Overcoming dental anxiety

The good news is that there are effective ways to overcome your fear of the dentist...

Good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist are recognized as vital factors in ensuring good oral health. However, a visit to the dentist can be daunting for nervous patients and often something that they try to avoid. Unfortunately, over time this can result in minor oral problems developing into something more serious.

The team at Smiles and More understand the concerns of a nervous patient and can offer you tried and tested advice that may help you to overcome your anxieties. Thankfully, modern dentistry includes many techniques and methods to help overcome your anxieties and make your dental experience comfortable and perhaps enjoyable. There are many reasons why you may have become nervous about visiting the dentist and recognizing the cause is a good start. The next step is to let us know that you are nervous when contacting the dental surgery to make an appointment. Rest assured that you are not alone in your concerns and there is no reason to be embarrassed in saying that you are a nervous patient. All our team is ready to support you through your visit to the practice.

Your first visit

During your first visit you will receive an examination from the dentist to determine your current oral health and diagnose what treatment may be required. Please talk to the dentist about the things that make you anxious; our initial concern is to understand your needs and gain your trust. Should any treatment be required then we will outline the treatment for you and obtain your agreement before any treatment is undertaken. It is helpful to mention how much treatment that you can tolerate in an appointment and how much detail you wish to receive about each procedure. Once we agree on a plan of action then we will normally start with short appointments and simple procedures and only extend the length of appointments with your approval as your confidence grows.

You are in control

A key part of overcoming your anxiety is knowing that you are in control at all times. We will agree a stop signal with you, ie raise your arm, so that you can signal to the dentist that you want treatment to stop

We also offer the following to help reduce your anxiety during treatment:

  • A calm and relaxed approach that will ensure that treatment occurs at a pace that suits you
  • No pain injections with our computerized anaesthesia (the Wand)
  • Conscious sedation to lower anxiety during treatment by means of oral sedatives or nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
  • Minimally invasive dentistry including air abrasion where a stream of small particles are used to remove decay instead of the drill
  • Quieter drills to diminish the sound and vibration of dental drills

We have been thrilled to see nervous patients, many who have not been for many years, overcome their fears and now treat visiting the dentist as a matter of fact activity to maintain their health.

About Claire Rath

Claire founded Smiles&More in 2008. She completed her dental degree at University College Cork in 1984 and a Masters degree in Prosthodontics at Kings College, London in 2009. Irish Dental Council Registration Number 2797.

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