Don’t Let Dental Anxiety Ruin Your Health

Gentle Dentistry in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham.

Some people seem to feel no fear at all whilst others seem to have a fear or phobia about almost everything possible. There have even been extreme cases, seen on tv programmes, of people who have a real and genuine phobia of baked beans!

For most of us, of course, this is an extreme example but most of us can probably think of something which makes us freeze to the spot or break out into a cold sweat. It isn’t all bad though and fear does have a role to play in evolution. Without fear, we would inevitably find ourselves in in dangerous situations, completely oblivious to the risks that we were exposing ourselves to. If we are confronted with a particularly aggressive and angry dog, for example, it is fear that tells us that we should avoid the animal by whatever means necessary. It is this ‘flight or fight’ which helps to guarantee our survival.

Not all fear is good though; fear of flying can prevent us from taking those much needed holidays, fear of commitment may mean a life lived alone and a fear of doctors or dentists is likely to lead to significant medical or dental problems.

Short Term vs Long Term

As dentists in Sutton Coldfield, as you would imagine, we come across a significant number of people who express anxiety about their visit to our dental practice. This fear may be for a number of reasons; the two most common of which are fear of the needle and fear of potential pain. Thankfully, most people do simply accept that they will experience this anxiety but also the necessity of the visit to ensure their good oral health. Others though, perhaps less aware of the long term damage it causes, may avoid dental visits all together.

Dental Problems caused by Anxiety

By avoiding visiting the dentist, whilst it is possible that little harm will come in the short term, a person is inviting serious long term adverse dental effects. Whilst your teeth will not drop out simply because you miss an appointment, underlying causes may already be taking place, causes which could easily be prevented before they become significant.

Whilst some dental problems happen almost instantly, such as a broken tooth caused by an accident, the vast majority are the result of, often long term, neglect. One of the biggest and most significant causes of tooth loss is in fact gum disease. This is caused by a buildup of bacteria on the teeth and gums which gradually eats away at the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and can result in the loss of many teeth if not treated.

The sad fact in this case, is that it is treated extremely easily, quite often simply by improved brushing, provided that it is caught early on. Through avoiding the dentist though, this otherwise easily treated problem may result in the loss of several teeth and the need to replace them with modern dentures of dental implants.

Conscious Sedation

At Arthur House Dental Care, we naturally encourage people to keep regular appointments with us and make a promise that we will always be as gentle as we can and treat them as human beings and not just ‘a patient’. Of course, we do acknowledge that some dental procedures can be uncomfortable and offer local anaesthetics where needed so that no pain will be felt.

In cases of severe anxiety, our consultant anaesthetist can administer conscious sedation to enable the patient to remain fully conscious throughout the procedure albeit in a totally relaxed frame of mind. Please do be aware though that if this is required, you will need to be accompanied by someone who can take you home as you will not be alert enough to drive or possibly even take public transport.

If you are a nervous dental patient and would like to know more about our gentle dentistry service, please call us on 0121 323 4492.