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Dental Anxiety and Fear

How can one overcome dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming.  It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the dental office at all because they are too afraid.  Receiving regular dental check ups and cleanings is incredibly important. Having regular routine check ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.

Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:

Sedation –  We are pleased to offer our patients Nitrous Oxide Conscious Sedation.  Nitrous Oxide is an inhalation sedative. It is breathed along with oxygen from a nosepiece.  It gives you a relaxed, detached feeling, free of tension and anxiety, and helps control excessive gagging. You will not go to sleep but will  remain relaxed and cooperative. Please feel free to discuss with Dr. Ormsby the option of using Nitrous Oxide Sedation for your dental treatment.

Talk to the dentist –  Though it can be hard to talk about your fears, Dr. Ormsby won't know of your anxiety unless you tell him.   He'll be able to take extra precautions and be extra gentle during your visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.

Listen to music – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises.  Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help reduce your anxiety.  We have a portable CD player available for your listening pleasure. You may listen to the radio, our CDs, or feel free to bring your own CDs, Ipod or Mp3 player.

Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are experiencing discomfort during the appointment and will carry on the procedure regardless.  The best way to  solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal.  Dr. Ormsby will review the "stop" hand signal with you prior to treatment at every visit.   

Spray the throat – The sensation of gagging during dental treatment is a very common one.  Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex.  We keep  throat sprays on stock and two or three sprays will usually keep the gag reflex under control throughout treatment.

Use a mirror – Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild.  Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind. If you would like to watch your procedure just ask us for the hand mirror. We love to show off our expert skills!

If you have questions or concerns about how we can help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact our office at (717)935-2295.

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