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"No Need to Fear!" Khajavi DDS

posted May 23, 2014, 3:32 PM by Dr. Elham Khajavi



             If your upcoming dental appointment is creating anxiety or fear you are not alone!  According to some estimates 20% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of these specific feelings.  That’s about 30 – 40 million people!  People often use the words “anxiety” or “phobia” when speaking about the dentist. These two words, although sometimes used interchangeably, actually have very different meanings.  Dental “anxiety” is a sense of uneasiness when it is time for your dental appointment.  Dental “phobia” is a more serious condition wherein patients anticipating a dental appointment experience intense fear and even panic.  Whether you suffer from the less disabling “anxiety” or the more serious condition of dental “phobia,” visiting your dentist under either of these circumstances can be a very uncomfortable experience.  

            At Khajavi DDS, we realize there are patients who truly suffer from these fears.  There are many reasons why patients manifest these symptoms.  They could have a fear of the unknown, a fear of needles, a negative or traumatic past dental experience, embarrassment for neglecting their oral health or simply a fear of choking.  Each of these can potentially keep the patient from receiving the proper and necessary dental treatment they need.  As we all know, avoiding dental treatment can lead to serious dental complications in the future.  So, what’s the solution?

            One of the most effective ways to address these problems is to find a dentist that you feel comfortable with.  Most dentists are trained to support patients who suffer from anxiety, fear and stress. Khajavi DDS begins by building a relationship with the patient through a thorough consultation appointment.  This is important for both the patient’s comfort and for the dentist to get to know the patient before any treatment begins.  Patients are encouraged to ask detailed questions about the dental treatment needed and we believe it is our professional obligation to make sure each patient understands each step of whatever procedures will be performed.  In most cases, this initial appointment helps relieve some of the dental anxiety that the patient may be feeling.

            Distraction techniques are another very effective solution.  Many patients reduce their anxiety levels and fear by listening to their favorite music.  This not only helps some patients relax but also “tunes out” some of the trigger noises that set patients nerves on edge.   We all have a very clear memory of the sound made by a dental drill being used to prepare a tooth to be filled.  At our office, we have provided TV’s with full cable channel selections that can be viewed from our comfortable reclining dental chairs.  This is another nice distraction for those who would like to take their mind off having dental work performed.  For those highly anxious patients, nitrous oxide sedation is available.  In extreme cases a general anesthetic administered by a medical doctor specializing in anesthesiology may be used.  And a very simple way to relieve much of the stress experienced during any dental procedure is establishing a “signal”, such as raising your hand, for use when you want the dentist to pause whatever function is being performed.  This arrangement gives the patient more control over the process.  Knowing you can stop the procedure any time you want lessens the anxiety level associated with treatment.  These signals may be used when you are uncomfortable, need to rest your mouth or simply need to catch your breath.

            So next time you see a dental appointment on your calendar and start feeling a bit anxious and apprehensive remember, your dental health is extremely important and your dentist is there to not only provide the treatment necessary to maintain your dental health, but to do so in such a way as to avoid the traditional trauma historically associated with visits to the dentist.  We may even be able to make your trip to the dentist an experience you’ll look forward to and not dread.  Well, at least we can eliminate the “dread” part!  So come on in, we’ll warm up the T.V. and turn on the soft music for you!