Visiting the dentist is not always an easy experience. Fear of the dentist is the number one cause of anxiety in the UK. Almost half of all UK adults experience this fear and 12% have extreme dental anxiety. Avoiding the dentist can have serious repercussions. Poor oral health can contribute to strokes, diabetes and heart disease and can also cause problems in pregnancy and in dementia patients, as well as bad breath and mouth cancer.
What are today’s dental surgeries doing to address this fear? There are many ways in which practices in the north west, such as Unidental, are working to put patients at ease and make the experience of visiting the dentist in Stockport if not an enjoyable one, at least a less scary one.
Patients can opt for conscious sedation during treatment, especially when having dental surgery, such as fillings and dental implants. The sedation is not instead of the usual local anaesthetic the dentist in Stockport will apply – it’s an additional aid to relaxation. Patients can either take tablets or receive an injection into the arm or back of the hand. The mild sedative keeps the patient awake but in a state of deep relaxation throughout the treatment. Most people don’t remember the treatment afterwards.
The after-effects last for a few hours so any patient opting for sedation will need to bring someone with them to take them home and they will also need to rest until the effects wear off. This means no cooking, driving or operating machinery during this time.
One major cause of anxiety is the unknown: if a patient is aware of each step of their treatment, it helps the mind to relax and let go into the process.
Patients who experience dental phobia are advised to find a surgery that has a dedicated treatment co-ordinator who will guide them through each step of their journey. This includes an initial consultation, assessment, clinical consultation, treatment options, cost, payment plans and finance options if needed, and any further background reading or information about the treatment.
Many surgeries will also offer a written report of this process so everything is clearly laid out for the patient.