Dental anxiety is associated with the prospect of visiting the dentist for preventive care and dental procedures. Fearful and anxious individuals present to the dental office only when acute emergencies often require complicated and traumatic treatment procedures. The current pandemic situation exacerbates this fear of dental clinics. Palpitations, sweating, racing heartbeat, signs of panic, fainting, and using humour to cover the anxiety are all the signs and symptoms of dental anxiety. Therefore, it is critical to identify and treat dentally anxious patients when they arrive at the dental office. Therefore, before going through the dental experience, it is significant to make your dentist aware of your anxiety.
Dr Shraddha Mishra, Founder of Niyama Care, shares a few ways in which dentists can help patients make comfortable
Clinic Environment And Scheduling: Dental office ambience can significantly initiate dental fear and anxiety. Scheduling those kinds of patients in the morning can be helpful since afternoon appointments only make the anxious patients start worrying and fretting over it. Nonetheless, a nervous patient will still be anxious even over the morning appointments, but entering a relaxing clinic environment might become a game-changer. The use of soft music and the avoidance of bright lights can help to create a calm and unthreatening office environment. Introducing pleasant ambient odours to the dental environment can also help to reduce anxiety.
Distraction And Giving Control: There is a difference between saying "open wide" and "Let me know when you're ready." Giving anxious patients control during the treatment is necessary by letting them know they can say "stop" whenever they feel uncomfortable and "resume" whenever they're ready. Distractions also work quite well in those situations. For example, the dentist can ask the patient to bring their playlist or earphones to listen to music and talking with the patients about engaging topics also helps.
Caring And Communication: An excellent patient-dentist relationship is crucial for managing anxiety. Empathy and understanding always go a long way. Making people feel welcome and understanding their fears and concerns helps them relax. Dentists should give complete information regarding the problem, treatment options, and preventive procedures. Checking verbally with the patient before, after, and during the process helps make the dentist look empathic toward the patient.
There can be other alternative approaches like asking the patients for beverages, proper breathing techniques, aromatherapy, etc., which can also be helpful. First, however, the dentist and the whole dental team must know how to care for patients with dental anxiety properly.
Successful treatment depends on the cooperation of the dentist and the patient, and a relaxed patient will result in a less stressful environment for the dental team and better treatment outcomes.