Encouraging Nervous Patients To Return When Dentists Reopen
The challenge of lockdown may have increased anxiety levels for some, but our team is on hand to help….
It is probably fair to say that all of us, in some way, have been affected by the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 virus. Even if we, or those around us, have not been directly affected by the virus itself, the lockdown will almost certainly have taken a toll in one way or another.
For the luckier ones, it may be little more than missing going to the pub with friends, but for some people, it is almost certain that anxiety levels have increased.
This may have had an immediate impact on our oral health care, perhaps with neglected brushing, exacerbated by consumption of ‘comfort’ foods; but could also have caused longer term implications too.
Dental fears and anxiety is common amongst patients, including some who visit us here at The Dental Centre Bedford. For many people this amounts to little more than feeling a little nervous on the day of their visit. The vast majority of these folk will be able to control their anxiety and attend their appointment and wonder what all the fuss was about afterwards.
There are others though, for whom an upcoming dental visit may mean a significant rise in anxiety for days, and even possibly weeks, before their appointment is due. Whilst some of these will still attend, a significant number may not. Even in normal times, this can be a real challenge, but with the additional stress of lockdown, there is a real possibility that the number of people failing to rearrange their appointment and therefore not seeing a dentist after we are open again, is likely to increase.
Avoiding the dentist
For those patients who choose not to reschedule an appointment when our Bedford practice is open again, there are likely to be significant problems ahead. As any regular reader of our blog will know, our cinical team firmly believes that good oral health depends not only on good care at home, but also ongoing professional supervision and monitoring.
Even patients who are careful about what they eat and who have an excellent brushing and flossing routine can still suffer from problems. All it takes is a tiny crack to appear in the tooth enamel and this can allow bacteria and acids to enter into the less well protected dentin layer of the tooth. Once this has happened, it will almost inevitably result in tooth decay, possibly including a painful toothache. In some circumstances, the bacteria could enter the root canals of the tooth, leaving the patient requiring root canal surgery to save the tooth. Although we do understand that some patients would rather not see a dentist, problems like this are an almost inevitable consequence if you don’t.
How we can help
At this point in time, we still don’t know when we will be able to open again, but when we are able, all relevant safety measures will be in place for the safety of our patients and dentists as well as the rest of our team.
It is likely that the first procedures that we carry out will be those where patients are in urgent need, such as those who have been managing pain with painkillers during the lockdown period. We will also be contacting those patients who had to have their check up appointments cancelled in order to reschedule them. If you are reluctant to reschedule an appointment due to anxiety, please let us know so that we can do everything possible to help you receive your essential oral care.
Our experienced team has helped hundreds of nervous patients in their time and understand how you might be feeling. Our friendly and calm manner helps to put most patients at ease and we are always happy to discuss any aspect of dentistry that you are especially afraid of and help you to understand the procedure better. Many people find that knowing what is happening helps and that it is the fear of the unknown that is the main problem.
A good example of this is patients who are suffering from fear of the injection that is used for local anaesthetic. They, quite naturally, presume that the needle entering the gum causes the discomfort, whereas in fact, you actually feel no more than a minor sensation when this is done. Discomfort is usually caused when the anaesthetic enters the bloodstream too quickly, so we try to do this as slowly and carefully as possible to minimise any pain.
We are here to help all of our patients enjoy a healthy mouth and this includes doing whatever we can to help you overcome anxiety. If you wish to discuss this with us to find out how we can help, once we are re-open, please don’t hesitate.
Until we are able to reopen, unfortunately we can only offer advice on urgent treatments via the ‘phone. You can call The Dental Centre Bedford on our usual number of 01234 819868.