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Expert Opinion: Treatment for Dental Phobia

MD Marcus Nowak MD Marcus Nowak

My name is Marcus Nowak, your dentist in the west of Berlin. My main fields of activity are implantology, aesthetic dentistry and oral surgery. Since 1989 I lead the practice and am supported by my highly motivated, well trained and experienced practice team.

In our practice, the most modern treatment methods are available to you. Especially with dental implants, the focus is on safety and sustainability of treatment. By means of modern and low-radiation computed tomography and computer-aided planning of the implantation a lasting success, also and especially with low bone supply, is guaranteed.

Not many people associate the visit with the dentist with pleasant feelings. Some anxiety before dental procedures such as drilling is more common. However, if the fears are so severe that even the thought of visiting the dentist causes discomfort, sweats or panic attacks, this may be an obstacle to a (necessary) appointment for a dentist.

On these pages we would like to offer you some tips and advice on causes, treatment and overcoming dental anxiety. We would like to try to relieve you of your fear or shame and point the way to healthy teeth and healthy gums.

If you've come this far, you're likely to find one or more of the following:

  • You have teeth and / or gum problems that may require remediation, which may be accompanied by loss of teeth.
  • The last visit to the dentist has been going on for a long time, maybe even years.
  • They want to solve their problems, but feel fear or shame at the thought of a visit to a dentist.

First of all, you should know that you are not alone. In our practice, we have already treated many patients who previously suffered from dental anxiety. This fear is quite widespread and is often based on uncertainty and lack of knowledge about the course of a dental treatment.

Studies show that about 70% of Germans feel at least uncomfortable when they think about the visit to the dentist or go to the dentist. Of these, about 20% have strong to very strong fears. And 5-10% of the timid avoid a visit to the dentist if possible, try to delay it or do not appear on the agreed date.

Dental anxiety is one of the specific fears that arises:

  • the people involved, especially the dentist
  • the experience or fears associated with dental treatment
  • the external circumstances (for example smell, noise, technical devices)
  • refers

It is, like all fears, an uncomfortable sensation that may be more or less accompanied by physical manifestations (e.g., sweating, palpitations, gastrointestinal disturbances) and mental peculiarities (e.g., painfulness, catastrophic thoughts).

The dentist is usually only the trigger of fears that relate to various factors of the treatment situation. Therefore, one should also speak of dental and not dental fear.

Fear does not arise first in the treatment situation, but mostly much earlier. With the time approaching a treatment appointment, it often rises and in many people after the treatment has begun.

Patients then find that dental treatment due to anesthesia and modern technology is far less unpleasant than they feared.

On closer inspection, it often turns out...

  • that not so much the dental treatment is feared, but the short-term painful puncture by the anesthetic injection or the possibility that a little blood can flow
  • that one fears to be able to lose self-control in the treatment situation
  • that one could be criticized for the condition of the mouth and teeth
  • that you find it unbearable when someone invades your own mouth

Unlike fear, the main feature of a phobia is that it avoids a fear-inducing situation (in this case the visit to the dentist) as long as possible, and that anxiety increases as this situation approaches. If necessary, a phobia should be treated separately.

The main cause of dental anxiety is the negative experience of dental care that you had to have as a child. Sometimes, however, it is only the - often dramatized - stories of relatives or friends that increase anxiety. With current dental visits, such experiences are then recalled and corresponding negative expectations arise.

Of course, the anxiety can persist or grow in the current treatment situation, when the staff are unfriendly and the dentist impatient, embarrassingly criticizes the state of the teeth and ignores his own fears.

On the other hand, the best therapy for negative experiences is the opportunity to gain new and better experiences. Today's dentists are psychologically better educated than their predecessors and work with gentler techniques than before.

In the following, we describe some common thoughts before a visit to a dentist and show you suggested solutions.

  1. You have had problems with your teeth for some time, partly in the visible anterior region and have already developed strategies to hide them as much as possible. This can be, for example, the holding of the hand while laughing, or the averting of the face when speaking with a counterpart. Or they open their mouths as little as possible while speaking.

    The teeth are an integral part of the facial expression, and damaged teeth quickly give the impression of neglect. A dental treatment is therefore not only recommended for health, but also from an aesthetic and social point of view. First of all, you should know that a dentist looks at your teeth with a completely different view than a conversation partner.

    Your dentist knows that damaged teeth are not necessarily the result of lack of care. Even if this is the case, your therapist will not blame you. The interest of her dentist is to restore her teeth and help her get a healthy set of teeth. Your practitioner has also seen many dental conditions in the course of his practice, so you do not have to be ashamed to open yourself - and especially your mouth - to the dentist.

    It is important for you to know that today almost every dental situation can be satisfactorily treated. There is hardly a dental situation that her treating dentist has not already seen in one form or another.

    Of course, after successful refurbishment, your dentist will also give you tips on how to care for your teeth. Please do not take this as a reproach, it just helps you to keep your new teeth long term.

  2. You have not been to the dentist for a long time and you are afraid of exhortations from the dentist and a painful treatment.

