Does Fear Of Pain Keep You Away From The Dentist?
Streatham dentist, Dr Manisha Patel, offers some helpful advice to anxious patients
According to a recent survey, nearly a quarter of people of working age avoid going to see the dentist because of the fear of possible pain. This is probably not news to many of you reading this, but it does indicate a problem that makes poor oral health, and its associated problems, much more likely.
At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we see our fair share of nervous patients, as do most dentists. As the people who are carrying out the procedures, rather than being on the receiving end of it, it could be possible to become blase about this. But the good news is that we don’t and we work very hard to help our patients overcome the problem.
Understanding our patient’s concerns
Along with a fear of flying, dental phobia is one of the most common phobias in the UK, and perhaps also around the rest of the world as well. Whilst we can, if we wish, largely avoid flying, we really shouldn’t avoid receiving dental care. Even if you brush your teeth well at home; without professional supervision and guidance, your teeth and gums will almost certainly suffer.
Few people enjoy pain, so the very idea that a visit to the dentist might result in this understandably deters some nervous patients. Whilst some might force themselves to keep their appointment, others may well cancel or not even arrange one in the first place.
For these patients, we offer the following reassurances.
Will you feel pain?
Our teeth are sensitive, and within the root canals, there are a number of nerves that transmit messages to the brain. These are useful as they prevent us from biting too hard on things and breaking our teeth. When things go wrong though and they become infected, the pain can be almost unbearable as anyone who has had a severe toothache will attest. The idea therefore, of having a drill whirring away just millimetres from where the nerves are located is a natural concern for some of our patients.
In order to prevent any significant discomfort from being felt during a procedure, we provide patients with a local anaesthetic. This is very powerful and prevents the patient from feeling pain by ‘deactivating’ the nerves temporarily. Because of this, you will not be able to feel actual pain. You may experience a little discomfort and feel pressure and movement associated with the procedure, but not pain.
Some of you are probably thinking ‘but I hate needles’. Currently, this is the only way to administer a local anaesthetic effectively and we know many patients don’t like what they believe is the temporary discomfort when the injection is given. What few people realise though is that, in reality, you barely feel the needle enter the gum. What you experience is when the anaesthetic is injected and it meets the warm blood stream. Although it may not be a pleasant experience, it is short lasting before the numbness sets in, enabling the procedure to go ahead.
Our friendly team
At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we believe in making sure that our patients feel as comfortable as possible within the dental environment and this starts from the moment that you walk through our front door.
You will be warmly greeted by our reception team who will endeavour to take any relevant information as promptly as possible so that you can take a seat in our comfortable waiting room until you are called in to see the dentist.
You will be treated courteously and although all of our dentists endeavour to take good care of their patients, we do recommend that you let us know if you are feeling anxious about your treatment. This allows the dentist to offer advice, such as how to signal if you need a short break to compose yourself whilst the treatment is being carried out. We will carry the procedure out as quickly as we can whilst ensuring a safe and succesful outcome.
The team at the Confidental Clinic welcome nervous patients and we are always happy to discuss any procedure that we need to carry out in advance. Especially if you are an anxious patient, but even if not, we generally advise that you don’t attempt to learn about the procedure via posts on social media. These are sometimes unreliable and may cause your anxiety to become unneccesarily worse. If you have any questions, please talk to your dentist about it.
To make an appointment to see one of our Streatham dentists, please call our friendly reception team on 020 8674 2052.