Anxious Patients

Anxious Patients North Sydney

We strive to make our dental practice an anxiety-free zone!

We understand that for many people dental anxiety or fear of the dentist can prevent them from receiving the care they want and need. With this in mind, Dr Freelander and Dr Tsang have developed an innovative approach to reducing anxiety and increasing comfort in our Wahroonga dental practice.

Our dentists strive to empower our patients by walking them through their treatment options and the associated costs in order to alleviate some anxiety or stress about the cost of dental care.

We guide you through the treatment you are receiving every step of the way – you know exactly what is happening at every stage of the process.

Comprehensive Sedation options are offered to anxious patients to allow them to receive the dental treatments they require in a relaxing and comfortable environment. These options include:

  • Penthrox
  • “Happy” gas, otherwise known as Nitrous Oxide
  • Oral Valium sedation
  • Topical anaesthetic
  • Advanced anaesthesia techniques
  • Relaxation therapies
  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

We have invested in state-of-the-art dental technology to provide minimally invasive treatments that maximise the results we can achieve. If you have delayed seeking dental treatment for years due to fear or anxiety, Wahroonga Family Dental Centre may be an ideal choice for you. Our friendly team are more than happy to answer any of your queries or concerns before, during or after your dental treatment.

Our dental professionals often observe that it is the loss of control which can be so nerve racking when visiting the dentist. You can rest assured that we will keep you informed about exactly what we are doing as we do it. In addition to this, our dental professionals will also closely monitor you to ensure that you are comfortable for us to proceed at all times.

Our dental professionals will also strive to create a partnership with you, becoming familiar with your dental needs and any potential levels of dental anxiety. By creating this partnership with you we can help to eliminate your fears and make you feel comfortable around our proficient team.

Why are people afraid of the dentist?

Sometimes it can be difficult to work out why you are feeling anxiety before going to the dentist, or during your appointment. There are many potential reasons for a fear of the dentist that could include:

  • A Fear of pain:
    Some patients associate visiting the dentist with pain, especially when they see or hear dental tools. This could stem from a previous unpleasant experience, pain in their own teeth, or hearing from others who may have experienced some sort of pain at the dentist. Modern dentistry seeks to minimise the pain and discomfort of dentistry and thankfully, dental techniques are less invasive and painful than their older counterparts. Tools are smaller and more efficient and the use of anaesthesia and sedation dentistry in many procedures eliminates any pain at all.
  • A fear of embarrassment and loss of personal space:
    Due to the proximity of the dentist during dental procedures, some patients experience discomfort and anxiety due to loss of personal space. Tools in their mouth can also contribute to a feeling of suffocation.

Some patients may feel embarrassment or shame about the condition of their teeth, especially if dental anxiety has stopped them from going to the dentist for a long time and their teeth may be damaged.

If you feel this way, it is important to keep in mind that your dentist is a professional, who sees many different mouths every day! They are there to help you to have the healthiest mouth that you can possibly have and will never judge you on the condition of your gums and teeth. Instead, they will encourage good oral hygiene habits, guide you on a treatment and support you throughout the process.

Speaking openly with your dentist about how you are feeling or might feel is the first step to coping with your dental anxiety.

  • A fear of a lack of control:
    Lying passively in a dental chair can evoke a feeling of having a lack of control of a situation and feelings of anxiety. Some patients feel overwhelmed having tools in their mouth while being unable to see what is going on. This situation can be associated with feelings of hopelessness, a lack of control, being trapped or suffocation.
  • A fear of a past experience:
    As with many anxieties or phobias, a fear of the dentist may be the result of a negative past experience. This might include significant tooth pain leading up to an appointment, a painful treatment, a stressful experience or procedure complications. It is important to tell your dentist about your experiences and what you think could be triggering your anxiety, so they can work alongside you to help you to feel more comfortable and reassured. Modern dentistry can greatly minimise pain and discomfort and doesn’t have to be the ordeal that it might seem!

What should I do if I’m scared of the dentist?

Communication with your dentist is one of the best ways to help you to cope with your dental anxiety. It is important that you talk about your fears with your dentist, as it allows them to be understood and addressed. Working alongside you, your dentist can determine the optimum way to help you to feel more comfortable, less stressed and less anxious about the whole experience.

If you have a fear of dental tools, for example, it may help if your dentist shows and explains them to you or tells you when they are about to use them and for what purpose. At Wahroonga Dental, we encourage anxious patients to ask our dentists to explain what is happening throughout the treatment – they’re more than happy to help.

Sometimes, we find that establishing a stop signal (such as raising a hand) so as that you have some control over the situation and an escape if you are feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Taking a breath, rinsing out your mouth or having a small break is sometimes all you might need to feel calmer in the dental chair and to feel in control.

You may want to bring a friend or family member along to your appointment to make you feel more comfortable and to make the clinical environment seem a little more familiar. You also may want to do something that makes you feel calm while you wait, like listen to your favourite artist, draw or read. We recommend booking your appointment at the earliest possible time of day, so there won’t be a long lead up and so you won’t dwell on it.

At Wahroonga dental, we take the time with patients who are scared of the dentist and work hard to ensure that the entire dental experience is as easy and smooth as possible. Our entire team are understanding, experienced, compassionate, there to help and will never force you to do anything you don’t want to do on the particular day.