Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS understands his patients’ fears about going to the dentist. The Edmond dentist believes that these worries can be overcome with empathetic communication. Here, Dr. Johnson offers his take on dental doubts.
Interviews & News: Good morning, Dr. Johnson. Dental phobia is a common concern among most patients, isn’t it?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Unfortunately, it is.
Interviews & News: Have you found it to be more prevalent in adults or children?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Adults honestly. But children are not immune to fear, especially when they have parents who are afraid of the dentist. Often, the parents project those fears onto their children.
Interviews & News: How so…?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Parents may remember a time when anesthesia wasn’t as safe and effective as it is today and they showcase these fears at the dentist by acting timid. Sometimes adults put off dental procedures because they are afraid of having a negative experience.
Interviews & News: What are some ways to move past this perception, in your opinion?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Communication! Ask your dentist questions and let him or her know you are uncomfortable.
Interviews & News: Don’t dentists think anxiety is silly?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Not at all. A lot of us come from a time before any anesthesia was used for office procedure like fillings. That memory is still there and dental anxiety isn’t unheard of, even in experienced dentists and hygienists.
Interviews & News: There’s a feeling of helplessness that comes with being confined to a dentist’s chair…
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Agreed. It can be uncomfortable, especially when you’ve got gadgets, tools, and hands in your mouth.
Interviews & News: So, how are we supposed to communicate during this time?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Talk with your hands. Have a discussion before the procedure and make it known that certain gestures mean you feel pain or discomfort.
Interviews & News: Do you have any advice on refocusing attention during an exam or surgery?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: There’s a reason that most dentist offices have TVs in the exam room!
Interviews & News: Do you recommend sedation?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Sedation dentistry is an excellent choice for those who need dental work but can’t quite ease themselves into it.
Interviews & News: Is that a total loss of consciousness?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Not necessarily. There are options for full or partial sedation. Sometimes a mild tranquilizer is enough to calm the nerves long enough to get through a minor procedure.
Interviews & News: What happens if the patient needs a break?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Just let us know. We’d rather you stop for a few moments than let us continue while you’re frightened or in pain. That could cause you to miss out on dental care in the future.
Interviews & News: What’s the most common cause of dental anxiety?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: People fear what they don’t understand.
Interviews & News: How dangerous is it to forgo dental care?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: Problems like cavities and gum disease, if left unchecked, can wreak havoc on the rest of the body, triggering conditions that may lead to diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.
Interviews & News: Wow, I had no idea about that! We thank you for all of your answers today. Do you have anything to add?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Just that it’s a great idea to establish a relationship with a dentist from an early age and grow with them. It’s easier to feel at ease with someone you have a history with.