As important as dental care is, the reality is that many people avoid going to the dentist because they're scared. They're scared of the pain, equipment, lighting, smell and many other factors. Dental anxiety is real, and dentists around the country are aware of its negative effects.
Luckily, your dentist is probably taking steps to address this issue. In order for them to get you coming in for appointments and check-ups (check-ups should be done at least twice a year), here's what dentists are doing to appear less scary.
1. Dental sedation
Gone are the days when dentists would simply drill through your mouth and pull your teeth out in plain sight. Nowadays, dentists are using many different ways to reduce the pain of a procedure while maximising the comfort of the patient. Dental sedation techniques use various forms of anaesthesia to achieve this goal. For example, oral sedation involves taking pills that induce a relaxed state in patients. In this way, you won't feel the sensation of injections and other tools a dentist may use to treat your oral condition.
Other forms of sedation (such as IV) may also be used to make you partially or fully unconscious while undergoing treatment.
A significant portion of dental anxiety arises due to poor communication. If you don't know what the dentist will do to your mouth during a visit, you'll be less likely to feel comfortable and relaxed.
Dentists now share details of their procedures with patients so they can know what to expect. For example, a dental implant may be explained step by step, with additional emphasis on what the dentist will do to ease pain or discomfort.
The discomfort associated with dental visits may also arise due to ergonomics. In the past, many dentists would use large, awkwardly-shaped chairs and excessive lighting that made many people feel nervous even before starting treatment. With ergonomics, the goal is to keep you in a comfortable position (and relaxed) from start to finish.
Dentists have gotten better at customising patient chairs to fit these goals. For example, children may be placed in smaller, colourful chairs that make them feel calm. Adults may be treated on comfortable, yet casual chairs that radiate a familiar experience to other environments.
4. Office space design
Interior design has become huge in dentistry. Rather than making the office space appear like a different type of hospital, dentists are working with interior design professionals to implement unique themes. For example, the artwork makes the space engaging, while TVs and radio add an element of comfort. Such a design requires attention to detail. You will find many dentists arranging their office furniture, carpets and even appointment cards in strategic places to make the area more welcoming.
Reach out to a dentist in your area to schedule an appointment.