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Dental Phobia

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All of a sudden, Matt jumped out of the dental chair and was breathing rapidly. He started pacing in the treatment room, then he headed toward the reception desk. He stopped short of it. He leaned against the hallway wall and crossed his arms. The dental assistant in charge of Matt notified me that he wanted to leave. Matt was having a panic attack about the upcoming procedure.

There are several reasons for panic attacks, and a multitude of ways that upcoming treatment causes them. Here are several:

  1. Unaddressed turmoil exists in their personal life.
  2. Claustrophobia when reclined with two people close to their head, or when reclined too far back.
  3. Holding their breath to avoid smells, or just out of fear.
  4. The shrill sound of the dental drill, or other odd sounds in their mouth.
  5. Their decision not to swallow because they may interfere with a procedure or, worse yet, ingest a “bad thing”.
  6. A provider that doesn’t give them a break during the procedure, or doesn’t communicate.
  7. Their mindset that, if the same procedure hurt before, it can hurt again. This is even true when someone remembers a friend’s story, not their own. When I diagnose the need for a root canal, I often see eyes bulge!
  8. Their anxiety from running behind schedule, either because they arrived late or the office kept them waiting way too long.
  9. And, of course, the almost-universal dislike of needles placed into their body.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll tell you how our practice has modified the conventional approach to chairside procedures and has received training to recognize and adjust our techniques for patient comfort and confidence. By the way, Matt chose to have treatment that day, and has probably referred more than a dozen colleagues to our practice.

Contact Winterset Dental today to find out which treatment is right for you.

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