nerves when visiting the dentist
There are a number of things which
can contribute to a patient being nervous on their visit. Previous
negative experiences can be carried on for many years, while some
people simply have a fear of needles.
Key to successful treatment is to find a dentist who the patient
is comfortable with. Patients can suffer from any of three levels
of fear when visiting the dentist including Dental Anxiety; Dental
Fear and Dental Phobia.
Dental Anxiety is a reaction
to an unknown danger. Anxiety is very common and most people experience
some degree of dental anxiety, especially if they are about to
have something done which they’ve never experienced before - Dental
anxiety is basically the fear of the unknown. Dental Fear is a
reaction to a known danger i.e. "I know what the dentist
is going to do, been there, done that, and I’m scared."
This involves a fight, or flight response when confronted with
the threatening stimulus. However, Dental Phobia is a lot stronger
and can be defined as ‘marked and persistent fear that is excessive
or unreasonable. For example a patient’s heart can start racing
when passing a dental sign or surgery; you can feel the heat rising
to your face and become shaky and nauseous.
On being awarded the Sensodyne
Sensitive Dentist 2008 Denis Kerrisk was complimented on his sensitivity
to anxious patents, Paul O’Grady of the Journal of the Irish Dental
“Across a range of conditions and treatments, patients gave
testimony to Dr Denis Kerrisk, the winner for Munster. One father
wrote in to speak of the exceptional sensitivity and care shown
to his adult daughter who has an intellectual disability and who
been been very traumatised by previous medical treatments.
Dr Kerrisk succeeded in helping to relax fully in a dentist’s
chair and this has had a positive carry-over effect in the doctor’s
surgery. Dr Kerrisk went beyond the bounds of normal care to provide
a calm and reassuring environment and state-of-mind for a frightened
patient and is a worthy winner of the award for Munster.