Tips on Overcoming Dental Fear

According to Dr. Peter Milgrom, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle, around eight percent of Americans have certain levels of dental phobia. This condition is one of the major reasons why many people do not get proper dental attention. The common reasons for dental fear include a previous bad experience with a dentist and a negative impression toward dental procedures because of the stories they heard.

Still, in-office dental treatments are extremely necessary for good oral health. You should not compromise avoiding it due to some phobia. The best way to overcome dental fear is to find a reliable dentist. By simply knowing that your dentist is capable of performing the procedure you need, you will feel secure and confident as you sit on the dentist’s chair.

Depending on the required procedure, your dentist will sedate you so that you will not feel any potential pain. This makes the process all the more comfortable, so you don't have to look at it as dangerous. For simple procedures like extraction and bleaching, inhalation and intravenous sedation may do.

The positive atmosphere in a dental office also influences a patient's mood and response. Dentists who employ friendly staff members are less likely to encounter patients who suffer extreme anxiety during the procedure. However, the family of a patient should do their part in the encouragement by explaining the benefits of the procedure before going to the dentist.


General Dentists: Springboard for Specialization

What do orthodontists, periodontists, oral surgeons, prosthodontists, and cosmetic dentists have in common? They all started out in the broader field of dentistry—general dentistry. Of more than 150,000 dentists all over the U.S., around 60 percent of them are general dentists. While they might have little or no specialized training for each dental field, they make up for it by offering a broader range of services. Apart from prophylaxis, they can also install dental implants, whiten teeth, perform surgery, etc.

General dentists are produced after completing four years in dental school in addition to three years in a regular college. After passing the state board exam, they can either set up shop in a community of their choice or pursue a specialization. The American Dental Association recognizes nine dental fields (cosmetic dentistry not included). Each field has its own curriculum.

In recent years, however, general dentistry itself has grown to the point of having its own specialized program. For instance, the Academy of General Dentistry can bestow two titles to a general dentist upon completing certain requirements. A dentist needs to complete 500 hours of dental education, and must be a member of the AGD for three years to become a fellow (FAGD). Another 600 hours and he can become a master (MAGD). 


The Typical Dental Team

While the dentist is the heart of any dental practice, he doesn't work alone. Someone has to receive new patients, prepare the anesthetic, apply agents, and clean the instruments. For the most part, the dentist has neither the time nor need to do these things; he normally has his hands full performing the more precise operations, like tooth extraction. This is why the dentist keeps a skilled team of specialists to help him make preparations and treat patients.

The composition of a dental team varies by office; but the most common include an anesthesiologist, hygienist, receptionist, and dental nurse. The more extensive dental offices, which offer more than general dentistry, may include an in-house orthodontist and dental therapist. In some cases, the dentist may assume multiple roles as long as he's trained and certified to do so. A general dentist, for example, can also be an orthodontist.

Except for the dentist, the dental team is normally limited to pre-operative procedures like preparing the tools, giving patients the anesthetic, and so on. It's the duty of the dentist to ensure that these procedures go smoothly to ensure the safety of the patient. The dentist never leaves the most important and complicated treatments to his team, making him the glue that holds the team together.