Nervous Patients And Dental Implants
Is dental phobia stopping you having this popular tooth replacement procedure?
Some of our Greenwich patients will be denture wearers. Some will be happy with this and find them adequate for the role they are intended to play, whereas others may find them less practical and sometimes a little uncomfortable.
Some of the latter group may have considered dental implants but, realising that it means a minor surgical procedure, decided against it.
Although some people will just stick with what they already have rather than undergo a procedure, others may appreciate the benefits that dental implants offer but still be afraid to undertake it due to their dental anxiety. We appreciate that this may be challenging, but it would be a shame if their anxiety prevented them from having this ‘gold standard’ in tooth replacement options.
For those who don’t know, dental implants are titanium artificial tooth roots. These are placed into the jawbone where they fuse with the bone in a process known as osseointegration. This then provides an extremely secure base upon which a dental crown is attached, in effect replacing the whole tooth, unlike dentures or bridges which don’t replace the root.
Whilst any invasive procedure may cause anxiety in phobic patients, there is a particular aspect of this procedure that seems to cause the most anxiety and that is the way that the implants are placed.
Most of us will have had a filling and whilst not actually liking it, will be aware that with anaesthetics, it isn’t too uncomfortable. Unless you have had an implant before, unsurprisingly, you will likely not have had any surgery on your jawbone. This is an essential part of implant placement and it seems to be this which some patients find worrying.
How implants are placed
Placing an implant isn’t just a matter of the dentist drilling a small hole in the jawbone. It is much more sophisticated than that and a lot of preparation is necessary before this can happen. First of all, we have to make sure that your mouth is generally healthy so that any risk of infection is kept to a minimum. For example, any gum disease will need to be treated before the treatment starts.
X-rays and scans are then taken to determine the exact position for a correct placement. This helps us to avoid any nerves in the bone. Once this has been determined, the hole is drilled. This is a very precise procedure using the latest dental technology to produce the best results.
The big question that our Greenwich dental team are often asked is ‘does it hurt’. The answer is that this procedure, like any other invasive procedure may offer a level of discomfort but it shouldn’t ‘hurt’. The local anaesthetic that is used prevents messages of pain from being sent to the brain and it is often an anticipation of pain, rather than any actual pain that is the problem.
For those patients who are still worried about this procedure but would like to have it because of its benefits, we recommend that you consider having IV sedation which we can offer at the Confidental Clinic. This involves an injection of a sedative, usually into the back of the hand. This sedative will relax you and enable you to undergo the procedure with a greatly reduced level of stress and anxiety. In fact, even patients who aren’t particularly anxious about receiving dental treatment may wish to consider this as the implant procedure is lengthier than many others and will make it easier.
If you are considering IV sedation, please note that this stays in the system for approximately 24 hours and you mustn’t drive or operate machinery. You will also need to bring a responsible adult with you who can make sure that you get home safely afterwards.
If you would like to find out more about dental implants or IV sedation, please contact the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich on 020 8858 1422.