A novel solution for overcoming dental fear – Amit Patel

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  Posted by: Dental Design      28th September 2018

The patient was a 45-year-old female with mobile upper anterior incisors. She had a class II division 2 occlusion with a bite occluding on the upper palate and lower buccal gingival tissues. Her general oral health was OK, although limited bone volume was identified. No other abnormalities were identified during the full clinical assessment.

Treatment options were fairly limited as the upper anterior teeth had a hopeless prognosis and therefore extraction was indicated. The patient then had a choice between a removable partial denture and an implant-retained denture. She preferred the latter as it would provide a fixed solution.

The four anterior incisors were extracted during a subsequent appointment and a resin-bonded bridge was constructed using the Dahl Concept. This aims to place the prosthesis in supra-occlusion so that the final implant bridge could be fabricated without causing trauma to the gingival tissues in the upper or lower jaws. The resin-bonded bridge was left in situ for three months to allow for healing and enable the patient to become accustomed to the restoration.

A major barrier that needed to be overcome in this case was the patient’s fairly serious dental fear. She was very distressed during the initial consultation and almost distraught in the second appointment, despite the fact that she brought several members of her family along for support. This was of concern as the dental implant placement would require a more complex and lengthy procedure that she may have struggled to cope with.

I see a lot of anxious patients, especially as I perform various complex treatments such as block grafts and bilateral sinus lifts. I always prefer to avoid using sedation where possible. I find that patients often handle procedures very well without it as long as they feel like they’re in control and they are able to relax. In fact, in my 20 years working in practice, I have only used sedation a handful of times for those patients who really couldn’t proceed without it. I had thought about installing a TV on the ceiling of my surgery to help provide distraction for anxious patients and make them more comfortable, but then I came across another solution – HappyMed video glasses.

The glasses are unlike any other product on the market as they feature a slim design that is easy to wear and they include sound to better distract patients from the clinical procedure. The glasses are easy to use and offer a good selection of movies for patients to watch, making them ideal for use during longer treatments.

We decided to trial the video glasses with this patient in an attempt to help her relax during treatment. Amazing, she went from being extremely anxious to quite calm and more concerned about what she could watch than the actual surgery. As such, we were able to successfully place two dental implants in the lateral sites with simultaneous guided bone regeneration. The patient remained responsive throughout as the volume was set so that she could still hear me and I could update her as the procedure progressed. The resin-bonded bridge was then fixed in place and left for a further three months to allow the surgical site to heal.

The patient was very happy with the result achieved. Her occlusion was improved with over eruption of the posterior teeth, which allowed the final anterior screw retained implant bridge to be restored in an ideal position.

She also found treatment much easier to cope with when distracted by the HappyMed video glasses, which proved their value in the treatment of anxious patients. As such, her experience was greatly improved and we were able to deliver the results she desired in a stress-free way.

This is an important benefit of the HappyMed video glasses – being able to complete treatment on anxious patients without the need for sedation. Calmer patients also mean happier patients, whose satisfaction with the practice can only be a positive thing for business in terms of recommendations. Visiting the dentist is scary for many patients, anything we can do to enhance their experience will also improve the likelihood of them returning. Not only is the product quite affordable, it pays for itself very quickly in this way as well.

For more information on HappyMed, visit happymed.org/en

Author bio:

Dr Amit Patel is a Specialist Periodontist. Alongside running his own private practice in Birmingham, Amit is also an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at the University of Birmingham Dental School. His particular interests are dental implants, regenerative and aesthetic procedures.

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