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Dental Anxiety and Fear

The overwhelming fear of dental appointments can be a common cause of anxiety. Many people visualize a drill-wielding man in a white coat just waiting to cause pain and remove teeth. The reality, however, is very different. The comfort, relaxation, and happiness of the patient are the primary focus of any good dental practice. The staff at the practice will do whatever they can to reduce anxiety, allay fears, and provide painless, quick treatments.

Dental anxiety and fear dentistry in St. Helena

Recent technological advancements have meant that in many cases, dentists are able to replace noisy drills with painless laser beams. There are also a wide variety of safe anesthetics available to eliminate pain and reduce anxiety during routine appointments.

Here is a list of some of the most common dental fears:

  • Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth
  • Fear of gagging
  • Fear of injections
  • Fear of loss of control
  • Fear of not becoming numb when injected with Novocain
  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of the dentist as a person
  • Fear of the handpiece (or the drill)

How can one overcome dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming. It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the dental office at all because they are too afraid. Receiving regular dental check-ups and cleanings is incredibly important. Having regular routine check-ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.

Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:

Talk to us - We can't read minds. Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, we can take extra precautions during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.

Bring a portable music player - Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.

Spray the throat - Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex. Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.

Take a mirror - Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild. Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.

Agree on a signal - Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment and will continue with the procedure regardless. The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal. Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.

Ask about alternatives - Advances in technology mean that dental microsurgery is now an option. Lasers can be used to prepare teeth for fillings, whiten teeth, and remove staining. Discuss all the options with us and decide on one that is effective and produces minimal anxiety.

Sedation - If there is no other way to cope, sedation offers an excellent option for many people. There are several types of sedation, but the general premise behind them is the same: the patient regains their faculties after treatment is complete.

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in St. Helena

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Judy M.

I've referred many friends to Dr. P, all have had a painless, comfortable and even fun experiences. Dr. P is the master of the painless injection. The staff is not only knowledgeable, and compassionate, but friendly and fun too. A full 5 star experienced dentist.
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Juliet V.

Pauline's the best ~ professional, generous, intelligent, caring, her whole team deserves 5* ~ even with procedures I'm nervous about, she calmly does excellent work.
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Stephanie Z.

We have been loyal patients of Dr. Demetrakopulos for 4 years now. We drive from Rocklin almost 2 hours to come see Dr. Pauline. We love the service and treatment we receive. Everyone is super friendly and we have thoroughly enjoyed being patients here. We highly recommend going here for any dental work.
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At St. Helena Studio of Aesthetic Dentistry, it is our mission to provide quality dentistry in a beautiful, safe and supportive environment.

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