How to turn a Phobic Patient into a Happy Patient

Posted on: January 15, 2016

Going to the dentist is often a frightening experience for many patients. Dental phobia is most often brought on by a negative experience in the dental chair at some point in a person’s life. One of the most common comments we hear in the dental chair is a patient’s dislike for the dentist and dental treatment. Specializing in Sedation Dentistry has exposed me to different types of phobic patients; they generally fall into 2 categories; the angry phobic patient and the tearful phobic patient. The most important thing for any phobic patient is to never feel judged for their fears but to feel understood and accepted.

How to turn a Phobic Patient into a Happy Patient

The angry phobic patient is typically more challenging to deal with, and you know who you are so don’t take offense because we really feel for you. This type of patient is typically very combative, emotionally guarded and often can be mistaken for a difficult patient as opposed to a phobic patient. It takes time and patience to break down their walls and have open communication about their fears of dentistry and what brought them on.

The other type of phobic patient, the tearful one is a bit easier to manage, although we are all in tears with this type of patient, for we feel badly for anyone in tears in our office. This type of patient is extremely nervous, more open emotionally and most often in tears. These types of patients are more open to discuss their fears and their past dental experiences.

Recognizing and discussing the phobia is the first step to turn a phobic patient into a happy patient. It is also important to create an environment that builds trust and an overall feeling of safety between the dentist and the patient. Once you have moved past the anger phase, now its time to deal with the phobia. This is how sedation dentistry can turn that phobic patient into a happy patient.

Sedation Dentistry

But what is sedation dentistry? So many dentists out there claim to be sedation dentists, but how would the layperson know if they don’t know the meaning of sedation dentistry? There are several ways a patient can be sedated in the dental office.

First, there is nitrous oxide, this is a gas that is mixed with pure oxygen, the patient inhales the mixture of gases throughout the dental procedure, which relaxes the patient. However, the patient is awake and aware of what is going on. The patient only feels the sedative affect while inhaling the gas, once removed the patient feels normal again.

Another type of sedation is one pill sedation, this is when the patient is given one type of sedative only 1 hour prior to the dental visit.

The next type of sedation would be Intravenous (IV) – This method is the most effective to produce a desired effect in almost all patients. The drugs can be easily titrated and certain drugs may be reversed. IV sedation has a rapid onset but patient cooperation is necessary since an IV needle must be placed. UIt’s best used for moderate, deep sedation, and general anesthesia.

the final form of sedation dentistry, and the least common, is intramuscular sedation. In this form of sedation dentistry, medication is injected directly into the muscle and should only be used in deeper levels of sedation or general anesthesia.

Sedation Dentistry is a safe and effective method to treat the apprehensive patient or patients with special needs. It’s critical that sedation dentistry is only performed by a properly trained and licensed dentist on patients whom are not at risk for medical complications.

If you’re a patient who typically experience anxiety when going to the dentist, then call Fort Lauderdale Sedation Dentist, Dr. Nicole Berger, at 954-785-1100 to schedule an appointment.