jAnxiety or Fear of Dental Treatment
Many people are concerned about discomfort during dental treatment, or anxious about having dental care.
Dr. Fox's compassion, experience, skill and advanced training in anxiety and pain control assures your comfort during all phases of therapy in our practice. He has been licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to provide safe sedation with intravenous, inhaled, or swallowed medications since 1989. There are about thirty general dentists, two prosthodontists, and five periodontists licensed to provide sedation services in Pennsylvania - including Dr. Fox.
Are you anxious in the dental office?
Past Experiences with Anesthetics that don't work.
The most common source of anxiety is worry about feeling pain during dental treatment. Expertly administered local anesthesia can and should be comfortable. More importantly, modern local anesthetics are extremely effective - there is little excuse for any dental patient to have pain during dental treatment. We see many patients who relate horror stories of past treatment without effective anesthesia and these people are initially surprised when we completely, safely, comfortably, and routinely block all pain during their treatment. Yes, even those people who are convinced that they can't be made numb. As you might expect, when fears and worries about pain are eliminated anxiety is significantly reduced or eliminated.
We don't hurt people in our office, and know how to comfortably care for those who have had prior problems with ineffective or inadequate anesthesia. We consistently provide comfortable care for people who have had bad experiences in the past. Click below for information on:
Anxiety caused by the doctor
Some doctors are rushed, too busy, or see too many patients at one time. But a caring, compassionate dentist who takes the time to understand your concerns is among the most effective means of reducing anxiety in the dental office.
We don't rush you or your treatment, and we work with you as a partner in assuring your comfortable care. We take the time to listen to you so we can better meet your needs and maintain your comfort.
Anxiety caused by a bad past experience
Prior experiences with inadequate, improper, painful, or unpleasant dental care is another common source of anxiety. By taking the time to explore the nature of previous bad experiences in the dental office, your past dental history, and any known reasons for anxiety a caring dentist will take whatever measures are possible to better meet your personal needs.
Feelings of being out of control or uninformed
The sensation or feeling of undergoing treatment but not being in control of the procedure or situation can be a source of anxiety. We use special signals so that patients can stop the procedure if they need a break, or are having a problem that is not apparent to the treatment team. We know that explaining treatment before it starts as well as answering all patient questions helps to eliminate or reduce anxiety. We are here to serve our patients needs - including preventing that feeling of helplessness - by being attuned to their physical comfort and their state of mind.
Frightening equipment or office atmosphere
Our custom-built office optimizes patient comfort and convenience while providing the doctor with a technologically advanced, ultra-modern facility. A spacious, comfortable, soothing interior office design helps patients avoid that "closed in feeling".
Our office is designed to keep instruments and frightening devices out of sight and out of mind. Our office doesn't have that "dental office smell" or a cold clinical appearance. People tell us that even our clinical environment is incredibly relaxing. We also offer first time visitors a complimentary office tour to help them feel at home.
We strive to reduce anxiety before you step foot into our office as a result of special staff training to provide caring patient services, informing you of what to expect, and how to answer your questions to ensure your confidence and comfort during your visits. The caring, personal touch of our entire staff goes a long way to reducing anxiety.
Surprises in the Dental Office
No one likes a surprise at the dentist's office. We discuss the diagnosis, options for treatment, costs, financial arrangements, and what to expect during office visits in advance. We take the time to answer any questions before we start patient care.
Anxiety in Children
We refer all children needing routine dental care either to a general dentist with special interest in treating children or to a pedodontist, a dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry. Pedodontists have two years of advanced training after dental school in meeting the dental and emotional needs of children at different stages of physical, mental, and emotional development. Pedodontists have offices specially designed and equipped for children. This all helps to provide stress free experience for your child while laying the foundations for a relaxed, confident approach to dental care when they reach the teenage years and adulthood.
Our practice is designed for the comfort and treatment of adults, and we are happy to recommend dentists who a great with children..
There may be unusual circumstances when children require specialty level dental care for atypical prosthodontic or periodontal problems. It has been our privilege to treat selected children with these special needs by referral from general dentists and pedodontists. Under such circumstances, we offer multidisciplinary specialty care to children while endeavoring to provide them with a comfortable experience. We respect the limitations imposed by a child's age or individual level of development.
Anxiety without an apparent reason
Some people are anxious in the dental office for reasons they may not be able to explain. Others understand why they are anxious, but feel unable to relax or contain their emotions when having dental care or even when just thinking about dental care. This can be a result of their individual nature, or due to other complex problems.
In these situations, special medications are available to help anxious patients relax before or during treatment. The medication used is tailored to each patient's personal needs. When it is helpful, your dentist may also prescribe medicine to assure a good night's sleep before dental visits.
Doctor Fox has advanced training and special licensure in the use of nitrous oxide (gas), medications taken by mouth, and intravenous medications.
What Can Patients Do About Dental Anxiety?
Talk to your dentist !
Talk to your dentist about your feelings, prior dental experiences, and any special concerns. Your dentist may be able to dispel any negative feelings, misunderstandings, or fears that you may have. Dentists who take the time to speak with you about these matters should be understanding and helpful when it comes to providing you with comfortable care with as little emotional stress as possible.
If you can't talk to your dentist find a dentist who you can talk to. The best thing anyone can do to ensure their comfort in the dental office is to find a qualified, conscientious dentist who will work with them to meet their special needs, listen to their problems or concerns, and who is genuinely interested in providing comfortable care.
Your dentist should be very interested in helping you have a safe, comfortable, positive experience in the dental office.
Sleep Dentistry & General Anesthesia
Be cautious about doctors who claim they can treat everyone with the use of oral medication which produces deep sedation, memory loss (amnesia), or loss of consciousness. Such treatments may not be generally accepted, or carry needless risk of complications - particularly when the treating doctor is not trained, qualified, and equipped in the use of emergency resuscitative measures or medications. Doctors properly trained to provide safe sedation services hold special state licensure in anesthesia and sedation. ( Dr. Fox has held a special state permit for sedation since 1989.) Advertisements for light sedation with oral medications by dentists with minimal training (typically a two or three day course) are commonplace, so be sure to check the doctor's anesthesia license before undergoing dental office sedation.
While general anesthesia may be an option for some patients, the risks of general anesthesia are best avoided whenever possible. Some patients may even need hospitalization for dental treatment. Hypnosis by an appropriately trained dentist or another health care professional may be another option worth exploring.
Common Sense Measures
Avoid using caffeine (in coffee, tea, or sodas), alcoholic beverages, or illicit drugs before dental treatment. High-protein foods tend to produce a calming effect, while those with a high sugar content may worsen anxiety.
During treatment focus on breathing evenly and slowly. People who are nervous tend to hold their breath, which decreases oxygen levels in the blood and further increase feelings of panic or anxiousness.
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