Most people fear going to the dentist. Most people associate dentistry with pain. Such people generally have at least one painful dental experience in the past. Gentle dental care is recommended for everyone.
This could be due to a number of reasons such as:
– Active tooth infection
– The dentist would have started the treatment without the area of treatment getting properly numbed.
– The patient may have refused local anesthetic in the past.
– The dentist may not be skilled enough.
Painless dentistry or gentle dental care can be practiced if the area of treatment is properly numbed. To eliminate the fear factor in a patient it is important to understand the source of discomfort. A number of myths exist about the dental pain which adds to the anxiety factor in a patient. Most people fear the needles and the drilling sound caused by the dental drill.
Gentle dental care can be provided by a good dentist. He should be able to handle all kinds of patients. Treating nervous and anxious patients can be difficult.
Usually in such patients no treatment should be done in the first appointment. The patient should be first introduced or made familiar with the surroundings of the dental clinic.
Proper counseling should be done. The treatment which is necessary for that particular patient should be explained properly to him with the help of study models, diagrams, charts etc. His inputs, ideas should be heard properly. The dentist should also enquire about any uneventful past dental experience. Concepts of painless dentistry should be explained properly to the patient. If gentle dental care is practiced in all patients, it eliminates the fear factor and makes the treatment procedure very easy to perform.
There are many methods of controlling dental pain such as:
Medications and other techniques:
-topical anesthetics: lidocaine is the most common topical anesthetic used. The topical anesthetic is generally applied with a swab over the target area. By doing so the area of treatment gets numbed and dental procedure can be carried out without causing the patient any pain.
-Lasers: lasers are now used to remove the area of decayed tooth. This is a less painful method but is rarely used.
-Electronically delivered anesthesia: also known as TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). In this technique, adhesive pads are placed on the face and battery powered devices send electrical impulse to the area of treatment which is numbed.
-nitrous oxide: nitrous oxide which is also known as the laughing gas is inhaled by the patient by a rubber mask due to which the patient feels relaxed. The effect wears out quickly after the gas is turned off. The patient can also drive back after the dental procedure. This is the most common technique of relaxation used in an anxious patient.
-Oral sedation: drugs such as halcion help the patient to relax by acting on the central nervous system. These are not commonly used as it takes at least 30 minutes for the drug to act and the effect of this can last for hours after the completion of the treatment.
-general anesthesia: this is a technique in which the person is put to sleep. Dental procedures under general anesthesia can be carried out in a dental clinic but are generally preferred to be done in a hospital setting because of the complications that can develop during recovery.
Other techniques to control anxiety and pain:
-distraction techniques: distraction techniques like listening to music while the treatment is being performed can be helpful.
-Relaxation techniques: relaxation techniques like deep breathing or hypnosis can be helpful.
-Behavior management techniques can be used.
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