Nervous Patients

If you are prone to some nerves before seeing the dentist you are not alone. Dental anxiety is a real issue for an estimated 180,000 Irish Adults. At Carton Dental we are we are very sympathetic to the fact that many patients are nervous about attending the dentist.

We understand that patients can find it embarrassing that they avoid attending the dentist due to feelings of anxiety or fear. We will do our best to help patients overcome such feelings. We will not make you feel judged.

Why am I afraid of the dentist?

Being 'afraid of the dentist' may mean different things to different people. It will probably help if you work out just what it is that worries you most. Maybe the sounds and smells bring back memories of bad experiences as a child, or make you think that having treatment will hurt. The good news is that we understand these fears. Our aim is to work with you to do everything we can to make dental treatment an acceptable, normal part of life. We will always make your treatment and care as gentle and pleasant as possible.

I have been scared of the dentist for a long time – what is it like now?

Dental techniques have improved so much over the last few years that modern dental treatment can now be virtually painless. Despite this, most people still feel a little nervous at the thought of going to the dentist. If you have not been to see a dentist for some time, you will probably find that things have improved a lot since your last visit.

The general attitude is likely to be more relaxed, the dental techniques and safety procedures will be much better, and the equipment will be more up to date which allows for a more pleasant experience.

I haven't been to the dentist in a long time, will I need a lot of treatment?

People often fear the worst and suspect that if they haven’t visited the dentist in years they will need a lot of work done. This may not be the case. By avoiding the dentist you will have missed out on preventative treatments such as having your teeth cleaning to slow down bone loss or having fluoride varnish applied to the teeth to strengthen them. However it doesn’t help to fear the worst.

If you do need some treatment it is always best to know about that as soon as possible so that any decay or problem can be treated early. This will lead to less work being required, and any treatment that is required will be less complex meaning less time spent on the dentist’s chair and less expense to you. Again, it’s always best to know about a problem as soon as possible. There is no benefit in putting things off.

More FAQs

What will happen at the first appointment?

It’s totally up to you. At your first visit you may just want to have a chat and to tell us about yourself and your dental situation. This is called a non-clinical consultation. You may wish to have an examination where we will check everything for you and tell you what we think. You may be happy enough to attend for and examination and cleaning at your first visit.

Again, it’s totally up to you. We will take things at your pace,

Should I tell the dental team that I am nervous?

Yes absolutely. It helps us to help you if we know that you are nervous. It helps even more if you can tell us what you particularly dislike. If you can think of the reason that may have caused your fear then let us know about it.

I am afraid of injections, what can I do?

Many people are scared of the local anaesthetic injection needed to numb the teeth/gums. Again, be sure to tell us if this is something that bothers you so that we can reassure you. For all patients we apply an anaesthetic gel to the area of the gum before the injection. This gel numbs the gum so that you cannot feel the needle or only barely feel it.

What is the best time of day to visit the dentist?

Book appointments at a time of day when you feel at your best, and when you do not have any other commitments to worry about. Allow plenty of time so that you can get to the practice in a relaxed frame of mind - arriving in a rush will only make you feel more nervous. It is usually best to have something to eat before you go, so there is no chance of you feeling faint while you are in the chair.

Can I go to sleep for treatment?

General anaesthetics are now only rarely available for routine treatment. If a general anaesthetic is needed, patients are referred to a hospital where the necessary safety equipment is available.

At Carton Dental we can provide you with RA sedation to make you feel relaxed during your treatment. RA sedation is also often referred to as ‘happy air’ or ‘gas and air’.

If you will need to be ‘knocked out’ for dental treatment then we can refer you to a dentist that provides IV sedation. IV sedation can be great for certain procedures however the downside is that a patient can become reliant on it. There comes a point where due to age a patient will no longer be a suitable candidate for IV sedation. For all patients it is best to build confidence and trust in their dentist so they can accept dental treatment without having IV sedation.

Can I take a friend with me?

People often feel better if a friend comes with them to the practice. Think about what would suit you best. A reassuring and capable friend is often a great help.

Can I take anything with me?

Listening to music is a good way to help you relax. We play music in our treatment rooms. You are more than welcome to request the music that you would like to listen to or to bring your own headphones and music.

I have gone for a check-up, what do I do next?

Take things one step at a time. Talk to us about any proposed treatment and decide what you feel you can cope with. Take things at your own pace. Don’t try to do too much too soon. At the same time don’t space out your visits too much. Keep up the momentum when things start to go well.

What else can I do to help me relax during treatment?

Thinking hard about something other than the treatment is a good distraction. Try to solve a puzzle in your mind, or perhaps work out a plan for each day of next year's holiday. Or give yourself something tricky to do - try to wiggle each toe in turn, without moving any of the others. Focus on breathing regularly and slowly while relaxing your entire body. Avoid coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages prior to a dental visit, as caffeine can make you more nervous.

Will things get better with time?

In time you will gain control over your fears, and dental care will become a normal part of your life. Your confidence will grow and you’ll know that you’ve found a dental team that you can trust. Honestly, you won’t want to go anywhere else!

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