Are you anxious or phobic when considering a visit to the dentist?

You are not alone. Over a third of UK patients state having anxiety visiting the dentist. The main reason? Fear or anxiety.

I have treated many patients over the years who are not just frightened of the dentist: they are terrified!

Why are so many people frightened of the dentist?

When asked they almost always tell me the same story:

"....when I was a kid the dentist started drilling my teeth. It hurt, I was not numb and the dentist did not stop!"

These stories are so common it makes me, a dentist having qualified in 1986, ashamed of our profession. I have always tried my very best to put the comfort of my patient first and it makes my blood 'boil' to hear of patients still coming to me telling me that dentist A is a "butcher" or that dentist B "puts his knee on my chest when taking a tooth out" etc etc. It is all inexcusable.

In my opinion, there is no reason why a patient should feel pain!

I say this because I rarely cause any discomfort to my patients. Where I see some discomfort ...I stop.

Yes, I stop what I am doing and ensure that the patient is made more comfortable whether this means giving a little more local anesthetic, whether they requiring reassurance or whether they need a different drug or simply to come back another day. No reason for pain at all.

If there is no pain, patients still can have panic attacks: no wonder when dentists try to do everything in a hurried manner using all sorts of horrid pieces of equipment. There is no need for this either.

What patients require is an unhurried approach, sympathetic staff and a genuine sense of caring as to how the patient is feeling. This is why we find that we not only attract lots of new patients to our practices, but we keep them, along with their families, friends and their loved ones.

To us, there is no better recommendation than that of a patient who no longer fears or dreads going to the dentist!

Dealing with very frightened patients who have developed true fears about going to the dentist is not easy.

Even if you are not particularly nervous, you may find yourself having to have a rather nasty treatment carried out. No one likes to have a tooth removed, for instance, and who would not be fearful if they knew that tomorrow they would have to face having a tooth 'pulled'?

So, come along and talk to us. Few dentists in the UK carry out treatment under sedation, but we do.

To help relax extremely anxious patients, before treatment, we can put a little needle in the back of your hand and put a small dose of midazolam in your vein.

This does NOT put you to sleep. Instead, it makes you relax, feel disassociated and separated from what is about to be done and not really caring much at all. Your blood pressure drops back to normal, you smile, you are blissfully unaware and greatest of all..... you forget! The drug for the greatest part, stops you remembering. You will not even remember having your tooth out!

Very often our patients, who originally selected sedation, gradually give it up once their main (horrible) treatment has been completed.

We then progress with minor treatments such as cleanings without the drug but still maintaining the calm and relaxed atmosphere. Very often we employ humorous banter or music. It all depends on which of our dentists treat you but rest assured: all are very nice and you will see the best dentist to carry out the job in hand. If you have lots of complex work then you may meet us all at some point. But no matter who you have, slowly you will come to trust us and soon you will start losing those initial fears.

Written By Dr Mark Boulcott

Page last updated: 10 Jan 2020  12:11PM