If you fear going to the dentist, you are certainly not alone. Dental fear, anxiety or phobia is indeed a universal phenomenon. Our Coastal Dental Care Mudgeeraba dentist Dr Peta O’Keeffe explains what she does to help her patients to overcome the fear of the dentist.
Up to 80 percent of adults worldwide, report fearing the dentist and up to of 20 percent of people completely avoid dental visits because of this fear. It goes without saying that people who avoid the dentist suffer from a higher rate of dental problems, resulting in a vicious cycle. It may sound counter intuitive, but the best person to help is actually your dentist!
My name is Peta and I am committed to helping fearful and anxious patients overcome their fears and develop their confidence in dental treatment. In fact, having a patient report that they are no longer fearful is the most rewarding part of my practice.
Often, dental fears are linked to a negative experience in childhood and these feelings are often deep seated. Other times, patients are not so much fearful, but embarrassed. Some people feel embarrassment or shame about the look or condition of their teeth and fear being humiliated, ridiculed, reprimanded or judged by a dentist. Sometimes patients have been given the impression by other dentists that they are just ‘difficult’ due to a strong gag reflex, a small mouth or having overly sensitive teeth.
The very best thing a patient can do is talk to their dentist about how they feel and at no time will you be judged about how long it has been since you last saw a dentist. I often find that the biggest help is open communication with a dentist who listens and is empathetic. I am dedicated to developing a great rapport with you and building your trust and confidence to help ease your dental fears.
Regardless of what part or parts of the dental visit concern you, there are so many things that I can do to accommodate you. All patients are different and an open discussion about which dental situations are the cause of your anxieties can make the world of difference.
When you are in my surgery, my first priority is your comfort and I strive to help my patients in any way possible.
I take exceptional care to ensure the treatment I provide is as comfortable as possible. This often makes the treatment take a little longer as procedures performed quickly are less delicate. All of my treatments are carried out in an unhurried, non-threatening manner, including injections. Many people are surprised to find that with some extra time and care, many dental injections can be painless. Some areas will always be a little tender, however, most areas of the mouth can be numbed very comfortably. I use a highly effective anaesthetic gel followed by a very slow gentle technique and often the needle is not felt at all.
Some patients with sensitive teeth find having their teeth cleaned every six months excruciating. Either cleaning the teeth with hand instruments rather than an electric one, or numbing the teeth prior to cleaning can be a huge relief to those patients. For other patients, Valium the night before and morning of a dental procedure is of benefit.
If you are a patient who dreads the dentist for any kind of reason, I extend a warm welcome to you. I am committed to working with you in a kind, gentle, compassionate and understanding manner. I look forward to helping you regain control of your dental health. You may be amazed at what you can achieve with the right support!