    The reasons why former anxiety patients in our practice did not go to the dentist are manifold. An often heard reason is the fear of a painful treatment. Often, the reasons for this lie in long-standing treatments, often in childhood. These traumatic memories can be evoked again and again by external factors. A certain smell that reminds you of a dentist's office, the sound of a drill, sometimes even the image of a dentist in a toothpaste advertising. Just the thought of the dentist leads to discomfort and sweats to panic attacks.

    Today, however, modern dentistry has completely different and improved treatment options than a few years ago. What was still painful at her last visit to a dentist years ago or in her childhood can most likely be treated much gentler today.

    Example anesthesia ("anesthesia"): even today, the local anesthetic is still added with a syringe. However, the puncture site is already anesthetized with an ointment, so that the actual puncture is barely noticeable. There is also the possibility of general anesthesia today with larger interventions. For the procedure and indication of general anesthesia please read our article: Treatments under general anesthesia

    Example of tooth extraction ("pulling a tooth"): Restorative dentistry, ie the preservation of existing teeth even in the case of major damage, has developed enormously. A tooth is pulled much less frequently today than it used to be. Modern techniques today allow the restoration of teeth under certain conditions, so that a gentler treatment is possible.

    Example of dental practice odor: The typical odor arises when using certain dental disinfectants (e.g., CHKM). But there are many other substances available that are odorless. These are also used in our practice.

    As you can see, a previous dental treatment that has led to you not going to the dentist is probably very different and much gentler nowadays.

    Your dentist will not blame you. From the point of view of the practitioner, it makes no sense, as it would only stand in the way of possible treatment. Allegations are probably already enough for you. Our job is to clear the way to healthy teeth. There is no situation that your dentist has never seen before.

  3. You have decided to change something in your dental situation, but fear the cost.

    If you have decided on an appointment with us, then at your first appearance only an inventory of your situation is made. In acute pain may be a treatment for pain relief instead. Both are, provided you are insured, at no cost to you. A treatment plan will be discussed with you, where we will introduce you to different alternatives. Only after this conversation, we will prepare for you a treatment and cost plan (HKP), from which all costs for the treatment emerge. Important for you: until this time, no costs have been incurred for you.

    Unfortunately, we can not make any blanket statements about the actual amount of the costs, these are very individual and related to the findings. But there is a solution for every finding and financial possibility.

  4. You have decided to visit a dentist. How can we help you to actually take this step?

    If you still have heart palpitations or are afraid to pick up the phone and make an appointment, you can alternatively use our inquiry form here on this website. If you indicate that you would prefer to have the first contact via e-mail, we will take this into account. For the actual appointment, it is necessary that we speak to you personally. For this, one of our employees will call you back. But rest assured, our employees are experienced and trained in dealing with anxious patients and will treat you in a friendly and unprejudiced way.

    And as described in point 3 there is no reason to worry about the first appointment. There is no immediate treatment. Often their fear of the first appointment will be very much mitigated. You will be relieved that you have finally taken a long desired path. Talking about a problem is the first step to the solution. We would like to help you.

Due to traumatic experiences with dental visits, it is impossible for some patients to go to a normal dental treatment. Just the thought of the dentist, or the upcoming dental treatment leads to anxiety and malaise, usually accompanied by vegetative disorders such as sweating, dizziness and heart racing to panic attacks.

This usually results in years of absence from the dentist with a steadily increasing need for treatment. Even major damage to teeth and gums, aesthetic problems and pain can not move patients to a dental visit.

The affected patients sometimes endure toothache for years with limited chewing power and ever-increasing bad conscience, the self-confidence suffers and the joy of life decreases. As time progresses, more and more an "insurmountable obstacle" builds up.

Renovation under general anesthesia is a useful tool in this case. The certainty that the dental treatment is painless and does not need to be experienced can make the first step in contacting many patients easier.

Modern, compatible anesthetics allow you to precisely dose the anesthesia time and depth as needed. Often, just one session is enough to do the following:

  • Tartar and tooth removal
  • Caries removal
  • Periodontal surgery
  • Implant placement
  • Bone formation
  • Fillings or build-up fillings
  • Grinding the teeth
  • Provisional care

Anesthesia can be performed on an outpatient basis in most cases. In general anesthesia, most necessary treatments can be performed in a single operation. In a partial anesthesia, in which the patient is put into a gloomy half-sleep, several sessions may be necessary.

The risks of anesthesia - assuming a preliminary examination - are relatively low. The drugs used are quickly broken down by the body. After the anesthesia only a temporary dizziness arises.

Further anesthetic treatment is not necessary in most cases. The anxious patient has hope and a new self-confidence. The insertion of the final restoration is usually done with normal anesthesia (if necessary). After the completed treatment, a regular Prohylaxe (teeth cleaning) should be done to protect the teeth from further damage.

We wish you much success and strength!

Author: MD Marcus Nowak on Facebook, Google+, Jameda.

2018-10-01 Treatment for Dental Phobia GermanMedicalGroup + 49 (7221) 39-65-785 Flugstrasse 8a 76532 Baden-Baden Germany Treatment for Dental Phobia Treatment for Dental Phobia Treatment for Dental Phobia
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