What are some of the Treatments and coping methods for dental distress | Dental Treatment Guide

Dental anxiety is a common problem all over the world so if you suffer from it, you are certainly not alone. It can be a great hindrance to everyday life and your oral health can seriously suffer. Therefore, it is rather important that you seek help to overcome your fear. The initial step in relieving the anxiety it approaching your dentist to discuss your concerns. However, if you are too scared to even do this, you may be able to get similar treatment from a counsellor. You can obtain a referral to a counsellor through talking to your doctor.

There are a number of ways to treat and/or cope with your dental distress that range from finding a dentist who you trust to undergoing sedation.

Seeking out a trusting dentist

It is no secret that a lot of people fear the dentist and the dentist deals with this by undergoing training. During this training, the dentist learns how to understand your fears and can determine a way to deal with them in an appropriate and sensitive manner. Some dentist are even specialised in the treatment on anxious patients.

There are a number of ways to find a dentist who will help you through your anxiety. It is possible to hear a recommendation via word of mouth especially if it comes from another person who suffers from dental distress. If this does not seem very probable, you could ask someone close to you to make some enquiries into local dentists who specialise in nervous patients. You should visit any dentists you hear of and decipher which you trust most before signing up to their clinic. When you visit them, you should explain your worries and be sure that they are able to calm you and offer a sense of support and sympathy.


If you are more seriously affected by dental fears then sedation may be an appealing option for you. Sedation leaves you conscious by a lot more calm and relaxed and many people report that they have little or no recollection of their treatment. There are three key sedation types that are used in the dental industry – inhalation, oral and intravenous.

Inhalation sedation is a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide that is inhaled through a rubber mask. The effects of the gas vary between patients. Some feel sleepy whereas others get ringing ears. In general though, no matter how it makes you feel, you should still be able to understand and comprehend anything that your dentist says to your during the procedure. The inhalation sedation tends to wear off about half an hour after your treatment concludes.

Oral sedatives include medications such as diazepam that you are advised to take a couple of hours prior to your dental appointment. The medication reduces anxiety if taken correctly as it sedates you. The effects of oral sedative medications are much longer lasting than inhalation sedatives so it is vital that someone accompanies you to your appointment so they can provide safe transport to and from the clinic. You also should not consume alcohol if you are taking the medication

Finally, intravenous sedation is injected into a vein in your hand or arm to provide sedative effects prior to your dental procedure. Intravenous sedation is very effective but not very suitable if you have a fear of needles. Like the other types of sedation, you will remain conscious and be able to understand your dentist but they is a chance that you will not recall the treatment afterwards. Also, as with oral sedatives, you will need to have someone drive you to and from the clinic due to the sedatives long-lasting effects.

Psychological treatment methods

There are a number of techniques that you can attempt that may lower your anxiety levels. These techniques are psychological and work on your mind, therefore the results are often very variable and there is no guarantee that if one method worked for a friend, that it will also work for you.

One method is known as the distraction technique. This is done during your treatment and simply involves the diversion of your attention away from the procedure being performed. This can be done by listening to some music, watching a film (although this is not always possible), thinking about an event in the future that you are excited for or perhaps concentrating on parts of your body other thank your mouth.

Alternatively you may wish to try hypnotherapy. This particular psychological technique is well known to encourage relaxation and combatting fear and anxiety, although the outcomes vary between individuals. Hypnotherapy is often highly dramatized on television shows and through word of mouth so it is key to know that this treatment is a lot subtler than you may think.

Finally, you may visit a behavioural psychotherapist who will try and educate you into how lower your anxiety levels in certain situations. You will need to attend the psychotherapy appointments on a regular basis and you shall probably be set tasks to perform at home t complement the treatment.

Further Information about Dental Distress