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Dental Anxiety Following Lockdown?

2020 June 3
by admin

Helping nervous dental patients to keep new appointments

It has been a strange and, for some, very stressful few months. Fear of the virus itself and the restrictions that have been placed on our daily life are likely to have affected a lot of people. Those that miss social interaction with others may have found this a lonely time, whilst those who have a tendency towards anxiety and nervousness may have found that this has worsened.

You will probably be aware that dental practices are allowed to open again on the 8th June, providing that they follow new protocols. These are currently being evaluated and refined and to keep you updated we’ve written a full blog on this, which you can read here. This should help to give our local patients some understanding of the changes that they are likely to notice.

For those patients who struggle to overcome their anxiety about going to the dentist, this may have become worse with the additional stress of the last few months. So in today’s blog, we offer some advice to help.

Act now – don’t store up problems

The first thing that we want to say is that dental problems don’t go away. Avoiding seeing a dentist when you have a minor toothache is not a viable long term strategy. You may be able to manage any discomfort with painkillers (as some have had to do whilst dentists are closed), but underneath the relief of painkillers, the tooth will continue to decay. A small cavity can usually be filled with a routine filling, but if left this may require a large filling. If left to advance too far, it may require a more extensive treatment such as the fitting of a crown or even removal of the tooth where it can’t be saved. Please don’t just hope that your problem will go away; it almost certainly won’t.

The same also applies to having a regular check up. Many of you will have had appointments cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. We will be gradually contacting you to arrange new appointments  so that you can resume the preventative care that we at Alexandra Dental Care believe is so important.

There is a risk that patients who are anxious about dental visits may use this opportunity to decline, or not keep, a new appointment. As mentioned above, delaying these may well lead to the need for treatment that could have been avoided. A good case in point being your gum health. By detecting gum disease early, it may be possible to improve this solely by better home brushing and flossing. Not detecting it could lead to you eventually needing a highly invasive deep clean procedure, or even losing a tooth altogether.

How we can help

As many of our Ashby, Swadlincote and Burton patients will attest, our experienced team do all that they can to put patients at ease. A friendly and calm chairside manner has enabled many previously nervous patients to feel more relaxed about receiving their dental care. We aren’t expecting you to jump in delight when your appointment is due, but we are confident that most patients will be able to keep their appointment and feel reasonably relaxed about it.

As we mention in our blog post about re-opening, patients may find that there is less ‘chat’ at appointments for now and that we are wearing additional facial protection. We hope that this will eventually be unnecessary, but please remember that this is being done to protect both dentist and patient and that we are still the same friendly and caring people beneath it all.

Sedation for treatments

Patients who are especially anxious about visits and who have suffered a dental problem during lockdown that they know will require treatment, may be particularly worried. Whilst we do all that we can to keep patients relaxed, this can still present challenges.

For these patients, and those undergoing longer procedures, we are pleased to offer IV sedation. This is administered via the back of the hand and patients will start to feel relaxed very quickly. You will remain awake but in a relaxed state that enables the dentist to carry out the treatment as quickly and efficiently as possible. You will need to bring someone with you to make sure that you get home safely as you will not be safe to drive, or even take public transport alone.

We believe that regular oral care is important and will do all that we can to make sure that all of our patients are able to receive this. If you are a nervous patient, we are always happy to discuss this with you and help you find a way to receive your necessary mouth care.

To contact Alexandra Dental Care, please call us on 01283 216347.

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