- Author: Carol Wirth
Dental fear, anxiety, phobia, whatever you want to call it and to what degree. I had it once.
It took me a while to get over one bad experience. In hindsight, it hinged on three key factors:
- Painful experience. I lost an old filling in one of my molars and needed it replaced. That’s all I’m going to say, I can’t relive it.
- Cold and insensitive manner of the dentist. I was a young professional in a big city. With no referral, I just selected from the provider list on my insurance plan.
- Dreary office environment. Why does every dental office in a big city have to be in a 1970 office high-rise building? Well this one was not in premium space. I don’t recall windows. (As I read this, I realize I’m making this sound like Clockwork Orange.)
Something interesting I read when looking up dental anxiety (or fear) is that a painful experience at the dentist did not result in dental fear alone. If the dentist was cold and impersonal, there were more cases of dental anxiety. If the dentist was warm and caring, that seemed to override memories of a painful experience. This was a 1979 study, so you can imagine that had to be some excellent chairside manner to get over what was most likely a painful experience. Dentistry has come a long way since then.
After spending some time with , a dentist in Savannah, Georgia, shooting a video of his practice, I already know he’s a warm and caring person. His office staff is fun and has been with him for some time. It’s truly feels like a family in there.
And the environment of his office is very accommodating, T.V.’s at every patient chair, short wait times, kid’s play area and treasure box.
But what I don’t know is how dentistry has changed to ease dental exams and procedures for the patients? I need some specifics.
“Take cleaning for instance, we now have technology so you don’t manually scrape with the explorer,” Dr. Rosenthal told me. “The sound often bothers patients, and this cuts down on time in the chair. However, if there is significant gum recession, we tend to take the slower more careful route because there can be sensitivity wherever there are exposed roots.”
Another thing I learned: As Kleenex is to facial tissue, Novocaine became the common term for a local anesthetic, but it hasn’t been used in dentistry for over 30 years. Due to allergic reactions to Novocaine, other forms of local anesthetic eventually replaced it.
“When we need to perform a patient procedure, often the effectiveness in which you apply local anesthetic goes a long way,” Dr. Rosenthal said. “It can make the difference between a painful experience and a routine one.”
But then again, if there’s something good on TV, it may help take your mind off of it.
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At Glimsity, in our regular work day we talk to a lot of people, collect useful nuggets of information, gather insight and identify trends locally. Lil is an acronym for Local inside look (Lil). At , we want to share the good stuff with you. It’s everything that doesn’t fit into our short videos.