Are you nervous about visiting the dentist? Think you're alone? You're definitely not! In fact, the results from a study published in the Australian Dental Journal 2006, suggest that nearly one in five Australians have dental phobia.
For many patients, these fears were formed during childhood. People remember anaesthetic that didn't start working until they left the dental surgery, or perhaps having treatment done without any anaesthetic at all. Luckily, dentistry has changed dramatically over the past few decades; advances in available materials and equipment has made a trip to the dentist virtually painless.
How to Deal With Dental Anxiety
Depending on the severity and reasons behind dental anxiety, there are a variety of methods that can be used to treat the issue. A routine oral check-up once every 6 months can significantly reduce the likelihood of oral health concerns developing in future and the need for complex treatment.
One of these materials that we utilise day to day is "numbing cream" or "topical anaesthetic". Simply applying this cream to the gums starts to numb them significantly, making the use of the needle almost undetectable. Children particularly, find the use of this gel beneficial and often they don't realise they've even had an injection.
Another advance in dentistry is the availability is "happy gas". There has been a lot of bad press about it lately, but for dental purposes, it is used at far lower concentrations than what they use in hospitals. It is a safe and effective way to calm people's nerves when they are having dental treatment done. Ask your dentist about happy gas and whether it would be suitable for you.
For people with more severe anxiety or phobia, we have an anaesthetist who comes to our surgery and is able to provide anaesthetics. This is not a general anaesthetic, but a lighter form of sedation which allows us to work on you without you having any awareness during the treatment, or memory of it after. This is especially helpful for people having more intensive treatment, who would like to have the work carried out by their usual dentist and in an environment they are comfortable with. Many people having their wisdom teeth taken out choose to have sedation administered by an anaesthetist.
It is never too late to manage your dental anxiety, you can start by discussing your concerns with us. Should you have any questions, please contact Sailors Bay Dentistry on (02) 9958 0400.