General anaesthesia and patients with dental fear
Four people out of five say that going to the dentist is unpleasant, and some of them experience actual fear of the dentist.
Dental fear can be so strong that it prevents or at least postpones seeking treatment although a long time has passed since the last visit to the dentist. Oral problems may have accumulated over time and may need extensive treatment. Dental cavities and oral inflammations are also a risk for general health.
- You should never leave your teeth untreated because of fear, says Chief Dentist Johanna Rouhiainen from Hammas Mehiläinen Forum.
- Despite your fear, make an appointment with the dentist and discuss different options.
Hammas Mehiläinen Forum treats dental patients under anaesthesia every month. Some of these patients have a strong phobia of dentists, but there are also other reasons for treatment under anaesthesia.
For instance, some patients have difficulty keeping their mouth open, some have a strong vomiting reflex and some have a lot of problems to be treated at the same time. Children can also be treated under anaesthesia.
- Patients with a strong dental fear often have a lot of dental problems that need treatment, as they haven’t seen a dentist for a long time.
Ms Rouhiainen says that sometimes dental treatment under anaesthesia is the first step back to regular dental visits.
- If the patient needs a lot of treatment, we can first take care of the most extensive problems under anaesthesia and then continue with preventive care and easier treatments on further visits. It is essential to create a confident relationship between the patient and dentist, Ms Rouhiainen says.
- When patients feel that they can trust their dentist, their fear often gradually fades out, she assures.
How does dental anaesthesia work?
The possibility of dental anaesthesia may be news for many people. Is it really possible, and isn’t anaesthesia always a risk?
Ms Rouhiainen explains that a competent specialised anesthesia team is always in charge of general anaesthesia. In addition to the dentist and dental nurse treating the patient’s teeth, an anaesthesiologist and anaesthetic nurse are always present.
- The dentist always meets the patient before anaesthesia, and the anaesthesiologist contacts the patient before the procedure to assess whether dental anaesthesia is possible for the patient. You have to be generally healthy for the procedure.
At Hammas Mehiläinen, dental anaesthesia is a common procedure. For instance, the Forum clinic has regular dental anaesthesia days scheduled for each month to make the planning and arranging of treatment as easy as possible.
- Some customers choose dental anaesthesia because they want to have everything taken care of at the same time. They want to avoid the ‘dental visit circus’ that could continue for months, Ms Rouhiainen says.
A patient treated under anaesthesia can usually go home on the same day. However, it is recommended to take the next couple of days off from work.
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