Helping Patients with Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia

Closeup portrait young terrified girl woman scared at dentist visit, siting in chair, covering her mouth, doesn't want dental procedure, drilling, tooth extraction, isolated clinic office background

It’s not a good idea to avoid going to the dentist. Dental checkups are mostly about providing preventive care. But if you miss your checkups, small problems can get a lot worse. Plaque and tartar buildup can turn into gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease and tooth decay can cause a patient to lose one or more teeth. And if gum disease isn’t effectively treated, it can eventually lead to serious health issues such as strokes, heart disease, and alzheimer’s disease.

What are Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia?

Unfortunately, many people are reluctant to visit the dentist due to dental anxiety or dental phobia, two related conditions that afflict millions of Canadians. According to Stats Canada, 40 percent of Canadians have a “strong fear of going to the dentist.”

For people who struggle with dental anxiety, the thought of visiting the dentist causes levels of fear that are “exaggerated” or “unfounded.” The symptoms of dental phobia are much more intense than dental anxiety. Dental phobia leaves patients feeling panic stricken when they think about going to the dentist.

What Dentists Can Do

There are several things dentists can do to help patients overcome dental anxiety. But it all begins with creating a safe and pleasant environment for patients to receive dental care. That’s why everyone who works in a dental office should speak softly when patients are present. They should also refrain from using any threatening actions or body language.

It’s also helpful for patients with dental anxiety or dental phobia if the dentist meets privately with them in his office before treatment begins. This allows the dentist to describe the upcoming treatment in a relaxed setting and answer any question that patients might have.  

Another thing dentists can do to help put patients at ease is to take frequent breaks during treatment. It’s also reassuring when the dentist provides positive reinforcement to the patient. One thing that a dentist should never do is scold patients about how long it’s been since their last visit. Guilt about the condition of their teeth is a major cause of apprehension for patients with dental anxiety and dental phobia.

What Patients Can Do

Patients are encouraged to seek treatment from a mental health professional for their dental anxiety or dental phobia. There are several techniques that have been successfully employed to treat dental anxiety and dental phobia, including systematic desensitization, cognitive therapy, and biofeedback. Patients can also try relaxation strategies on their own. Breathing exercises can be particularly effective for helping people relax. In fact, there are a number of them available on youtube.

Your Full Service Dentist in Lake Williams

Dr. Wassenaar offers a wide range of restorative and cosmetic services for patients in the Lake Williams area. Call to schedule an appointment and discover what we can do for your smile.

 

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Covid-19 (Corona) Virus

Dear valued patients of Williams Lake Smiles,

We hope this finds all our patients and friends healthy and well as summer is supposed to be arriving! Fingers crossed that we will see some sunshine in the Cariboo soon!

Our clinic staff have been working hard through this "new normal" of COVID-19 and ensuring that our clinic is exceeding the regulations to create the most safe and comfortable environment for all our patients. In the field of dentistry, we have always been experts in infection control. Now we are establishing a modified workflow to go above and beyond in this endeavor.

We are starting to resume some scheduling of more routine procedures as well as emergency care at this time. Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about our current protocols or would like to schedule care.

Please respect our measures we are taking to ensure physical distancing within our office. This includes completing the COVID-19 prescreening form that is emailed to you before each appointment. We are also continuing to limit our waiting room to one person at a time and having patients complete payments and scheduling in their treatment room before exiting through the side door. This allows us to prevent interaction between patients whenever possible.

You may also find that we are slightly less flexible in our available appointment times for now as we are managing these new measures. We need to consider the amount of patients within our clinic at any time as well as stagger our patient entry and exit times.

Please be patient and kind as we all adjust to this protocol that is in place for the safety of all of us.

Take a few minutes to watch and share our latest instalment of Dr Wassenaar's appearance on the television program "The Wellness Hour". This interview outlines a lot of what we are doing to make sure that our patients have the utmost confidence and comfort in visiting Williams Lake Smiles at all times.

https://youtu.be/16Mdc2RF6Cw

Our first TV interview has enjoyed 860,000 views with world-wide sharing. We would love to hear your feedback.

We look forward to seeing you in our office soon.

Sincerely,

Dr Rudy Wassenaar

Dr Sophia Dahai

And all the Williams Lake Smiles team


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