At Our Gentle Dental Practice, We Make Every Effort To Ease Your Anxiety
Humans – as well as many other kinds of life – arrive in life helpless, and it’s easy to see how that can cause anxiety and genuine fear. While most of us can’t really remember what happened to us before age 4 or perhaps 5, we surely must wonder early in our lives what will happen if our mother never comes with necessary food or who will protect us if something starts to go wrong.
But with care and love, most of us learn to trust, at least to some degree. We trust our parents and other caregivers. But we don’t all trust everyone, and trusting strangers or those new to us can be especially difficult. Even when we have it all in terms of trust and happiness, we still have moments of anxiety and real fear. And we must learn to balance our anxiety with the trust we know must develop.
In general, our brains are divided into three specific regions with different functions:
- Lizard Brain. Rather unceremoniously called the “lizard brain”, the deepest-rooted part of our brain controls primal instincts – those urges we all have to flee or fight as well as to feed and reproduce. Put simply, this reptilian part of the brain, if you don’t mind it being put so crudely, keeps us alive and allows us to pass along our genetic material.
- Monkey Brain. Also somewhat crudely named, the “monkey brain” is the limbic region, and this part of the brain allows for relationship development with parents, relatives and others. Reptiles don’t form these kinds of relationships, but monkeys and other mammals like us do. This section of the brain is responsible for impulse actions as well.
- The Cortex. The section of the brain that allows us to control our impulses and function at a high level, the cortex doesn’t fully develop until we’re in our mid-20s. That explains why young people often act without thinking through the consequences.
With an understanding of these regions and their development, you can see how humans are designed to live in relationships and to control our impulses. This helps us survive in the world.
Those who had nurturing caregivers are very fortunate, but even some people with mostly positive childhoods experience trust issues. The more often our trust in someone is violated, the more likely we become to have fear and anxiety at other, non-related circumstances.
For many people, a visit to the dentist is something that provokes anxiety. Then, if you visit a dentist and experience pain, you more strongly associate pain with the dentist and the dentist’s office. We lose trust, and we lose confidence that the dental experience will be gentle and caring.
When you understand how anxiety is often related to trust issues and choose a dentist that is committed to easing your anxiety and minimizing your pain, you can get great dental results without a lot of pain or anxiety and start to build trust in the dental profession. It helps when the dentist understands this dynamic and works with you rather than against you.
There are actually several specific things a dental professional can do that can increase patient trust and comfort, and I’ll mention some of them.
Better Equipment And Procedures Mean Better Results
In the past, the way dental equipment was designed meant that pain was almost certain – and that meant that getting rid of all dental anxiety was practically impossible. Even administering a pain-reducing anesthetic created pain and anxiety because large needles were necessary.
Some dental offices still use these old and painful methods, but for many of us, times have changed. At this dental practice, we now use painless lasers and low-heat drill motors and use practices like micro-abrasion and other pain-reducing techniques that mean anesthetic is often unnecessary. When it is needed, topic anesthetics are used first and needles for injections are smaller than ever. Formulas are now warmed to body temp and pH neutral solutions are used to further ensure there is no discomfort when receiving the anesthetic. At most, there may be mild discomfort when an anesthetic is administered, but pain is a thing of the past.
We also use proven holistic methods to relieve dental anxiety, including aromatherapy and meridian magnets.
A Relaxed Patient Benefits Physically And Mentally
It also really helps when a dentist understands what impact causing a patient pain can have on the patient’s mental as well as physical health. For a lot of patients, anxiety can be reduced by simply taking time to get to know them and helping them understand that I can be trusted. That’s what I try to do with every patient anyway.
Toward that end, we have three important rules in our dental practice.
- We pay careful attention to what you want. If you raise your hand, we stop and see what’s concerning you. Perhaps its discomfort or simply anxiety. But we stop and take care of whatever needs arise before we move on.
- We tell you what’s happening. You won’t ever be surprised by what’s happening to you. You’re a partner in your own care and deserve you know.
- We don’t hurt our patients. Ever. Period.
We know that dental phobia is real and very common. And we take pride in doing what’s necessary to ease it for every patient. We know that every time you have a good experience at a dentist, it helps undo the damage to trust done in the past by other dentists.
You can’t help that you have lizard-like instincts happening in your brain, but we can help calm them as we work with you toward a brighter and nicer smile. I’m committed to doing what it takes to help you overcome dental anxiety.
Call us now at (619) 359-6569 to make an appointment for a free initial consultation with me, Dr. Paige Woods, DDS. I look forward to meeting you.