Anxiety & Pain Management
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
Lots of people are afraid of getting stuck. It can become a terrific phobia. Sometimes nitrous oxide, coupled with medication and natural relaxation, must be used. We pride ourselves in giving gentle injections. These take extra time and patience. We always use a topical cream/spray to numb the gum ahead of time. Most patients don’t even realize what has happened.
THE DREADED DRILL
- Pain from drilling is the most feared procedure in dentistry. With profound numbness, this pain is rare.
- We allow our patients to stop the procedure if pain occurs during drilling. At this point, we can use a number of methods to make the tooth more numb. It is extremely rare in or office for anyone to have discomfort during drilling. In a worst case scenario, we can always stop, place a temporary, and continue treatment some other day.
- Afraid the drill will slip? Some folks are. Dentistry demands precise, exacting concentration. During drilling, the chance of slipping is minimal. In fact, the use of rubber gloves increases the grip adhesion of the fingers to the drill.
- Afraid of the sound? Use headphones and listen to music or to a relaxation tape. Crank up the volume if you want it louder. Some patients pack cotton in their ear to block the sound.
The gag reflex is a beneficial protection to avoid swallowing something too large. However, if exaggerated, it can make certain dental procedures very difficult. Several things can reduce gagging. Nitrous oxide sedation can help, as can local anesthesia. Breathe deeply and very slowly through your nose.
Many young children have this fear. We reassure the patient that high-speed suction is used to evacuate particles and debris so that they won’t be swallowed.
Most phobics who have avoided the dentist for a long time are embarrassed about the condition of their mouth. They don’t want anyone to look in there. The mouth, you see, is a highly personal space. They feel as if they’ve got the worst case of decay, gum disease, and so on. But chances are good that we’ve seen much worse. Everyone one in our office has been trained to work with fearful patients and they have empathy with you.
FEAR OF BEING CRITICIZED
As a result of prior bad experiences, a lot of people fear that the dentist or staff will criticize them or give them a lecture for neglecting their mouth. That may have happened to you. In our office, we don’t criticize, rather we congratulate you for having had the courage to take a risk and visit the dental office.
FEAR OF A SPECIFIC PROCEDURE
Have you had a painful extraction, painful gum surgery, or a bad experience with a root canal or crown? Let us review with you what happened to you and then explain how perhaps we can make the procedure easier for you, in case you need it done.
FEAR OF THE FEE
Yes, excellent dentistry costs money. So do cars, computers, and vacations. Cars wear out soon and break down often. Computers are outdated the week following purchase. Vacations are fun but are usually forgotten soon. But, a properly restored mouth will give you chewing function, smiling power, and good oral health for a long time to come. Patients must decide on their priorities. In our office, we can help you finance your treatment.
AFRAID OF THE ‘PICK’?
True, dentists use tiny, sharp tools … and for good reasons. But these are not designed to inflict pain. If you have been ‘stabbed’ by a dental instrument, you will be justifiably wary. If you have this fear, let us know up front. We will take extra care to avoid sensitive places during our exam, especially root surfaces that are not covered with protective enamel.
FEAR OF PAIN AFTER THE NUMBNESS WEARS OFF
We have a local anesthetic that will last much longer than the average and provide hours of pain relief. This might be indicated in surgical procedures or those involving significant post-operative pain.
Some have had rough, painful experiences during a routine dental cleaning. Hence, their fears are real. However, a dental hygienist, if she or he has enough time allotted, can be gentle. In case this fear is extreme, a numbing solution, or even a local anesthetic can be used during teeth cleaning. Deep scaling or root planting, advanced periodontal treatments, should be done with profound numbness.
FEAR OF CONTRACTING AIDS
In these times, this fear can be real, especially in large cities where the AIDS virus is prevalent. In our office we use universal precautions on all patients – for all procedures – and we sterilize our instruments in a steam autoclave.
FEAR OF NEEDING EXTENSIVE TREATMENT
Yes, if you have avoided the dentist, you may need a lot of treatment. But, then again, you might not. Often it’s not as bad as you might think. Many of our phobic patients are pleasantly surprised to learn their treatment will cost less than they imagined. If finances are tight for you, then treatment can be split into phases and completed as you can afford it.
ANY OTHER FEARS?
There are several other fears that are related to dental treatment. They are not common and many are based on individual experiences. If these fears turn into phobias, it is often a good idea to get psychological help.
What else can you do? Talk to a friend or relative and explain your fears. Just chatting often helps.
We can offer you a book “How to Overcome Fear of Dentistry” and the audiotape, Learning the Relaxation Response to further help you with your dental anxiety.
Give us a call. We’d love to see you.
Together we make your experience
a pleasant one!
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All Insurance Claims Submitted
Interest Free Financing Available
S.K. Kamodia, DDS
3209 Vestal Parkway E.
Vestal, NY 13850
(607) 770 – 7922