Don’t Let Anxiety Stand Between You and a Healthy Smile
You might think that cost or length of treatment is the most frequently cited reason why patients don’t seek beneficial periodontal treatment.
The truth is that fear and anxiety are far more common barriers to treatment than most might imagine.
You don’t have to feel stressed by the thought of needing a Lanap procedure, dental implants, gum grafting, bone grafting or other periodontal or dental treatments. We have always prided ourselves on our unique treatment approaches, which are guided by choosing holistic and natural options where possible. Our approach to dental anxiety is no different. We offer a robust range of services and treatments that are designed to help patients who experience fear and anxiety feel more at ease at their appointments.
This treatment combines art and science by using pure plant oil essences to balance, harmonize and promote a healthy body, mind and spirit. Aromas such as lavender, bergamot, sandalwood, and basil provide soothing, calming and relaxing effects. Aromatherapy with orange oils has been shown to reduce salivary cortisol and pulse rate in children with anxiety, according to The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health. A 2008 study found that smelling lavender and rosemary oils for five minutes decreased cortisol levels.
Aromatherapy can be administered through diffusers, or even by placing some essential oils on a cotton ball for the patient to smell as they like.
Massaging the shoulders and hands of patients can calm them prior to dental procedures. Massage therapist Anne Wilhelm helps get patients to a place where they’re physiologically ready for treatment. Massage also can be used during a procedure to assist with circulation and reduce anxiety.
“Therapists are advocates for your comfort,” Wilhelm said. “When you’re nervous, tense and your adrenaline pumps, you can’t begin to heal until you get out of that state of anxiety. Those are some of the benefits that massage therapy brings to the dental arena.”
Color therapy glasses come in a rainbow of colors and can address a variety of thoughts and feelings. Blue and violet glasses provide a calming effect. Aqua, rose and blue glasses promote relaxation. Green glasses relieve stress and provide an overall feeling of wellbeing. Violet glasses are helpful in reducing irritation.
Music can help ease pain and reduce dental anxiety, and classical music is one of the most relaxing musical styles. Studies have shown that patients who listened to Mozart’s piano sonatas reduced their stress hormone levels, and that led to lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Homeopathy triggers the body’s natural healing process, and we have successfully used it in our practice for more than 20 years. We offer a variety of homeopathic remedies to treat apprehension and anxiety.
Patients who are mildly to moderately fearful or anxious may opt for an oral medication taken prior to their appointment that offers relaxation and creates a groggy feeling. The medication leaves patients feeling comfortable and at ease throughout their appointment. You may have little memory of your procedure once the medication wears off.
This deeper form of dental sedation is provided by Dr. Anthony DeMarco and is a welcomed solution for patients who experience moderate to severe dental anxiety. IV sedation options can be precisely controlled, and they enable our periodontists to perform lengthy or multiple procedures at once to reduce the number of visits a patient needs. Care that might otherwise need to be broken up over several visits can be completed in a single visit with IV sedation.
In addition to all of these tools at our disposal, we also do little things, such as planning enough time for procedures to allow for patients to take breaks as needed. By using these treatments, we have found that many of our patients come to no longer need anxiety-alleviating measures, as they erase their history of negative dental experiences and replace them with comfortable, pain-free experiences.
If you would like to learn more about the treatments we use to help patients move beyond their dental anxiety and get the periodontal care they need, please call our office today.