Even with the latest techniques designed to reduce pain and discomfort, many patients find that their fear of dentistry causes them to become tense or agitated at the thought of a dental visit or treatment.
Often a sleepless night results, or worse still, they find themselves unable to attend the appointment and soldier on until a crisis develops. This usually means that the treatment becomes more complex which adds to the stress and tension.
When, however, the patient attends more frequently, preventive procedures can be used and the treatment becomes simpler.
This all helps to reduce the fear.
How then do we break this spiral of fear and stress?
Gentle treatment and time are the underlying foundations to removing fear. However, a range of supplementary techniques can be offered to assist.
Relative analgesia (“happy air”)
In this technique, the patient breathes a mixture of relaxing gases throughout the treatment. The patient stays awake all if the time but experiences a ‘floating’ detached sensation. The gases, however, take a little time to be completely expelled and you MUST NOT DRIVE for some hours after treatment.
These remedies can be given which calm you down. They are very gentle and do not affect the other body systems.
This can be used very effectively. Usually you would be taught auto-hypnosis to achieve a relaxed state at home and in the surgery. This is normally all that is required for most patients. For patients with severe dental phobia it is sometimes possible to address this problem directly using hypnosis. Although I have been fully trained in hypnotic techniques with the British Society of Medical Hypnosis, I now prefer to refer patients to an experienced medical practitioner – a former president and lecturer to the society.