If you are afraid of the dentist, you are not alone. Luckily, we can provide pain free dentistry or sleep dentistry in either of our locations in the Perth suburb of Joondalup. In addition, we are 100% committed to treating every patient with the care, respect and dignity with which we treat our own family members. At 1300 GREAT SMILE, we make fear of the dentist a thing of the past.
Adrenaline, Panic Attack or Both?
Often, a patient will be in a dentist’s chair and their heart will start to race. They don’t know why and can panic, making the heart race even faster. Once this happens, a patient can develop a traumatic response and an expectation that it will happen all of the time. But what is really happening?
Adrenaline from the Anaesthetic
Some dental anaesthetics contain adrenaline. Most injections are into the gum, but sometimes the needle can nick a blood vessel and the adrenaline contained in the anaesthetic can cause the heart to race. Sometimes, even if the needle is perfectly placed, anaesthetic from the gum tissue can find its way to the bloodstream.
When the adrenaline reaches the bloodstream, the patient can react by becoming scared. This will cause the heart to beat faster. It is generally accepted as fact that most of a patient’s elevated pulse is from the patient’s stress reaction, because the amount of adrenaline that reaches the bloodstream is negligible.
One Panic Attack Can Cause PTSD
It only takes one bad experience to cause PTSD or “post traumatic stress disorder.” If an experience is extremely unpleasant, that experience can easily cause PTSD. Instead of forgetting the experience, we can internalise it. If we don’t resolve it, the memory of the experience can become worse over the years.
Eventually, many people just stop going to the dentist because of their PTSD. If you need to go to the dentist and decide not to because you are scared, it has two extremely negative consequences.
First, it reinforces and exacerbates the PTSD, making it even harder for you to say “yes” the next time you need to go to the dentist. Second, it allows your dental health to deteriorate because you are not getting the treatment you need to keep your mouth healthy.
It Starts in Childhood
There are various reasons for fear of the dentist, but it almost always starts in childhood. “Old school” paediatric dentists weren’t always the best at handling “objections” from children. Many would use tactics that were mainstream then but would be called “bullying” today.
As many as 19 out of 20 adults who are afraid of the dentist are afraid because they had an unpleasant experience at the dentist’s office while they were children. In today’s terms, it can be seen as a form of PTSD.
How We can Help
First of all, from children up to seniors, we always honor everyone’s feelings. If you are afraid, we try to get to the root of the problem with you instead of dismissing your feelings or telling you not to have them. When you tell us about fear or unpleasant experiences, we listen to you and empathise with you instead of judging you.
Pain Free Dentistry
We always make sure that you have enough topical anaesthetics to totally eliminate pain from your equation. Some people need more than others do. Your childhood dentist may not have taken the time or effort to provide you with a pain free experience. The standard shot of novocaine may not have been enough for you. Instead of giving you more, your childhood dentist may have just proceeded with the work and told you your pain was in your imagination.
That never happens at 1300 GREAT SMILE. We always make sure you have enough anaesthetic to enjoy a pain free session.
If you are so traumatised that you just don’t want to have work done, we can provide sedation or sleep dentistry. It’s really easy. You come to the office and we put you to sleep. When you wake up, the work is done. Many of our patients choose this option and are extremely happy with the results.
To learn more or make an appointment, call us today:(08) 9404 9500