Fear of dental treatment – what to do?

Fear of dental treatment – what to do?

The dental visit is associated with a sense of anxiety for about 70% of the
population. About 20% are highly anxious and 5% try everything to avoid the
dental visit completely. They suffer from a so-called dental phobia and can
be treated only with extremely severe pain, some even only under general
anesthesia.
Undoubtedly, the dentist must offer the necessary treatment even in the
case of an anxious patient in an emergency. This is not always easy.
Fearful patients often come for treatment only when a very pronounced
inflammation already exists, and thus a complete pain elimination is at
least significantly more difficult. If such a pain inevitably occurs during
such a therapy, the anxious patient experiences this as a confirmation of
his or her attitude and is not easily accessible to the subsequent urgently
needed dental rehabilitation. This is an important difficulty in the
treatment of anxiety patients.
Dentist anxiety often results from previous experiences, fear of possible
pain and reports of acquaintances about painful treatments.
The following behaviors and experiences characterize the dental phobia:
discomfort, nausea, diarrhea, fear of death, sweating, shortness of breath,
agitation, irritability, trembling, sleep disorders.
How can the dental fear be countered? First of all, the patient should be
thoroughly examined, but as free of pain as possible. Today, x-ray images
without triggering pain can provide important information that previously
could only be gained through the patients immediate, sometimes painful
examination. Then the patient is at rest. Subsequently, the dentist will
orientate his patient in detail about his findings and the various
treatment options. The patient must then – of course after sufficient
information by the dentist – decide which treatment to choose. So he is
involved, and he feels less exposed to the practitioner. Finally, during
his therapy, local anesthesia will allow a high level of freedom from pain.
Most importantly, the dentist should always have an open ear for the
patients concerns.