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Rachel Jenkins

How dental teams can help nervous patients

When you are a dental patient who is worried about attending their next dental check-up, even the thought of walking into the surgery can fill you with dread.

And unfortunately, there is something of a trend among nervous dental patients to avoid attending check-ups over concerns that they will be subjected to judgement or uncomfortable treatments. But by avoiding check-ups, the latter part of this concern relating to invasive treatments can become a reality, thus reinforcing the entire phobia.

Dental surgeries are not ignorant to dental phobias, and the majority are now able to offer a range of options to help you manage any dental phobia or anxiety that you may have. In this article, some of the most commonly practised options will be discussed.

Open communication

The majority of phobias relating to seeing a dentist Sydney are based on fear of being judged. Many dental surgeries will be able to offer you a non-clinical appointment prior to a check-up so you can get to meet your dental team beforehand. This will allow you to voice any concerns that you have openly, and the dental team will be able to answer any queries you have and will show you that they are just people! This is beneficial for those who may have a mild case of dental anxiety.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide or laughing gas, is a sedative used at dental clinics to slow down brain and body responses during procedures. The employment of laughing gas sedation is especially effective for patients to help deal with anxiety or nervousness. And it is known to be one of the safest forms of sedation because the effects wear off quickly. So, when the mask is removed, you will be able to go about your day. This is not as readily available as some of the other options, so you should call ahead and check availability.

Music (or meditation)

If it is the sound of the dental drill that worries you, there are two choices. You can either choose a dental surgery that has a soundless drill, or you can enquire about the use of Music or guided meditation when you are in the dental chair. Some dental surgeries will allow you to bring in your own headset, but some will be able to actually provide this for you.

Oral sedation

Oral sedation is not as common as IV sedation (which will be discussed later), and it is usually given in the form of a pill which is a barbiturate. This will allow you to be removed mentally from the treatment that you are undertaking and will also prevent any discomfort that you would feel. With oral sedation, you will need to undertake a health check beforehand, and you will need someone to take you home afterwards.

Intravenous sedation

In a similar vein, intravenous sedation is only advisable for people who have a responsible family member or friend to take them home afterwards, and it is administered via a needle into the arm. This will allow you to enter twilight sedation, and once again, you will feel no discomfort or have any memory of the procedure.


Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.