Being "afraid of the dentist" may mean different things to different people. It will probably help if you work out just what it is that worries you most. Some people have specific fears about actual areas of treatment - for example, they are scared that having a filling will hurt. Some people don't like the thought of being out of control.
Some people find that sounds and smells bring back memories of bad experiences as a child. A small number of people are genuinely afraid of dental treatment. The good news is that we as dentists now understand the patient's fears and with a combination of kindness and gentleness can do great deal to make your dental treatment pleasant and acceptable.
Does your practice specialise in treating nervous patients? We welcome all patients at our practice. Make sure that the practice knows you are nervous, so that they can help you. Tell us what it is that you particularly dislike about dental treatment. If you think you know the reason, tell us what may have caused your fear. Was it a bad experience as a child? Was it a recent dental experience? Or is it a more general feeling of worry and fear?
Years ago it was normal for people to need fillings every time they went to the dentist, but things have changed for the better now. Fluoride toothpastes have made a large impact on tooth decay and you may be surprised at how little treatment you may need.
The aim now is for healthy mouths to stay healthy. Teeth are for life and can last a lifetime if they are looked after properly. If you can get your mouth into good shape, with the help of the dentist and dental hygienist, you should need less treatment and there will be less for us to do in the future.
Once your mouth is healthy, your visit to the practice will often just be easy sessions for checking and cleaning.
Your first visit should just be a consultation. See it as an opportunity for you to “interview” the dentist, receptionist and dental nurse. If you like what you see and hear, you may want to arrange another appointment for a short treatment session. Allow yourself to take things at your own speed, and don’t be pressured into anything your not happy about.
Listening to music is a good way to help you relax. At the Chadwell Heath Dental Clinic we have music playing in the treatment rooms and in the waiting room, but if you wish you can bring you own personal stereo so that you can have your own choice of music. In this way you can concentrate on your music or anything else you like to listen to – and will not hear the sounds of the treatment. You will be able to distance yourself from the dental treatment as the sounds in your ears take all your attention.
Agree with the dentist a sign that means, “stop”. Usually you can just raise your hand, and the treatment can be stopped for a few minutes until you are ready to start again. Once you know that you can control the situation you will feel more confident.
Prior to your treatment being carried out you will be given an estimate. The payment will be required at the end of your treatment when the final amount will be known.
You may pay by cash or credit card.
If you should need to cancel your appointment for any reason we require 24 hours notice. This enables us to make alternative arrangements – for example to fit in a patient in pain. If you do not attend your appointment and do not give the clinic 24 hours notice, there will be a charge of £30.00 per 30 minutes.
Children and non-paying patients (exempt patients) do not pay for their dental treatment.