Anxious Patients

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Here at Harmony Dental, we realise that some patients find dental treatments a very stressful experience. To help make your time with us as comfortable and relaxed as possible, we offer Nitrous Oxide and iPod music to ease you into your treatment.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is often referred to as ‘happy gas’. It is a simple, quick and non-invasive sedation method used to relieve anxious patients. As a gas, it is administered through inhalation via an inhaling device. It has no colour or smell and doesn’t irritate the airways. Once you begin inhaling the nitrous oxide you will quickly pass into a comfortable state while remaining conscious at all times.

If you’d like to discuss sedation options for your next dental treatment, bring it up at your next assessment or call our friendly team today to book a consultation.

Oraqix

Oraqix is a needle-free anesthetic, administered topically at and below the gum line, that’s effective and efficient for scaling and root planing procedures. Your dentist and hygienist may recommend this alternative to traditional anesthesia for several reasons:

  • Onset is quick, 30 seconds
  • Duration of effect is approximately 20 minutes, so normal sensation is typically returned at the conclusion of the office visit
  • Oraqix is site-specific making it a great choice for periodontal maintenance with scaling and root planning.
  • Unique properties of Oraqix allow hygienists to better control anesthetic placement, minimizing the chance of anesthetizing areas not being worked

Dental anxiety – or fear of the dentist – is common in Australia. The University of Adelaide estimates that as many as one in six adults suffer from it, alongside roughly one in ten children*.

Almost anyone can experience this type of anxiety and it may even influence your quality of life.

What is dental anxiety?

Put simply, dental anxiety is being nervous and afraid about the thought of going to the dentist. It exists in many forms, from simply being a little on edge to being completely unable to see a professional about your teeth and gums.

It’s more common in some sections of society, such as amongst middle-aged women where it’s estimated to be roughly one in every three, but anyone can be affected by this anxiety.

The problem is that when people don’t go to the dentist, it can mean they are not receiving the medical care they need to remain healthy. Additionally, issues are often left to advance before the sufferer finally makes it to a professional, making the problem much harder to deal with than it would have been had they made an appointment right away.

Anxiety can occur for many reasons, from ‘learning’ this behaviour from parents or other family members, to dealing with a stressful dental situation in the past. There is also the fact that it’s a very rare occasion to have someone else taking a close look inside your mouth, which can seem like a strange experience and put people off. It may even stem from a specific fear, such as needles or blood.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to take steps to overcome this anxiety for your oral health.

Top ways to deal with dental anxiety

Start by getting to know your dentist. Instead of booking a check-up, book in a time just to talk to your dentist about your dental history, questions you may have and the fact that treatments can make you anxious. This is a great way to literally get a foot in the door and learn to get to know and trust your dentist before getting into the chair.

Another tip is to ask a friend or family member to come with you. Most dentists will happily let someone sit in the room with you if you are nervous, and they can help keep you calm with their presence throughout the appointment. Plus, going with a friend can keep you from cancelling the appointment at the last minute, which can be half the battle.

You can also ask your dentist to talk you through each step of any appointments. This will include them telling you what’s going to happen and showing you any instruments they will need. This may help you have a greater understanding of the procedure, and therefore less uncertainty.

Another option is to ask for breaks during any treatments. A few minutes here and there to calm down and rest may make the procedure easier.

If music is something that has always kept you calm, talk to your dentist about bringing in a playlist for any appointments. This way, you can distract yourself with your favourite songs during the check-up or treatment.

The best way to care for your teeth year-round is good dental hygiene at home. Regular brushing and flossing, non-smoking and a diet that’s low in sugars are all simple ways to look after your oral health. Therefore, you may suffer fewer dental problems and have less to worry about when it is time for an appointment!

Go more often. It certainly sounds counter-intuitive, but going every six months – or more regularly than you usually would – may also help. This can create a routine and make check-ups a more regular occurrence in everyday life, which will hopefully make them more of something you simply have to turn up to rather than something to be wary of.

It’s unlikely that you will ever look forward to your dental visits and get excited about upcoming appointments, but you can at least work on reducing fears and looking after your teeth at home.