Disarming Dental Anxiety
Whether dentists want to believe it or not, dentistry has an anxiety problem. Dental anxiety could be either real, due to an actual negative experience, or perceived, thanks in part to society's insistence that a trip to the dental chair is worse than a visit from the grim reaper. Either way, dental anxiety impacts countless people worldwide, and anything clinicians can do to lessen a patient's pain-or the perception of pain-should be welcomed in a practice.
Among the many innovations aimed at alleviating dental anxiety is a relatively new restorative technique described in our first continuing education (CE) article. Intraoral air abrasion, or sandblasting, is an alternative method for removing or altering tooth structure. As the authors explain, this procedure utilizes the spraying of abrasive particles on teeth and may be used for plaque removal, cavity preparation, and more. Perhaps most significant, air abrasion has been reported to allow patients to have less perceived pain than the use of a traditional rotary cutting instrument.
Our other CE this month is aimed at helping dental clinicians diagnose and manage oral allergy syndrome, a fairly common condition that results in an "itchy" tongue and other oral mucosal tissues. This food allergy reaction, which has a strong association with allergic reactivity to pollen, is an ailment that dentists may be called upon to detect since the primary symptom is oral pruritus.
The need for dental implants, an ever-increasing mode of treatment, may also cause patients anxiety. Fortunately, newer methods are utilizing graftless approaches with fewer surgical appointments, as shown in a case report that highlights a treatment using an implant-supported fixed prosthesis. Another case report demonstrates the creative use of a lateral window technique for successful retrieval of an implant that had become displaced in the maxillary sinus.
Also featured in this issue are a case series on treatment of odontogenic sinusitis, a clinical review of zirconia restoration cementation, and a special report on implants and regenerative materials.
Patient comfort is indispensible to a successful dental practice. To find more ways to alleviate or reduce pain and anxiety for your patients, visit Compendium's vast library of clinical content at compendiumlive.com.
Louis F. Rose, DDS, MD