I have a phobia of dentists. What should I do?

If you suffer from a fear or anxiety regarding dentists, you may be interested to know that as much as twenty-five per cent of the population of the UK suffers from the same apprehension. It is important for you to be know that dentists are made aware of statistics such as this and are appropriately trained in how to help nervous patients relax.

Why are so many people afraid of dentists?

Some of the main associations people have with dentistry is needles, injections, and pain. These patients should take heart from the fact that advances in anaesthesia allow it to be administered such that pain can be alleviated.

How can I change my perception of the dentist and dental treatment?

The best way to conquer a dental phobia is to choose your dental practice wisely, and to familiarise yourself with the staff at the practice before making your appointment. We warmly welcome you to contact us if you are thinking of making an appointment. Our friendly team will give you as much information as possible and we will do everything we can to ensure that you feel comfortable visiting us for your dental care.

I heard somewhere that it is best to book the appointment for a time early in the day. Is this true?

While the time of day at which you book your appointment is booked will have no bearing on the quality of treatment you will receive (you can expect the same high standard whatever time of the day you visit us), if you are nervous, a later appointment may help you because you will spend less time during the day thinking about your visit. We recommend that nervous patients book early in the day for this reason. However, keep in mind that the effectiveness of this technique is very much dependent on the individual.

I have never been to the dentist because I am afraid of drills and needles. The longer I leave it, the more work I fear I will need to have done. What should I do?

It is essential to remember that your initial consultation is used for the dentist to assess your dental/oral health and to make a recommendation for treatment should it be required. If it is recommended that you receive further treatment, this will almost certainly be scheduled for another appointment on another day. There is no harm in booking a check-up, as you may not need further dental treatment at all !

I really want cosmetic dental treatment, but I have a phobia of dentists. How can I get around this?

In these circumstances, a good recommendation would be for you to enquire about having one of the less intensive dental treatments performed (a scale and polish, for example) so that you can familiarise yourself with the feeling of being in the dentist’s chair and undergoing treatment as a first step.

I am scared that dental treatment will hurt. Can you help?

The best way to approach this is to book a consultation. During this appointment, you can discuss your feelings with the dentist who will then be aware or your situation and can tailor their treatment for you accordingly. If you are especially nervous, the dentist will discuss with you how you can approach the treatment together and will make the necessary arrangements for you to be as relaxed as possible.

Will lip and tongue piercings damage my teeth?

Hmm…they may look cool and sexy initially, but tongue piercings are constantly moving in your mouth, and either type of piercing can chip neighbouring teeth and cause gum swelling, painful inflammation. So if you already have one – get it checked regularly at Sunnyside. We can monitor the signs of infection and treat it.

Why are dentists asking about medication or drugs use at my check-ups?

There are lots of medications you might be taking, that do affect dental health and, if we are to do a complete assessment of your dental health each time, we need to know about these. Not only illegal drugs can damage your mouth. Some medications are acidic, and contribute greatly to dissolving your teeth – especially chewable vitamin tablets, aspirin, asthma inhalers, some syrups – they all can cause tooth damage. Some medications can result in a dry mouth, which is then more susceptible to infection and decay.
Cannabis – can cause a dry mouth, and the smoke can cause oral cancer
Cocaine – makes you grind your teeth often resulting in worn teeth and sore muscles. If you rub it into your gums, it causes ulceration of the gum, gum shrinking and exposes the bone. This damage can be permanent.
Ecstasy – can cause dry mouth and teeth grinding and sore jaw muscles.
Methamphetamine – is very acidic, therefore causes enormous rapid damage to your teeth – a massive amount of tooth decay in a short time.
Drug users often crave sugary foods and drinks, clench their teeth at day, grind at night, and have a dry mouth.

Is this true that oral sex can cause oral cancer?

It can certainly help transmission of HPV virus (Human Papilloma Virus), which can lead to oral cancer. Both men and women can be carriers of the HPV virus and it is transmitted via genital or oral sex. Such infection can go undetected for years. HPV can cause cervical cancer in women, and oral cancer in both men and women. There is a vaccine that can protect you against the main strains of HPV. Please see one of our dentists at Sunnyside if you notice anything unusual in your mouth, that has been present for more than 2 weeks.

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