A leading dental health charity has explained why there is no need to be afraid of visiting the dentist, after a survey reveals dental anxiety is still common.
The British Dental Health Foundation believes that while many people are now recognising that trips to the dentist are essential in maintaining good oral health, others are still put off from going to see a professional because they are unaware of the significant advances in the dental environment.
The Adult Dental Health Survey found that a third of patients suffer from a moderate form of dental anxiety, while one in eight suffer from extreme dental anxiety. When 2000 people were asked about their earliest memories of the dentist, the majority of answers mentioned pain, fear, injections, gas, and drilling.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, has drawn up a list of reasons why the dentist need no longer be feared.
Advances in technology
Firstly, the technology has changed and improved significantly, even over the last decade, which means that treatment can be almost painless in the majority of cases. A numbing gel can be used for extra comfort if desired. Gas is a thing of the past – dental practices no longer carry out general anaesthetics, and improvements in dental health mean the use of gas has reduced.
Dentists are prepared
From the dentist’s perspective, most are prepared for nervous patients. Many can now offer techniques to help relax their patients, such as sedation and relaxation, and appointments can be made at a time of day to suit individuals, so there is less stress trying to balance work commitments with appointments, and the risk of arriving at the dentist in a fluster after traffic troubles.
Carter emphasises the importance of communication – tell your dentist that you are nervous, and they can help. Taking a friend along or listening to music might help, and don’t forget that dental surgeries are much more welcoming nowadays. The smells and sounds of before are gone, replaced by artwork on the walls and friendly staff.
Consider the alternatives
Finally, remember that there are alternatives. If you still feel uncomfortable with the dentist, you can now book appointments with dental hygienists or dental therapists, who can discuss problems and lifestyle habits, perhaps able to judge oral health before even looking in the mouth. After speaking to other professionals whose assessments are less invasive, you may feel more comfortable going back to the dentist.
The dedicated team at Dental Care Partnership ensure that every patient feels relaxed and comfortable on each visit – to book your appointment, call us on 0121 354 1922 to speak to a member of our friendly staff.