While dentists are necessary for a healthy life many, as much as 50% of Americans, are terrified of visiting their dentist. This can obviously cause them significant harm, as it increases the risk for tooth decay, periodontal disease, and costly and invasive dental procedures. Many practices, including Michael L. Weinstock, DDS, offer sedation dentistry to make dental visits easier for those with dental anxiety. Some dental offices, however, are opting to use psychiatry and other tools to help get patients to the dentist.

Using Videos as Therapy

Cognitive therapy has been proven to be an effective tool in combating dental anxiety. Unfortunately, most dental offices do not keep psychiatrists on staff. Richard Heimberg, a psychology professor at Temple University, has developed a special “video intervention” for his practice which specializes in treating patients with dental anxiety

The first video is of a dentist performing the procedure, such as a root canal, with annotated graphics demonstrating what is going on in the mouth. The second video shows a close up of the patient’s face during the procedure while the dentist talks like a therapist. This “(helps) the patient translate what Heimberg calls ‘Oh, my God!’ thoughts into more positive thoughts.” The final video of the procedure is played with the patient getting the procedure done speaking in a voiceover which helps the actual patient develop coping thoughts.

Heimberg’s team used this method in a trial of 151 patients and not only was this treatment successful in reducing fears of the procedure, some of the returning patients no longer qualified as phobic.

Try Sedation Dentistry

While this video technique is still in the trial phases, there are plenty of options available for those looking to make the trip to the dentist more relaxing. Sedation dentistry is one of those great options, and is a straightforward process. After consulting with Dr. Weinstock, you will just have to take the sedation medication, catch a ride to the dental office, and be taken right into your procedure. If taking medication is not your thing, there are other options that you can do at home, such as eating relaxing foods, meditating, or listening to your favorite music.

If you live in the Orlando area, and are looking for a dental practice that offers sedation dentistry, please consider visiting us at Michael L. Weinstock, DDS in Altamonte Springs. Please give us a call at (407) 834-6446 to schedule an appointment today.