Keeping Patients Relaxed in the Dental Chair

Did you know that between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear, according to Peter Milgrom, DDS, Director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of Treating Fearful Dental Patients. A higher percentage, perhaps 20%, experiences enough anxiety that they will go to the dentist only when absolutely necessary.  With offices in Longmont, Boulder, Westminster and Denver, there are many options for comfortable dentistry.  You can visit our dental contact page for our locations.

Your Dental Health is Very Important

We at Dental Health Colorado know that your trip to the dentist is  incredibly important. You may know how essential regular dental visits are for keeping your teeth and gums in good shape.  But what you might not know is that there is a strong relationship between your oral health and your overall health.  Taking good care of your mouth is a big part of taking care of your whole body. As I like to teach patients here at our office, the mouth is the window to the rest of your body.

Our dental amenities at Dental Health Colorado.Our dental practice offers free amenities that are focused on your comfort and relaxation.  More importantly, we have a relaxed staff and experienced and friendly dentists to our patients. About two-thirds of them relate their fear to a bad experience in the dentist’s office. Another third have other issues for which fear of dentists can be an unpleasant side effect.

Fear of dentists stems not so much from the experience of pain as from the lack of control that patients experience in the dentist’s chair, says Ellen Rodino, PhD, a psychologist in Santa Monica, California, who has studied dental fear. “You’re lying prone, a dentist is hovering above you, and he’s putting you in a situation where you can hardly talk or respond. That creates a lot of anxiety for some people because they don’t feel in control.”

Dental Anxiety Abatement

We believe that if all dentists and dental assistants were more careful about pain control, took the time to be sure patients were comfortable, went the extra mile to offer complimentary amenities to ensure they were relaxed, and didn’t go ahead if they weren’t comfortable, then we would create fewer phobics. That’s exactly what we do here at Dental Health of Colorado. We treat every patient differently. That’s why we offer our ‘As You Like It’ program that provides comfort and care to each and every patient during their dental visit.

Our staff here at Dental Health of Boulder specializes in treating fearful patients by going out of our way to create a nonthreatening environment. With a state of the art raw foods kitchen, skin analysis room, view of the flatirons, and more, our office is barely recognizable as a dentist’s office. The waiting room contains a lending library of books and videos on alternative health. We even play videos of them while you wait for your time in the chair.

The best dentists use simple methods to enhance that feeling of control, Milgrom says:

  • They gently explain what the patient will soon feel, and for about how long.

  • They frequently ask the patient for permission to continue.

  • They give the patient the opportunity to stop the procedure at any time the patient feels uncomfortable. (“I give them a cue,” Bynes says. “If for any reason they need to stop, raise your left hand.”)

  • They make time for breaks as requested.

You can read more about our dental anxiety options under our “Dentistry Without Fear” section of our webpage.

Many dentists lack the patience to treat fearful patients with the care they deserve, Bynes says. Even those who advertise that they “cater to cowards” may not do a good job of it. If you’re looking for a new dentist, Bynes suggests being honest about your fears from the first call. Ask to speak to the dentist about your fears before you come in. If the receptionist seems dismissive, or the dentist never returns your call, don’t go, he says. “That’s not the right office for you.”

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