Nervous patients can have their surgery carried out under sedation or general anaesthesia.

Afraid to visit the dentist? You’re not alone! In actual fact, for one in ten, the very thought of undergoing a dental procedure is a source of genuine, anxiety-inducing, knee-quivering, fear. For a dental phobic, their inherent discomfort with the idea of visiting the dentist’s chair is so strong that it even overshadows the excruciating pain they may be in.

In Ireland, only about 60% of the population attend a dentist regularly. Of this 60%, many will feel nervous or anxious to some extent. Psychologists rank these feelings into four categories with their own difficulties;

Nervousness- people who fall into this rank are slightly afraid of what is going to happen to them when they visit the dentist. Usually, they are in control of their feelings and are capable of suppressing them. This nervousness is a common feeling for many people who are about to present for any form of medical treatment.  They are simply expressing their concern for their own health and well-being.

Dental Anxiety- this is the term used to describe the imagining of pain during a dental exam. For example, when asked by the dentist to attend for a filling, a patient might expect the sensation of the drill boring into their tooth. Usually, this is not a serious complaint and most people who experience anxiety will overcome it themselves and attend their dentists anyway. Dentists are trained to be sensitive to their patients’ anxiety and will do their level best to put their patient at ease by explaining the procedure properly and applying adequate pain relief during it.

Dental Fear- this is the sensation of feeling pain during a dental procedure, even if said pain is not really present. This pain can be psychosomatic, so your dentist will attempt to use a suitable pain relief to put you at your ease.  It is important to have a pre-arranged hand signal with your dentist, so he or she will stop what they are doing if you are experiencing pain. Experiencing dental fear even once can cause people to avoid attending their dentist in the future.

Dental Phobia- this is the most extreme state of anxiety or fear identified by psychologists.  It is that sense of panic when the dental appointment reminder comes through the letterbox.   This sense of panic can only be relieved by avoiding the dentist altogether. Usually sufferers of dental phobia have NOT had a bad experience at the dentist that has resulted in their deep-seated fear. Like all phobias, there is a large degree of irrationality involved. However, phobias are essentially habits, so it takes time and counselling to unravel the symptoms and come to a solution so that the prospect of a dental exam does not fill you with an all-consuming fear.

What to do if you’re suffering from dental anxiety

If you’re avoiding the dentist and haven’t had a routine check-up in years because of nervousness, anxiety, fear or phobia, know that you can discuss these fears with your dentist.  He or she will have had a wealth of experience dealing with anxious patients and will have formulated methods for dealing with said anxiety over time.

Essentially, the key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss any fears you may have with your dentist. Once he or she knows what your fears are, they will better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.

dental treatment for nervous patients

If your dentist dismisses you fears, find another one!!!!

If lack of control is one of your main stressors, actively participating in a discussion with your dentist about your treatment can ease the tension you may be feeling. Ask your dentist to explain what’s happening at every stage of the procedure. This way you will be able to  mentally prepare for what is to come. Another helpful strategy is to establish a signal — such as raising your hand — when you want the dentist to stop what they are doing. Use this signal whenever you are uncomfortable, need to rinse your mouth, or simply need to catch your breath.

Where the fear is at such an extreme that it can be classed as dental phobia, it is advised that you engage in counselling.  Counselling will help you identify triggers and help you develop alternative reactions to said triggers.


What is Sedation?

Sedation is a very safe process where a drug is given in an intra-venous form to relax and calm a patient. One of the effects of the sedative drug used (Midazolm, a benzodiazepine) is that the patient may not remember the full operation, and they will also feel quite drowsy. This makes longer and more complex procedures more comfortable for the patient. It is also a very safe method of relaxation. It is not the same as a General Anaesthetic.

Instructions for Sedation

Eat your breakfast/ lunch as normal on the day of the procedure

Take all routine medications as normal on the day of the procedure (unless instructed not to by the surgeon) Please remove all nail varnish from fingers

A responsible adult must be available to take the patient home (by car – public transportation is not allowed) and stay with them for 24 hours

Sedation will NOT be undertaken if there is no responsible adult available.

If you have any more questions you would like to ask, contact us here today.

At Dental House, we are 100% committed to working with you to achieve your dream smile.