Nervous Patients and Sedation
We pride ourselves on patient care and work especially hard with nervous patients to ensure their visit will be as positive as possible. Many of our patients are nervous of dentists and usually with good reason. One bad experience can put people off for life and more often than not it is down to anaesthetic problems. Many fear that they are out of control, that the dentist is rushing and not listening. We have many systems in place to help people deal with these issues.
Timing is everything
If you’re likely to stew on your upcoming appointment, schedule it for early in the day. You’ll have less time for the anticipation-stress to build and will be less likely to cancel. Plus, the earlier the appointment, the less likely that there would be a chance of the dentist running late so you will be in and out more quickly. We allocate a lot of time for our patients so we don’t ever have to rush a procedure. This gives us plenty of time to discuss treatment options and reassure patients throughout.
If it’s been a while since your last check-up, you’ll want to arrive early enough to fill out a new medical history form. Also make sure to write down any questions you have about that one extra sensitive tooth or the way you’ve been grinding your teeth at night. Your day-of nerves might cause you to forget everything you wanted to ask, so it helps to come armed with a written reminder.
If at all possible, bring a friend or loved one with you. Even if they’re simply there to sit with you in the waiting room, you’ll feel better having someone there to pat your back and say, “Honestly, it’s not that bad; you’ve got this!” If you can’t bring support in the form of a person, bring something you can squeeze or fidget with. Stress balls are particularly helpful and will give you something other than the arms of the dental chair to grip. We do have these available be sure to mention to your dentist and our nurse’s can have these ready on your visits.
Say you’re scared
If you’re nervous/scared/completely terrified, say it early and say it often. Tell the receptionist when you call to make the appointment and remind them of it when you arrive. Tell your hygienist before they get started and go ahead and say it one last time when the dentist comes in to check on you. We are very used to caring for patients who 100% do NOT want to be here. If we know you’re uneasy, our dentists can be a little more gentle in their approach and can maybe find a few shortcuts to 1. make sure your teeth aren’t rotting out of your head and 2. get you on your way home. All our dentists will stop immediately if you raise your hand. If you feel nervous or uncomfortable at any time, treatment will stop. This means our patients are always in control.
Drown out the noise
Not everyone is a massive fan of the sounds from the dentist instruments and drills and unfortunately as yet there is nothing we can do to silence the noises they make. We recommend bringing in your headphones and plugging in to your relaxed playlist to help you feel more at ease. Our dentists can let you know once treatment is completed but music is a very good distraction from the sounds around the dental surgery.
When your appointment comes to its conclusion, make your next appointment on the spot. This is a good idea for a couple of reasons. Many dentists get booked up with regular appointments in advance, so it’s best to claim your spot. But more importantly, you won’t have to agonize in six months about whether to do this all over again; the decision will have already been made. And if you liked your hygienist, make sure to request an appointment with the same one for next time.
For really nervous patients, we find that in-house intravenous sedation with our visiting sedationist Etienne Deysel is a fantastic option. This allows us to carry out a full range of treatments while you are comfortable and relaxed.
Intravenous sedation enables even the most nervous patients to have all dental treatments carried out. Patients are still able to communicate whilst under sedation and fully conscious, but will feel relaxed and calm. After treatment, patients remember very little of the treatment that has been carried out as it often has an amnesic effect. As with all sedation, patients need to be escorted home by a responsible adult chaperone. Etienne is a very experienced medical anaesthetist, who visits dental practices to provide intravenous sedation for patients, giving the patient’s own dentist an opportunity to carry out the treatment whilst the patient is comfortable.
We like answering questions! Any questions, however silly they may seem to you, will be answered fully. We find talking patients through a procedure makes them less stressed as they know what is happening, why it’s happening and what will happen next. On the other hand if you prefer not to know then just relax and listen to the radio! Talking to us will help us understand your needs and keep you relaxed and happy.