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Don’t Fear the Dentist

  • August 17, 2016

Many, many people don’t like going to the dentist. For some people, the feeling goes beyond dislike all the way up to full-blown fear. A dislike of seeing the dentist runs on a scale, from mild feelings of uneasiness, through jittery anxiety, and all the way to an actual phobia.

In fact, fear of visiting the dentist is so common that it has its own name: dentophobia.

Sometimes, dental anxiety or fear is due to a bad previous experience. Sometimes, there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason for it.

If you’re not overly eager to visit the dentist, you’ve got a lot of company. But you shouldn’t let that stop you.

In addition to brushing and flossing daily, seeing the dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning is the most important thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy. Gum disease and tooth decay begin with the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film, on the gum line around your teeth. Everyone gets plaque – it’s unavoidable, because it’s caused by the bacteria in the mouth interacting with the sugars in our foods.

Thorough and regular brushing and flossing do a great job of removing plaque. However, it’s all too easy to miss one or two tiny spots. Once the plaque has a chance to get to work, it causes inflammation in the gums (gingivitis) and begins eroding the enamel on your teeth.

Dr. Duffield and the staff can detect the slightest trace of plaque remaining on your teeth during a checkup and cleaning. By the time you leave our office, your mouth will be plaque-free.

So, while mild to severe dental anxiety or dentophobia is completely understandable, the health of your teeth and your mouth is riding on regular checkups.

We Take Steps

Fortunately, you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Everyone at Duffield Dentistry understands and sympathizes with dental fear and anxiety. We go to great lengths to help our patients remain as relaxed and comfortable as possible during every visit. Our efforts begin well before your appointment.

We take care to explain every step in your procedure to your satisfaction. For those who hate being rushed, we offer the option of longer appointments so that things can proceed at a more relaxed pace.

Some people dislike the sounds of dentistry. Knowing that we have headphones available to drown out that noise, by playing music or nature sounds, can be very reassuring.

You’ll also find the staff’s calm, relaxed manner to be very reassuring. We’re very experienced in helping people of all ages to relax before, during, and after any procedure. We hope that you’ll feel comfortable telling us of any concerns you might have about your treatment.

Direct Measures

For those who need a little more help dealing with their time in the chair, Dr. Duffield provides the option of inhaled sedation. Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” is administered through a mask. You simply breathe it in, and you’ll find yourself relaxing. At any point, you can increase those feelings of calmness and relaxation by breathing a little deeper or a little more often. So, you have control over the amount of inhaled sedation you need to feel comfortable.

Nitrous oxide wears off very quickly and most people are able to drive themselves home after a dental appointment with inhaled sedation. If you’ve had nitrous oxide before and are unusually sensitive to the effects, be sure to arrange for a driver.

Some people need a little more help than nitrous oxide provides. Dr. Duffield offers the option of conscious sedation. With conscious sedation, you’ll arrive at our office about an hour before your appointment. The staff will administer a pill which you swallow. Once the sedation has taken effect, your appointment can begin.

With conscious sedation, you’ll remain calm and relaxed without having to do anything. Some people do fall asleep during the procedure, though, and most of them report that they’re delighted.

Please note that you’ll need someone to drive you home after your appointment.

Count On Us.

We’ve helped thousands of dental patients to get the dental care they need in spite of anxiety or fear. We can and will do the same for you.

Call us at our Royal Oak, MI office at 248-721-4502 for an appointment. You can also use the online contact form to leave us a message. We’ll work with you or your family member before, during, and after the procedure to ease any concerns or anxiety.

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