Damp hands, dry mouth, a dull feeling in the stomach - most people know these symptoms before visiting the dentist. But while most can live well with a bit of stomach tingling, real anxiety patients suffer from sweats as soon as they enter the practice. In Germany, there are an estimated 10% so-called Zahnbehandungsphobiker. They postpone appointment by appointment and avoid even with strong toothache the visit to the dentist, which can have dire consequences.
From time to time take confidence
"Often the patients have had bad experiences with the dentist: the fact that the doctor treated them roughly, did not take them seriously or did not provide sufficient painless treatment, " says proDente expert and head of the dental anxiety outpatient clinic in Hamburg Dr. Mats Mehrstedt. For example, a tooth may not be treated if it is inflamed and is therefore not anesthetized. Then you have to make sure that the inflammation subsides. Subsequent treatment is under anesthesia. "If this is used correctly and optimally adapted to the patient, the pain no longer has a chance, " said Dr. Mehrstedt.
Talking about the fear helps
The fear of visiting a dentist can be overcome. Once the patient has taken the first step and has arrived by the agreed date, the success of further visits depends on the sensitivity and knowledge of the dentist in dealing with anxiety patients. "First of all I have a conversation in which I talk to the patient about his fear", reports Dr. med. Mehrstedt from his daily experience. For many, it is important to realize that their fear is not unusual and that others are affected as well. For example, in a second session, the dentist can only examine the dentition. The third time an X-ray examination can take place or the removal of tartar. Only then will it come to another appointment for the first correct treatment. "It is important that the patient gains more and more confidence from time to time and collects small success experiences in the dentist chair", explains Dr. med. Mehrstedt.
Hypnosis or general anesthetic?
In severe cases, the treatment can take place under hypnosis or be completed for a few hours in a behavioral therapy. The use of general anesthesia is useful in patients who have such a disability that they can not control the muscles of the mouth themselves. In such cases, however, the dentist works together with an anesthetist (specialist in anesthesia) who monitors the anesthetic.