Here at Waiheke Dental Centre, your comfort is our first priority. Our friendly and welcoming team are here to help you every step of the way.
Our goal is to provide the best dental care without dental anxiety, fear, or pain. That is why we not only listen to your needs, but we keep you informed of all your options.
If you need additional help we have options of an oral tablet or an inhaled gas to decrease your anxiety and increase your comfort. Just let us know about any concerns you might have.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety refers to the fear of dentistry and of receiving dental care. A pathological form of this fear (specific phobia) is variously called dental phobia, odontophobia, dentophobia, dentist phobia, or dental anxiety.
However, it has been suggested that the term “dental phobia” is often a misnomer, as many people with this condition do not feel their fears to be excessive or unreasonable, and resemble individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by previous traumatic dental experiences.
About Your Dental Anxiety
Many people with severe dental anxiety, also called dental phobia, have difficulty understanding why they have such a prolonged avoidance of the dentist. They don’t know why their heart pounds, their palms sweat, and they often lose sleep before dental appointments. Such a dental fear reaction is mostly a learned response to previous dental, medical or life traumas. The sense of dental anxiety, panic, and dread that people experience - sometimes panic attacks or anxiety attacks - are an involuntary reflex that no one can completely control.
The good news is that we can virtually eliminate these fearful dental experiences through the use of some types of sedation and good communication.
Results Of Dental Anxiety
Traumatic memories can sometimes be unlearned, primarily through a series of good experiences, sometimes aided by medication. The effects of traumas can reinforce each other. It can be said that new traumas actually reawaken old traumas. These traumatic memories are stored in a place in the brain that mediates the fight or flight response. The fight or flight response is a short circuit that is designed to allow us to respond instantly, without conscious thought, to something that the brain believes is life-threatening.
Our adrenaline pumps and we feel the physiologic need to run away, bite, reach out, grab or kick, all in response to a perceived threat stored in a more primitive, less conscious part of the brain. It’s a terrible feeling; one that patients say they would do anything to avoid. That’s why dental anxiety is such a deeply held, primal feeling.
Patients with a sensitive gag reflex at the dentist, or who have difficulty with local analgesia, often struggle at the dentist from a very young age, leading to a lifetime of dental anxiety and fear. Children who have been held down for injections, throat cultures, or minor medical procedures often remember their experience and point to it as the original source of their dental anxiety.
Victims of abuse as children frequently suffer anxiety and depression as adults and may also manifest dental phobia as well. Over the years, we’ve found that using sedation provides a comfortable dental experience that enables people in need to get help. Often for the first time, people feel like it’s possible for them to have healthy teeth and smiles.
Chronic pain can lead to depression and avoidance of the dentist. Everyone has a limit to their suffering. Anxiety reduction and sedation medications allow us to use every pathway possible to make the dental experience a comfortable one.
Our professional and caring team is dedicated to helping you overcome your dental anxiety.
Bringing You The Softer Side Of Dentistry
Thousands of New Zealanders have some level of anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist. But for many, it is more than being afraid. Some of our patients have had a traumatic experience in a dental chair; others come from a painful past.
Regardless of your personal history, you don't suffer from teeth issues because of dental fear.
Please know that we are here to help you. Our first priority is your comfort. We understand that your dental fear may have kept you from a dentist, but there is no need to feel embarrassed.
We are not here to judge you; we are here to help you and encourage you so that you can have the confidence a beautiful smile can bring.