Let’s face it, nobody is going to be jumping for joy for their next dentist appoint. However, for some of us, going for a check-up can be an extremely distressing experience. If you find yourself feeling anxious about a trip to your local dentist, you’re not alone. With around one in four Brits having ‘dentophobia’, or the fear of going to the dentist, it’s actually quite a common phobia to have. Whether it was a bad experience when you were younger or maybe you simply hate the sound of the dentist’s drill, you’d much rather live with any problems you may be having with your teeth instead of visiting your local clinic.

However, as dentistry has advanced over the years, it has grown to accommodate those who find the idea of going to the dentist intolerable, meaning there are now a variety of ways to make sure you are as comfortable as possible on your next trip to the dentist. From new painless dental procedures to simply talking you through the process, going to the dentist has never been easier. Your teeth are really important and you only get one set, so here are few of the most common dental fears demystified by Riverside Dental Practice.

Isn’t dental treatment painful?

Probably the biggest fear most of us worry about is the chance of having a painful appointment at the dentist. Maybe when you were a child, you had a particularly uncomfortable experience that’s left you terrified of incoming pain the moment you’re sat in the dentist chair. Luckily times have changed since the more invasive, painful practices that were predominantly used in dentistry. And, with the advent of a range of different pain reducing products, it’s easy to find a dentist that can carry out a completely painless procedure during your next appointment.

Although the prevailing idea is that general anaesthesia is the only form of sedative to ease your pain, there are actually a few different types which can best fit an individual patient’s needs. To begin with, for those afraid of the pain an injection may cause, numbing gels can be added to your gum line to make such dental procedures nearly completely painless. For more in-depth treatments dentists can employ nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, to give you near instant relaxation and pain relief.

There is also oral sedation, which will require you to take a prescribed dose of medications before the procedure, thus giving you control over your sedation technique and significantly relaxing you for your appointment. Whichever sedation method you decide works best for you, your local dentist will be there to advise and make sure you have a painless experience.

You’ll always be in control 

The idea of being out of control during your appointment is a very real fear for those with a fear of the dentist. Sitting in a chair with a masked individual shining a light in your face and putting metal implements in your mouth can make you feel as though you have little to no say when it comes to your comfort, and that’s not even mentioning the fear of being put under.

However, your trained and fully qualified dentist will never put you in a position that you may feel uncomfortable with. One technique dentists can employ to give you peace of mind during your appointment is by talking you through the process to ensure you’re completely clued in. Also, it can be especially useful to agree on a specific sign with your dentist to signal to them that you need a break. This sign can be as simple as raising your hand and can give you an element of control if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Also, with regards to sedation. As we have already mentioned, general anaesthetic, or Type IV sedation, is only used in very rare circumstances as newer sedation methods have been introduced. However, if you do find yourself in need of a higher level of sedation, type IV can also offer patients a dosage which allows them to enter a ‘twilight state’ meaning although you are partially sedated, you are still aware and can be easily brought around if you’re uncomfortable.

Save yourself from embarrassment with cosmetic dentistry

Sometimes, the fear of the dentist isn’t caused by pain or the lack of control during your appointment. Instead, you may be worrying about the state of your teeth and the embarrassment you might feel about having them looked at. However, no matter how bad your teeth may look, your dental health should be a top priority. By getting regular check-ups, you’re reducing the chance of any current problems becoming any worse.

However, if you’re still feeling embarrassed about your smile, there are a couple things to keep in mind when thinking about an appointment. For starters, in all likelihood, your dental problem is unlikely to be the worst case that your local dentist has ever come across. Even if you think you might have a terrible set of teeth, your dentist is a professional who is looking to do whatever necessary to make you feel as comfortable with your teeth as possible.

With this in mind, there is a range of cosmetic dental procedures that can give you a renewed confidence in your smile. If you’re unhappy with the discolouration of your teeth, dental practices can offer easy teeth whitening services to give you a shining white smile after only three weeks of treatment. For those with more serious problems, such as missing or decaying teeth, there are a variety of procedures, from bridging to dental implants, so you’ll never have to feel self-conscious about your smile again.

Avoid the emergency dentist with these preventative measures

As the old saying goes, prevention is the best cure and this is no different when it comes to dental health. Although it’s imperative to schedule regular dentist check-ups to ensure your teeth are as healthy as possible, there are a few things you can do at home so that your trips to the dentist are only check-ups and not anything more serious.

  • The most obvious place to start is by brushing your teeth twice a day. The fluoride in your toothpaste is an essential weapon against the scourge of tooth decay, so making sure you spend time giving your teeth a good clean can pay dividends for your dental health.
  • Although we forget, making sure you spend time flossing between your teeth is just as important as brushing them. Flossing can do up to 40% of the work when it comes to clearing plaque from your teeth, which is a leading cause of gum disease. There are different types of floss that may better protect your teeth so it’s good to have a chat with your dentist to see what works best for you.
  • Probably the hardest of all the preventative measures you can take, cutting down on food and drink that can harm your teeth will really help to promote dental health. Sugar is the main weapon used by bacteria to create acid, the main cause of tooth decay. By cutting down on sugary food and drink, you’ll be saving yourself from some painful tooth problems.

Riverside Dental Practice – a name you can trust

Making sure you’re happy with your dentist is half the battle when it comes to dentophobia, and with Riverside Dental Practice, you know your dental health is in great hands. Since our opening in 1975, we have helped countless patients feel as confident as ever with their smile; and with our range of services, from quick check-ups to top quality cosmetic procedures, you’ll never have to worry about going to the dentist again.

For more information on what we can offer you, visit our website or give us a call on 01786 464 285 to talk to a friendly member of our team.