Anxiety is a huge problem in dentistry. It has been estimated that fully half of the population avoids going to the dentist and the majority of these people don’t go because of fear of pain. In this day and age of ‘modern’ dentistry that is a shame.
There are many ways to help make your visit more comfortable and less painful. I have found that the fear of the dentist will decrease over time based on good experiences. I have had people who used to sweat at the prospect of sitting in a dental chair transform over time, until going to the dentist was ‘no big deal.’
Good experiences are based on trust. You as the patient must feel like you are participating and in control of your own care, and that your needs are being met. Everyone is an individual and your needs / preferences may involve something as simple as having nice magazines in the waiting room, having your own iPod with you so you can listen to your favorite music, or having a nice and helpful staff to talk to within a pleasant environment.
If you are extremely anxious, you may need some form of sedation. There are many levels of sedation, but most people can greatly benefit from a simple low dosage of a relaxant like Xanax 0.5 mg. Even patients with a strong focus on natural dental care sometimes find that taking advantage of the mildly sedative effect of Xanax is in their best interest. Keep in mind if you use some form of chemical sedation, you will need a driver for your visits.
In my office I have found a natural and simple combination of products that seems to help many people with mild anxiety. One is a homeopathic and one is an amino acid derivative that is totally natural and non-toxic in nature. It is ant-inflammatory as well, so it helps with after visit healing and recovery. Many of our patients swear by it and use it for all their visits.
Carey O’Rielly DDS has been a practicing dentist for 35 years. He went to USC Dental School and Duke University for his undergraduate degree. He grew up in Laguna Beach and now lives in La Costa with his wife Victoria, who runs his office.
He began his career by owning and operating a network of six offices in the San Francisco Bay Area. Presently he owns a private holistic practice in North County San Diego’s Encinitas.
Dr. O started looking for solutions to his health challenges that resulted from the stress and environmental toxicity that built up over a ten year period running his dental network. He has dedicated himself to learning about oral systemic problems and how dentistry can affect your health. He has applied what he has learned over the last twenty years to ensure he, his staff and his patients are protected from the chemicals and toxic materials found in most dental offices. He has produced an environmentally friendly office that is also peaceful and calm.
He is an expert on dental materials having looked at hundreds of biocompatibility lab tests over the years. He has identified the most bio-friendly materials to use in his practice and which dental materials can be used to replace metal fillings and crowns, including BPA free and fluoride free ‘white’ fillings. He also uses metal-free Zirconia or ceramic implants and PRF (platelet-rich fibrin) grafting materials which come from the patient’s own blood.
Dr. O’Rielly teaches C.E. courses on the systemic effects of gum disease. He is an expert in using phase contrast microscopy for analyzing dental infections, where he shows patients what kind of microbes, i.e. bacteria, amoeba, and yeasts like candida are populating the mouth and affecting the body as a whole.
He has an educational blog and is writing a book on dental health called ‘Hidden Dental Infections: Healing Root Canals and Infected Teeth with the Erbium Laser’ where he discusses dental nutrition, toxic dental materials and the effects of old root canals on inflammation and overall health.