For many patients, visiting the dentist is a source of often intense anxiety. Several psychological factors can cause fear of the dental clinic. For one thing, dental work occurs in an area directly close to your sensory organs—your eyes, ears, and taste buds. This can magnify the uncomfortable sensations felt at the dentist. Most importantly, dental work often involves the use of tools that can look and sound scary. Fortunately, technology in recent decades has improved the experience for many patients, relaxing them and easing tensions. Below are a few ways that modern medicine has made visiting the dentist a more enjoyable experience.
Becoming More Painless
Anesthesia is the medical term for killing pain in preparation for a medical or dental procedure. In the early days of dentistry, crude methods like topical solutions offered the only pain relief for patients. Now, dentists can apply nasal sprays, injections to the gums, laughing gas, and an array of other methods to safely and effectively prevent pain during a visit to the clinic. The approach can be customized depending on the wishes of the patient. For example, a patient who is afraid of needles may opt to forego a painkiller injection in favor of a nasal spray.
Minimize the Things That Scare People
The sensations and sounds associated with drills and other conventional dental tools is a very common fear for patients. This is especially true for children, the age group most affected by dental phobia. Technological advances have made great strides in improving the dental experience with laser dentistry. The use of laser technology, which stands for “Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, has the ability to increase comfort of the dental treatment. While it’s not perfect, laser dental technology lacks many of the triggers that generally set off people’s dentophobia.
Better Record Keeping
Most modern clinics utilize digital records, which significantly lessens repetitive and unnecessary dental work. For example, when paper records were used, a patient might have taken x-rays with each new clinic they visited as the providers could not easily share dental records of patients. Experts note that digital technology is essential for reducing healthcare-related administrative costs.
Dentophobia can be a scary thing, but technology these days is helping it to become a thing of the past. Whether the source of a patient’s dental phobia is a bad experience in childhood, a genetic predisposition to fear dental work, or a combination of several factors, technology can significantly reduce the dental-induced uneasiness felt by many.