Never fear you're in good hands at Camarillo Smiles. We'll make sure your experience is a pleasant one. For any concerns call (805) 388-5700. Your Dentist Camarillo CA.
What We Do For Cowards
You're in Good Hands
The fear of pain in the course of dental treatment has caused millions of people to avoid regular visits. Hardly a dentist has not heard the expression, "I'd rather have a baby than a root canal." This paradoxical attitude results in unnecessary dental neglect, worsening of dental conditions, and future pain and expense. It is both unfortunate and preventable.
There are many approaches to modern dentistry that may significantly reduce apprehension and anxiety before and during dental procedures.
The use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), sedatives, ipods, topical anesthetics and hypnosis are but a few methods of calming most dental phobics. In exceptional cases, a general anesthetic may be indicated to provide a less emotionally debilitating dental experience.
Certainly, the most effective practice of managing dental apprehension is communication. Rather than tightly grip the armrests, convey your concerns to us prior to treatment. Identify what approaches in the past have relieved the stress of an unpleasant dental visit and those that create trauma. We are well trained in the psychology of care and comfort.
As you think about the upcoming visit, your body begins responding to your fear thoughts. Physical sensations can range from mild to severe depending on how vivid a scene you've painted in your mind, and how long you engage in the working up process. Your shoulders and neck may feel tense. Your jaw may start to hurt because you've got it got your teeth clamped together so tightly. You may find yourself short of breath or a headache may be looming on the horizon. Your stomach may be churning and your insides trembling.
Actually these body signals can be viewed as good instead of bad. They are a sure sign that you are thinking fear and a signal for you to take action. You see the body doesn't know the difference between an imagined experience and a real one. How can that be you say! If you doubt my words, think about a frightful dream you experienced, one where someone or something was chasing you. You awaken from the dream feeling as though your heart is pounding out of your chest, perhaps even perspiring. Your body was reacting to an imagined fear, thoughts you were having in a dream state. The character in your dream was not reality, yet your body responded as if he were genuine.
Each and every time you catch yourself anxious about your upcoming appointment, stop and W.A.I.T. Stop and ask yourself: What Am I Thinking? Rather than letting your thoughts control you, take the time to control your thoughts. Consciously toss out the unhealthy fear thoughts and replace them with healthy secure and realistic thoughts.
Using the picture we created earlier, here are a few ways to reprogram what's going on in your mind. The original thoughts are in blue, followed by the replacement thought(s).
Your dental appointment is only two weeks from today
- You can view that fact insecurely, the appointment is only two weeks away, or securely - the appointment is still two weeks away
I know it's going to be terrible
- You really don't know how uncomfortable it's going to be. The anticipation is always worse than the actual event.
What if I get nauseous while I'm in the chair?
- Feeling nauseous is uncomfortable, but doesn't necessarily mean that anything worse is going to happen. Feeling nauseous is distressing, but it is not dangerous. Feelings and sensations will rise, fall and run their course if we don't attach danger to them. Take away the fear (danger) and your stomach will quiet down on it's own accord.
What if the anesthetic doesn't take hold quickly enough?
- If you feel the first poke of a dental instrument, speak up. Tell us it hurts. If you begin to feel pain while the drilling is going on, hold up your hand as a signal to us. You may not be able to speak clearly with the position your mouth is in, but you can make some kind of sound, grunt if you need to - but do show some sign that you are feeling pain. Remember your pain receptors are in your body. Even though our fingers are in your mouth, we have no clue of what you're feeling unless you let us know. Do not suffer in silence. And if you're concerned about sounding a bit odd, don't. We are used to hearing patients "talk with their mouths full."
I know it's going to hurt
- The replacement thought here is simply: I don't know if it's going to hurt - because you really don't know! None of us can predict the future.
I'm glad that I found dentists who care about being gentle but how can I trust that they will be gentle with my mouth?
- We are compassionate and we really do care. We are not the same dentist of years ago.
Oh, I remember that awful antiseptic stench from when I was a youngster. I wonder if they've found any way to correct that?
- New technology dentistry now includes pleasant flavors for the things we place in your mouth. If the flavors have improved, so have the scents. Everything on the patient end of dentistry is more user-friendly these days.
And all those physical sensations you experience two weeks before your appointment are the direct result of your fear thoughts - they too are distressing, but they are not dangerous.
Practice in reprogramming thoughts has two beneficial effects. It calms down the anticipatory fear you have before your visit, and makes it easier to calm yourself down at the office. It's much easier to recall secure and realistic thoughts if you've taken the time to use them before. You can have them at your fingertips or the tip of your tongue, ready to use while you're in the chair.
When you have a fear of dentists you really have the choice of two discomforts -the actual discomfort you may feel during the appointment (notice I said "may" have), or you have the discomfort of not going and having the needed work done and beating yourself up for giving into your fear. The dialogue goes like this: I'm such a coward. But I can't help it. I'm scared. But I can't admit it to anyone.
Every act of self-control produces a sense of self-respect. Along with the relief you feel for having the dental procedure behind you instead of staring you in the face, I guarantee you that when you face your fear you will gain a realistic sense of self-pride. This next step is important whether you do it immediately after you leave the office or later on in the day - take time to give yourself a mental pat on the back. You deserve it! No one else needs to be aware of it. It was your effort that got you through. It's your victory and you can be proud of it.
Whether your fear is dentists or tax audits, driving or diving, the above tactics will work at reducing anxiety. If your anxiety has grown into a full blown phobia, it's merely going to take more of your effort. The key as with any life skill is do put to use what you've learned. Changing thoughts is the first step in taking back control of your life.
It's true - Change your thoughts and change your life.
The key to being relatively calm in the dentist's chair begins well before the actual visit. I say relatively calm because if you're suffering from dental phobia and have been for a while, it's unlikely that you will feel "perfectly" comfortable your first or second visit. Each of us must take an active part in overcoming our fears. People don't get over their fear of heights for instance, in an flash. It takes practice - practice changing your thoughts. Long before the dreaded event you must take charge of your thinking. If you consciously make an effort at being more calm, you will be more calm.
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