Allaying Fear of ‘The Drill’ And Other Dental Anxieties

A look at some of the most common reasons for dental anxiety.

Dental phobia is probably one of the main reasons that some people suffer problems with their teeth and gums. Whilst a poor diet and irregular cleaning are also major contributors, the reality is that if you see your dentist on a regular basis for checkups, not only will your own knowledge of how to look after your teeth improve, but also any damage to your teeth can be addressed quickly.

Despite this, it remains a fact that many patients avoid seeing a dentist due to their anxieties about what will happen both at the checkup and during treatment. In today’s blog, our Purley dentists look at some of the most common reasons for dental anxieties and try to allay your fears by explaining the reality of what actually happens.

The ‘needle’

Given the invasive nature of some treatments, it may seem strange that one of the top dental phobias is actually the needle that is used to administer the local anaesthetic. As ‘knockout’ gas can no longer be used within a dental practice, this is the only sure way to minimise any discomfort that would be felt during essential treatment. Without it, even smallest dental fillings would be a challenge for many patients.

What few patients realise is that any discomfort that comes from the injection itself does not really occur when the needle enters the gum. What you feel, which may seem a little unpleasant, is when the anaesthetic enters the bloodstream. Our Confidental Clinic dentists are aware that this part of the treatment process can feel uncomfortable and will administer the anaesthetic as gently as possible to minimise discomfort.

The dental drill

The sound of the dental drill can be frightening for some patients, especially younger ones who may be unfamiliar with the sound it makes. Perhaps in part due to our inbuilt ‘fight or flight’ reactions, it also acts as a ‘warning’ that we are about to experience something we may see as potentially unpleasant.

The sound of the dental drill is caused by the high speeds at which it rotates. This varies slightly from drill to drill, but is in the region of just under half a million rotations every minute. This high speed is what causes the high pitched ‘whining’ sound which so many patients dread. It is this very same high speed, however, which makes it a very efficient piece of equipment and enables us to accurately and speedily remove any necessary decaying or damaged material in preparation for the tooth restoration. It is worth remembering that the early dental drill was a hand driven tool which would have been slow and very painful indeed! Please also remember that technology improves all of the time and helps to make your dentistry experience as worry-free as possible.

Helping nervous dental patients

We know that seeing your dentist is not exactly fun, but the potential consequences are quite significant if you don’t. If you keep regular appointments, eat sensibly and brush and floss your teeth regularly, you are less likely to need treatment. Where you do need to have a procedure, you can be sure that the dentists at the Confidental Clinic will look after you in a calm and gentle manner. We will also discuss the option of having sedation to help you through your treatment, where appropriate.

If you are a nervous dental patient, and especially if you have avoided seeing a dentist for some time, why not call our Purley clinic on 020 8660 8923 to see how we can help you?