The previous blog talked about anxiety in the dental chair

in some general terms as to what can be done to help

the patient who is fearful. But there is some additional

information about what can be done, particularly by the

patient.

First, make sure you tell the dentist that you have some anxiety about your dental treatment, or that you are just plain scared or petrified of the thought of having dental treatment. This helps more than you will ever realize. Once the dentist knows you are not happy about sitting in the chair, he can begin the conversation to offer some suggestions on what can be done to help you. The worst thing that you can do is not to tell the truth. Men are the worst about this. They will not admit to any fear or apprehension about what is going to be done. Nothing is worse than starting a procedure and suddenly have the patient begin have a melt down. Everybody loses when that occurs. I have had to stop work on many people and tell them that we were finished with todays treatment and that they would have to return sedated to complete the procedure.  

In most cases they are relieved with this and return sedated and have an excellent experience and are glad that they learned there was an alternative. The dentist is much more comfortable working on someone who is relaxed and not jumping around groaning about how much they don’t like what is happening to them. So be honest and tell the dentist exactly how you feel about things.

Once you start the discussion, listen to the choices which are suggested to help you deal with the treatment. Ask questions and get all of the information you need to help you make a decision. Remember, treatment for dental work can range from no anethetic for the procedure to going to the outpatient surgery center for general anesthesia. That is a very large range. You can always start out on the low end of the spectrum. If the local anesthetic or nitrous oxide is not working for you, tell the dentist and let him or her know you need some help and that would be sedation.

Another situation that occurs some times is the local anesthetic not seeming to work as well as it should. There are a number reasons that this can happen. It can range from the dentist missing the block on a lower nerve (this is very common since the dentist can not see the target and it is very small and the actual location can vary), to infection around the tooth or teeth, or the anesthetic  does not work due to some chemical problem with the solution. When any of these things happen and the patient begins to feel some pain or discomfort it is bad for everybody.

There are ways around the situation. The dentist can use a series of different injections at different sites in the mouth in an attempt to block or numb the nerve at various locations where it is located. Using a selection of different local anesthetics for the injections can also help with this problem. If these fail, then sedation solves the problem in most cases.

If a patient is nervous and has alot of anxiety about the dental treatment, it can create problems with the anesthesia working. A relaxed and happy patient has a better experience and everything seems to flow smoothly.  So speak up and let the dentist know how you really feel. It will make everyone’s dental visit much better.