You would be surprised at the number of people that have some form of fear of coming to the dentist. It is estimated that approximately 40 million Americans avoid dental care because of fear and anxiety. This fear can stem from a number of what are called direct and indirect experiences. The most common reason that people avoid coming to the dentist is that they have had a bad or traumatic experience in the past, and feel that every future visit will be the same. This is an example of a direct experience. But others still possess that fear even if they have never had a bad experience, or been to a dentist at all. Some reasons for this would be that they heard about a traumatic experience from a friend, the negative portrayal of dentists in mass media or cartoons, or a feeling of helplessness and a lack of control. These are examples of indirect experiences. All of these factors together lead to people experiencing a “cycle of avoidance,” in which they avoid dental care due to fear until they experience a dental emergency that requires invasive treatment, which can enforce their fear of dentistry.
Dentists today, like Dr. Core, have a breadth of knowledge on how to help patients dental with dental fear. Dr. Core has attended countless hours of continuing education on this subject alone. There are a number of ways to deal with dental anxiety that fall into two main categories, behavioral techniques and sedation techniques.
Positive Reinforcement – Dr. Core makes positive comments before and during the procedure being done, helping to relax the patient he is treating.
Non-Threatening Language – most dentists speak mostly in clinical terms that no one can understand but them, but Dr. Core uses patient-friendly, non-threatening language with all of his patients, so that they understand what is involved in the treatment that they need.
See-Show-Do Techniques – if you have questions on what any procedure will entail, Dr. Core will first go over it verbally, so that you understand the procedure, and then show you how the procedure is done. Most anxiety comes from fear of the unknown, and after Dr. Core explains everything, and shows patients what he is going to do, our patients are reassured and the anxiety dissipates.
Distraction Techniques – we have televisions in every room, as well as headphones so that you can listen to music during your appointment, which will take your mind off the dental treatment that is being done.
Inhaled Minimal Sedation – You breathe nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” combined with oxygen through a mask that is placed over your nose. Dr. Core can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation that you should be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
Oral Conscious Sedation – Depending on the total dose given, oral conscious sedation can range from minimal to moderate sedation. With oral conscious sedation, you take a pill, usually Halcion (a member of the Valium family), and it is taken an hour prior to your appointment. The medication will make you drowsy, and better able to handle any procedure that needs to be done.
IV Sedation – you receive the sedative through an IV, so it will go to work quicker. This method allows Dr. Core to continually adjust the level of sedation. This is the preferred method of sedation for our patients that have a lot of fear or anxiety, or need a lot of treatment done at one time.
Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia – you will receive medications that will make you either almost unconscious or totally unconscious (deeply asleep) during the procedure. This involves having an anesthesiologist come to our office to provide the anesthesia.
Dr. Core truly understands the level of fear that people have about coming to the dentist, and has done everything he can to make an experience at our office the most pleasant it can be. He is even a sedation certification specialist for the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners who evaluates every other doctor in Phoenix to make sure that they are following policies and procedures. Call our office today at 602-993-4200 or visit our website to schedule an appointment so that we can get you back on the road to good oral health, and help you to be as comfortable as you can while doing it.