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Facing your anxiety

C

comfortdentist

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,881
Location
Miami, Fl
For many years I have said that solution for dental fears amounts to working with the right dentist and perhaps getting a therapist involved. While I offer IV sedation and so there is a need for it my goal is and always has been to help patients overcome their dental phobia. Not the best financial move on my part but I know it's the right thing to do so I was pleased when I saw this article online from National Public Radio about facing your anxiety.
https://www.npr.org/sections/health...ty-parents-learn-to-let-them-face-their-fears
 
G

geos

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2011
Messages
503
Location
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Wow, very interesting read. It makes me realize that some of the comments my dentist or my mom had at the end of my dental visits when I was younger certainly contributed to my anxiety. I would get out of the office and the comments would focus on what went bad instead of what went well. Now when I go to the dentist, they focus on things that went well and are pretty positive in their comments.
 
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,583
Location
United States
I think sedation has it’s place in very extreme cases at least to get the person through the door to get necessary care. Hopefully the patient would build confidence from that experience and could move forward to build a relationship of trust with the dental team with the end goal to be accepting treatment without sedation. I don’t think sedation should ever be the final answer without attempting other approaches.

The article makes an interesting point in the way it talks about accommodations making things worse which I never considered before. I think my dentist always being very matter of fact about my fears has helped me overcome them. She has a way of being firm but gentle in her approach. She’s always been very confident in treating me and she never really deviates in the way she carries out treatments or even suggests sedation (she doesn’t even offer it in her office). She seems to always go in with the expectation that I will tolerate treatment without a problem. She acknowledges my fears but never gives them too much attention and she gives reassurance but only sparingly and as needed. There isn’t this abundance of praise or hand holding and she makes every step of treatment feel like no big deal by describing what is coming next just as it is about to happen. Somehow she does this while respecting my fears and not downplaying them and I think that could be a tricky thing. I found confidence through tolerating each step of treatment. I still remember having my first filling with her. I remember her saying that we were about 75% done and I remember feeling so proud of myself just for getting that far and I honestly couldn’t believe how I was really doing it and was actually calm and okay with things. I think her approach helped me normalize certain aspects of treatment and de-escalated me in times of higher stress.
 
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