing your dental anxiety. There are many dental providers out there like Nebraska Family Dentistry, who use different proven techniques, including sleep dentistry to make sure you have the most comfortable experience possible. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a patient who comes in anxious, gradually overcome that fear, and become an empowered, confident patient with a healthy mouth!

How we help patients at our office:

  • At Nebraska Family Dentistry we are creating positive experiences for patients simply by being aware of their five senses.

Dentist for Dental Anxiety: Distraction and The Environment

What is it about the whole dentist thing that frightens patients? Is it the atmosphere, with all those surgical looking instruments or the hospital style uniforms and masks that we wear? Maybe it’s the fact that they call it a dental SURGERY? Whether it’s one of the above, or all of the above, the reality is that they may all play a very significant role in your experience at the dental office. Often, the importance of the environment is overlooked. For most people and maybe even you, the environment can set the tone for the entire visit. Ultimately, this can determine the overall outcome of your complete appointment.

At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we try to create dental practices that appeal to everyone, including and especially, those who have a deep-seated fear of dental treatment.

To do so, a dentist for dental anxiety has to understand the factors behind the triggers of anxiety-laden events. The primary senses, including seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, and tasting all play a role in informing a person of their current surroundings. The unconscious mind interprets the information, and a person responds accordingly with feelings and emotions.

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Sense of Smell

A smell can be a potent emotional trigger. How? Cells in the nose, which process smell, input and send signals directly to the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is a part of the limbic system. The limbic system is an ancient part of the brain, which is responsible for basic emotions such as fear. Unlike other senses, such as hearing or sight, the higher thinking structures are bypassed, and the sensory information is fed straight to the emotional center of your brain.
All of our dentists for dental anxiety at Nebraska Family Dentistry, hope to change the way you “smell” a dental office. Our goal is to have you to come through our doors and think that you cannot possibly be at the dentist!
taste image

Sense of Taste

Taste and smell are closely linked, and we can even distract with flavor! We can offer a wide range of drinks and any of these, in their own way, help the more anxious patient focus on something beyond their fears. A dentist for dental anxiety will have the best tools to help any patient through.

Within the realm of dentistry itself, and as your dentists for dental anxiety, we can use materials that, at worst, taste neutral. 

sight image

Sense of Sight: The Decor

Visual stimuli play an important role in informing our conscious mind of our surroundings. The equipment that we use has evolved slowly over nearly 200 years of refinement. Any dentist for dental anxiety will chose to create a strongly visual environment in the waiting area and extend this to all corners of the office.

Some dental practice layouts, equipment, and color schemes are much more phobic-friendly than others.  We also work hard to create a happy atmosphere.

Of course, the people who occupy the space can make a big difference in changing the overall atmosphere, but if the treatment room doesn’t look clean, this is a very bad sign…we know you would agree.

Our practices have following items to cater to you:

  • Welcoming waiting room.
  • Nice pictures around the office to make it welcoming.
  • Sterile and clutter free treatment rooms.
  • Organized sterilization area to ensure efficiency because we know your time is valuable, too.
  • Dental chairs that are clean and comfortable.
  • Oversized windows, so we can bring nature inside.

Sight is powerful and can determine whether or not we feel good.

The internet is full of stock photos of scary scenes where dentists come at their patients with instruments held to their faces! Unfortunately, many websites choose to use these scary images, even though they are far removed from reality. The reality is that a dentist for dental anxiety will work in such a way that you can’t really see the tools during procedures.  

During procedures, we keep the room clean to help minimize the chances of you having to relive any dental nightmare.

There are patients that do want to know exactly what is happening and any dentist for dental anxiety will respect that. For example, patients may wish to see instruments beforehand so they know what to expect. And for those who like to see exactly what is going on, we can accommodate that with a mirror. It’s the little things that can make a huge difference in helping to reduce anxiety. 

hearing image

Sound is an important anchoring and strong stimulus. Anyone who suffers dental anxiety will show all the signs of “fight or flight” if they hear the infamous air turbine whine, also known as the drill. Many people associate the sound of the drill with pain. The logic behind this is simple: if you had a painful dental experience in the past, which was accompanied by the sound of a dental tool, then you may associate a certain sound with pain.

Technology has progressed and a lot of dentistry has become quieter. Do bear in mind that when noise is “inserted” into the mouth, it sounds much louder than it actually is. We also have a way to help you overcome the fear of “dental noise,” too. Many people find that their mind has been playing tricks on them and the reality is nothing like they had imagined. Tools used in dentistry really aren’t that bad!

Distraction can also go a long way and you guessed it, we can do that too. We aren’t magicians, we have just mastered the art of providing you with anxiety free dentistry.

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Sense of Touch: Gentle dentistry, it all starts from the touch!

We work with every patient as though his/her mouth is made out of paper mache.

Touch is the last of the senses, and it is within this category that most of dentistry falls. We can assure you that all members of our dental team will be mindful of your feelings. We have all been there, and by acknowledging our own feelings and fears, we can empathize with you. 

Conclusion

By using a combination of techniques described in this blog, our caring gentle dental professionals hope to achieve a relationship with you that will allow any feelings of anxiety to gradually become a thing of the past.
Choosing a dentist for dental anxiety and one of our Lincoln dental clinics is sure to promise an environment where high-quality dentistry can happen without you feeling anxious. All of our offices embrace your well-being.

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location “dentist near me” convenient for you.