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Absolutely Comfortable Dentistry- Is it Possible?

My 35 year career in dentistry has constantly been a search for the MOST comfortable ways to have dental procedures.

Here are some of the MOST important:

    1. First of all, prepare yourself, as the patient, to be as relaxed as possible. Do the following:
      • A. Wear comfortable clothing
      • No caffeine intake 6 hours prior the appointment. This helps tremendously with the efficiency of any numbing medications you may need.
      • Bring an iPod or personal music player with relaxing music with headphones for use during your appointment.
    2. Be aware of the various ways you can have your dentistry done to be the most comfortable. It is important that the dentist be trained, experienced and most of all qualified by the dental board to administer the various ways to be comfortable.
      • Use of the local numbing agent only
      • Use of the local numbing agent and the relaxation gas, called nitrous oxide/oxygen
      • Use of the local numbing agent, relaxation gas and sedation medications. The sedation medications are given at lowest, most efficient dose to give a comfortable effect. Many patients describe it as a “great nap during my dental appointment”
  1. A warm blanket can be most comforting during your visit. “Soft and cuddly” is a common remark. Even during the summer months laying still can become cold- so the blanket is very popular.
  2. The dental chair itself can be comfortable but the addition of a special insert can make it as comfortable as a high grade mattress for your bed. Nestling in that environment can be so relaxing.
  3. A soft, foam neck support is so nice to go with the chair insert described above. Memory foam that individually conforms to your individual anatomy makes it just right for you.
  4. Also available on dental chairs today is massages. One that massages the shoulders and/or the lower back is a great addition to the comfort factor.
  5. Additional tips on what to ask for:
    • Insist on a medical grade numbing gel PRIOR to any needles being used. It is specially prepared in a sterile compounding pharmacy specifically to give maximum surface numbing. Using this before “the shot” commonly gives patient response of “when are you going to give me a shot?” The answer is- “I already did!”
  6. A soft cushion to rest your teeth against during your procedure can be so helpful and relaxing. The jaws tend to tire from opening but relax with the cushion.

In summary, seek out a dentist with a passion for your comfort. A thorough pre-treatment discussion of what you want and don't want is a great way to customize your appointment. Finding out your individual needs means your dental needs, concerns, wants can be accomplished without fear of discomfort. You CAN have absolutely comfortable dentistry!