Dental anxiety and phobia results in avoidance of dental care. It is one of the frequently encountered problems in the dental office. The initial interaction between the dentist and the patient reveals the presence of anxiety, fear, and phobia.
Both dental anxiety and fear evoke physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses in an individual. Fear of visiting the dentist may accurately result in bad oral health with more missing teeth, decayed teeth, and poor periodontal status. These patients need to be identified at the earliest opportunity and their concerns addressed.
MANAGEMENT OF FEAR AND ANXIETY IN ADULTS:
Proper evaluation of the patient and identifying their source and level of anxiety can enable the dentist in deciding a proper treatment plan for the patient. There are few things that can enable the comfort level of the patients and a few of them are:
DENTAL CLINIC SET UP:
The environment of the dental office can alter the patient’s anxiety and fear. The clinic atmosphere will be lighter and calm with good ambience and good relaxation music. Walls will be adorned with good posters and pictures.
RAPPORT BETWEEN DENTIST AND PATIENT:
A good rapport between a dentist and patient is always necessary to reduce fear and phobia. Proper information and history of any previous bad incidents during dental treatment should be noted. The patient should be informed prior to what treatment plans and how it is going to be done so that the patient comes well prepared for it. Also queries from the patients must be welcomed.
Distraction is a useful technique of diverting the patient’s attention from what may be perceived as an unpleasant procedure. Giving a short break in between procedure, distracting the patients with audio-visionary objects like music systems, television and games will also be used for distracting the patients and keeping them calm
Loss of control over the treatment procedures are a significant cause for anxiety, and hence providing control is very essential. Telling the patient what to expect, and measures taken to ensure their safety makes the treatment comfortable and also the patient anxiety free.
Positive reinforcement is an effective technique to reward desired behaviors and thus strengthens the recurrence of these behaviors. Reinforces include positive voice modulation, facial expressions, and appropriate physical demonstrations of affection by all members of the dental team.
This is a technique in which the under the influence of anesthetic drugs the procedure is carried out keeping a continuous verbal communication with the patients.
This is a commonly used dental sedation. A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen is used in this procedure. Nitrous oxide is a sedative and is also an analgesic.
Fear and anxiety is one of the most common factor encountered in the dental clinic. Once you feel fear, let your dentist know your feeling, they are well trained in handling those situations. They can help you to overcome those fears and anxiety.