There are many of you who prefer to suffer a severe toothache to visiting a dentist.  In certain cases, dental anxiety takes on the stronger form of a phobia, making you terrified of even the prospect.  Of course there are no clear lines to demarcate between the two but what holds common is the panic and fear, and the long term effects of the neglected dental problem as a result.  The situation is indeed paradoxical, for the more you put off visiting the dentist, the more complex the dental problem becomes and the bigger the treatment required, meaning longer hours in the dentist’s chair.  The Leeds dentists are aware of dental anxieties felt among patients and hence put in sincere and rewarding efforts to make their patients feel comfortable, confident and relaxed. Owing to the progress of techniques, medications, equipments as well as patient oriented emotional approach, visiting the dentist is no more a burdening task on your mental and physical being.

How to know if you have a fear of the dentist’s chair?
If you are one of those who fear visiting the dentist you are likely to face any of the following common symptoms.

  1. You get ill by just thinking about going to the dentist
  2. You lose sleep as a result of anxiety the night or several nights before visiting the dentist
  3. Seeing the dentist makes you want to cry or increases your heart rate
  4. You begin to panic when the dentist places objects in your mouth during a dental exam
  5. You experience gagging or choking during the dental exam
  6. You feel a loss of control while sitting through a dental procedure
  7. You fear the pain
  8. You fear the sound of the dentist’s drill

What are the serious consequences of dental phobia?
As a result of the fear of visiting a dentist you would be puting off a serious dental problem that needs proper care.  It could affect the appearance of your teeth making you embarrassed, self conscious and avoid smiling.  Even you personal and professional lives could suffer as a result.

How the Leeds dentist can help you deal with your dental anxiety and phobias?

SELF-HELP – Come out with your fears and anxieties to your Leeds dentist. This will help him to approach your problem with the care and sensitivity required.  You and the dentist can also agree on a signal to indicate when you want the dentist to stop during a procedure.

Medications for pain and anxiety
Topical anaesthesia – A numbing gel or spray and most recently an adhesive tape that sticks to the gum and releases painkiller into the tissues, is used on the gums a couple of minutes before the dental procedure to relieve the sting caused by an injection or  discomfort due to cleanings and gum treatments.
Local anaesthesia – Pain control medications are injected at the site of the procedure using a thin needle.
Anti-anxiety drugs – Such as diazepam may be given an hour ahead of the procedure to help calm your nerves before the dental procedure
Conscious sedation – Oral sedatives and intravenous sedation fall under this category.  These are given to control pain, anxiety and help you relax.  The sedative effect can last for about one and half hours and though it affects your awareness of the procedure it does not inhibit body functions and breathing.  In case of

  1. Oral surgery, the oral sedatives are consumed 45 minutes before the dental procedure
  2. Intravenous sedation, the medication is administered via a cannula placed in the vein of the hand or the arm.  When a oral surgery is involved, local anaesthesia is administered following the procedure to reduce post-operative pain

General anaesthesia – This form of sedation makes you completely unconscious and is used when

  1. Surgical procedures are required on the mouth or jaw
  2. You suffer from severe dental anxiety
  3. You have mental or physical disabilities that interfere with treatment

Distraction techniques
The Leeds dentist can help you deal with your anxieties by using distraction methods that will take your mind off your fears.  These include

  1. Guided imagery – Visualization techniques that help you imagine yourself to be in a pleasant place, doing, feeling or hearing things that ease and relax you.
  2. Listening to music on a personal stereo or watch a DVD
  3. Concentrating on relaxing each part of your body in turn
  4. Breathing techniques – guiding you to practice deep, slow breathing

Visit you dentist often for regular check ups. This has a dual advantage

  1. You can keep track of your dental health, making necessary interventions at an early stage and before the dental problem gets worse
  2. You develop a comfort level with your dentist, which helps build trust and confidence in the dentist and thereby reducing any anxiety