COVID-19 Enhanced Safety Protocols

Eliminating Dental Fear

Dr. Kristin Helms


Fear of the dentist is a reality for many Americans, and yet, the number of afflicted patients is on the decline. As the industry has changed and evolved, the notion of fear is falling to the wayside. Where a large percentage of the population used to avoid dental care, this number is now closer to 5-8% of Americans. So what has made the number fall so dramatically, making dental phobia a thing of the past? Everything!


Not to Fear: Pain-Free Dentistry

Until very recently, dental procedures were associated with pain. It was rare to be able to get through a filling or procedure without aches. Even the fear of pain was enough to keep people away. Now, we use a number of new numbing agents and other techniques to prevent any pain while the procedure takes place. In fact, most dental procedures are now completely pain free, yet people still associate them with pain.


Root canals are a great example. When you need a root canal performed, it is because your root is damaged and causing prolonged and uncontrolled pain. The procedure, when done correctly, involves numbing the area and removing the nerve. In essence, when you arrive at the dentist your existing pain is numbed, and we remove the very thing that senses pain… we remove the pain. When you go home, you might have some general soreness but the pain is gone. And yet, Root Canals are still incorrectly associated with pain.


The Atmosphere: Sounds and Smells

For some, the dentist office brings thoughts of plastic-sweet smells and high-pitch drill sounds. Yes, some of these sounds and smells are part of the experience, but much less so than in the past. The new equipment we use has different, quieter sounds and the scents vary quite a bit beyond the old one-tone sterile plastic scent. But still, if these new sounds or smells invoke any negative emotions, we can help. If you find the sounds unpleasant, you can use headphones to listen to music instead. If the smells are unappealing, we can make adjustments to the surroundings to create a different sensory experience.


Numbness and Gagging

Did you know that the overly numb feeling and gagging sensation are also a thing of the past? Previously, when injecting numbing agent, the full area of the jaw and sometimes the throat would become unpleasantly numb. Thankfully, we now have precise control over the strength and area of numbness. We are even able to keep numbness confined to a single tooth zone, preventing the negative choking numbness of the past.


Gagging is also not necessary to dentistry any longer. Previously gagging would occur when making mouth impressions. We now have the technology to skip the impressions and do everything digitally. No more goopy trays dripping and drying in your mouth.


Preventative Care

Another outdated fear is going to the dentist and discovering you need many teeth removed and root canals performed. Thankfully, in most cases Preventative Care eliminates these concerns. If you come into the dentist semi-yearly, we can isolate issues before they grow. There is little reason to let a tooth rot away, when the first sign of cavity is treated and repaired. Hairline fractures can easily be seen with our technologically-advanced oral cameras, and they can be repaired before penetrating to the nerves causing root canals. These small repairs also prevent large and invasive procedures and the costs associated with them, making dentistry more affordable.


Communication Gives You Control

The last outdated fear comes down to you. Some people fear being stuck in a chair with no control and no understanding of what is happening. We at Sensitive Care Dental Health Center take pride in communicating every step of the way, explaining what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what it will feel like. But we still need your input. We don’t expect our patients to lay motionless and helpless. If you need a break; If you would like to rinse; If your chair is too low; Let us know! Talk, mumble, or put up your hand. We really want you to have the best experience possible and will do everything in our power to help make this true every time. Take control and communicate your concerns, needs, and wants, no matter how trivial.


If you would like to make an appointment with a dental office who really cares about your experience, call Sensitive Care Dental Health Center in Milford, CT to schedule your appointment. 203-951-5540