Nervous & Anxious Patients - The Gentle Dentist


A visit to the dentist need not be something to worry about. Antonia Paolella’s practice, established for nearly 30 years, provides dental care for nervous and anxious patients in a calm, friendly yet professional environment. Antonia and her team of highly trained, sympathetic specialists and assistants provide excellent standards of dental care in tranquil surroundings with an atmosphere of gentle relaxation.

We use state of the art methods of analgesia, which guarantee pain free treatment. For many patients, this knowledge, coupled with the reassurance of a comforting hand to hold and the use of headphones or DVD headsets, is enough to overcome their fears. However, others have deeper phobias and for these patients we can offer relative analgesia [happy gas] which produces a floaty, dream like state, or “conscious sedation” which has a deeper sedative effect. “Conscious Sedation”, as the name implies, is a safe technique that provides a sedated, but conscious, state. The drugs used have a very potent amnesic quality and, on completion of treatment, you will have little, if any, recall and think you have been sleeping.

If you require any more information or reassurance please contact the surgery.

For some people, the first fear to deal with is the fear of admitting to other people that you are afraid of dental treatment and therefore may find it difficult to make that phone call. For these people we have composed a list of the most commonly asked questions with answers. Hopefully, after reading these and realising you are not alone, you will feel able to ring and make an appointment for an initial consultation.

We fully understand that this first appointment is the most difficult for you to make as you will not yet have been reassured and gained confidence in the team but please be brave and make that call- we are on your side and we don’t bite! If it’s easier, send an e-mail and we will respond.

Questions commonly asked by nervous patients

Q. Why am I afraid of the dentist?

A. Being afraid of the dentist means different things to different people and different people will have different triggers for their fears. Some are worried by sounds, others are worried by smells but whatever the trigger, it brings back memories of bad experiences, often as a child, when they have suffered discomfort during dental treatment.

Q. Why should I not be afraid now?

A. Dental techniques have improved greatly in recent years and modern dentistry should be completely painless. However, if you have anxieties you will still feel nervous at the thought of going to the dentist and this will not change until you have had an initial visit to meet the dental team and discover how caring, understanding and supportive they are.

Q. What will happen at the first appointment?

A. Your first appointment will be just for a consultation, radiographs and a chat about any treatment you may need. It will give you the opportunity to interview us!

Q. I haven’t been to the dentist for a long time, will I need a lot of treatment?

A. It is impossible to answer this question without examining you but, because of the addition of fluoride to toothpastes , teeth are stronger with less decay and therefore you may be surprised at how little treatment you need.

Q. If I need lot’s of treatment, can it all be done in one visit?

A. We will always carry out treatment in the minimum number of visits, particularly if we can use a conscious sedation technique.However, it is rarely possible to carry out all treatment in one visit only, particularly if it is some time since you last attended. This is because, for the long term success of any restorative treatment, it is essential that the supporting tissues are healthy. To achieve this, and to demonstrate methods of home care to enable you to maintain a healthy mouth, at least one appointment is usually required for cleaning . This can be carried out utilising conscious sedation if necessary and also local anaesthetic to ensure your comfort. Please do not be misled by clinics that may promise one appointment only- it is not possible to place long lasting restorations if the supporting tissues- gums- are not healthy.

Q. Will it hurt?

A. NO! The use of the most modern methods of analgesia ensures pain free treatment. An anaesthetic paste is applied to the gum before administration of the local anaesthetic to ensure you feel nothing. However, should you experience any discomfort at all, please let us know- we will respond to ensure your comfort.

Q. I am afraid of needles- what can I do?

A. Many people are afraid of injections, particularly in the mouth .An anaesthetic paste is applied to the area of gum that is to be injected and this numbs the gum so you do not feel the needle.

Q. I hate the sound of the drill. Can I take anything with me?

A. We have music playing at all times and give you headphones to wear during treatment. There is a broad selection of music available for you to choose from but please feel free to bring any favourite music that you find relaxes you.

Q. Can I ask the dentist to stop if I need to?

A. We always tell you to raise your hand if you want us to stop for any reason. We will always respond and once you know that you can control the situation, you will feel more confident.