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Dentist Discusses Methods to Deal with Dental Anxiety

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Patients who “forget” to schedule routine dental appointments are likely suffering from dental anxiety.  This overwhelming fear of dentists and dental procedures is a very common problem that affects millions of patients.  It is important to remember that postponing dental treatments will likely lead to more invasive and more costly treatment.  

Drs. McConnell and Banks at the Marin County Dentist make sure that the patient’s comfort and well being are top priority.  Our team utilizes the latest technological advances in dentistry.  This technology includes minimally invasive treatment procedures that reduce potential discomfort, as well as the overall time spent in the dental chair.   

However patients may need additional assurances that the trip to the dentist will be a smooth and comfortable experience.  So what can patients do to ease anxiety, and ensure that they are confident when visiting the dentist?  A great first step is to understand that feeling a loss of control contributes greatly to dental phobia.  Below are some useful tips to help patients feel a greater sense of control which will help reduce stress levels.

Communicate - Many patients find it embarrassing to talk with the dentist about uncertainties.  However it is important to openly communicate with the dental team about any fears.  When the dental team is aware of the patient’s feelings, they will alter treatment to make the patient feel most comfortable.  

Agree upon a signal - Many patients are not confident that the dentist will know that they are experiencing any pain or anxiety.  This significantly contributes to feelings of uncertainty.  A great way to solve this problem is to establish a hand signal with the dentist.  A simple “stop” hand signal is both commonly used and effective.  Your dentist will be alerted to your discomfort immediately.  

Use a throat spray - For patients with a gagging reflex, the use of a throat spray will help keep the reflex under control during the appointment.  

Sedation - For patients who are simply not able to endure treatment, sedation is the best solution.  If sedation is the selected option for a particular patient, be sure to discuss the types of sedation treatments available prior to the appointment.  This will ensure that the patient is fully ready for treatment.

It is important to note, that the best way to combat dental phobia is to gather as much information as possible prior to any dental appointment.  The team at the Novato Sedation Dentist office is readily available for a consultation.  We will be happy to explain dental procedures to patients which will help prepare them for a visit to the dentist.    

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