Fear of the dentist
Being afraid of the dentist is very common. For some patients still today, just setting a foot inside a dental practice is a scary experience, and patients can feel very uneasy. Tooth ache is often one of the most unpleasant types of pain a person can experience which is why many people fear pain during treatment. This was clearly demonstrated by a scientific survey that showed 50% of people with an urgent need for treatment would not go into a dental practice for treatment due to being afraid.
Historically, this fear is deeply ingrained in people: only 30 years ago no anaesthesia was used when pulling teeth, removing caries, or performing any other dental procedures. The traumatic experiences of parents are the cause of fear of the dentist. All of this would happen despite the suitable equipment and treatments being available.
A New York surgeon, William Stewart Halsted carried out the first anaesthetic treatments using cocaine as part of dental procedures in as early as 1885. Cocaine, later becoming a widely abused drug, was first used for ophthalmological (eye) treatments. Halsted was the first dentist to apply this pioneering discovery to the field of dental medicine.
It is astonishing that, from that point on and even into the twentieth century, many dentists did not use local anaesthetics.
Where the injections were indeed used, they did not help in reducing patients’ fear of going to the dentists in the past. This is because the syringes, called cannulas, were very thick and themselves caused pain, and with it, fear.
Nowadays, with anaesthetics now used in all dental practices, very thin cannulas (needles) are used, helping to reduce patients’ anxiety about going to the dentist. Furthermore, many new techniques have not been applied to modern dentistry which make treatments easier. These approaches include use of sedation with laughing gas, general anaesthesia, and other methods.
Many patients are still not aware of this, leading to 3 of every 4 people still being afraid of the dentist. Pain is simply expected, and so patients are left bewildered when treatments are carried out completely pain-free.
Gentle application of injections and their effects
More modern techniques and pain-free procedures for the anxious patient
Frequently asked questions
Are all treatments at the Dr. Hager Dental Practice that would involve pain always carried out using anaesthetic?
Yes! We attach great importance to the fact that all our dental treatments are carried out using local anaesthetic. This might be treatment for tooth decay (caries), tooth ache, minor surgical procedures… The DR. HAGER | Dentists will always carry out treatment in such a way that the careful treatment process in the affected area is completely pain-free. We use gentler, less invasive techniques to eliminate the causes of tooth ache. Whether it be laughing gas, conduction (regional) anaesthesia, or local anaesthesia: each and every one of our treatment approaches is designed to help patients to overcome their fear of the dentist in the future.
Why do anaesthetic injections not work to deactivate tooth sensitivity?
Patients often suffer from acute inflammation within the tooth, of the gums, or in the jaw, which may already be in an advanced stage. The acidic inflammation environment created sometimes means that ensuring that the area is completely numb is not possible. In these cases, a preceding antibiotic treatment can be used to relieve symptoms in the run up to the main treatment appointment, ensuring that the tooth and/or gums can be completely numbed.
How can the dentist help to reduce feelings of fear or anxiety due to going to the dentist?
Helping patients to overcome their fears of going to the dentist is not always easy, particularly when this is due to past experiences where local anaesthesia was not used. Only 30 years ago it was absolutely not the standard to carry out dental treatments using local anaesthesia. It’s no wonder, then, that this generation has developed major fear and anxiety issues surrounding dentists. Since opening our practices over 35 years ago, the dentists at the Dr. Hager Dental Practice have been using local anaesthesia. To help patients to overcome these fears, we can, on request, discuss all of the treatment steps with patients, helping to make anxiety and fear a thing of the past. The dentists working at both Dr. Hager Dental Practices, in Konstanz and in Bietingen, all put a great deal of effort into resolving dental problems and improving dental hygiene, leaving patients in a good state of dental health. Once we can achieve this, we can ensure that tooth ache becomes a thing of the past for our patients.
What causes tooth ache?
A frequent cause is poor oral hygiene. If dental care is not properly ensured on a daily basis, bacteria are able to attack healthy teeth, leading to dental caries (tooth decay). Bacteria work at the teeth, gradually advancing towards their inner layers. Stimuli such as cold water, sweet foods or acids from fruits can reach closer and closer to the dental nerve, leading to the all-too-familiar toothache. Bacteria can similarly cause inflammation of the gums. In this process, it is possible for bacteria to take hold in the gingival crevices (small pockets in the gums), working their way deeper and deeper towards the dental root. In this case too, toothache occurs.