Statistics from the National Center for PTSD indicate that approximately 4% of men and 10% of women in our country struggle with some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder. The causes of PTSD are many, and the implications of this condition are too numerous to count. It is our goal not to understand the wider details of PTSD but to understand how those with anxiety can be helped in our area of expertise. Going to the dentist can be an insurmountable challenge for a person with post-traumatic stress disorder. We’re breaking down the barriers that exist by first acknowledging them and then by addressing them on a case by case basis.
Why Dental Visits Can Be Difficult
We understand why dental visits can be so challenging. Nearly every sense that a person has is activated by the dental environment. Dental offices have a particular smell to them. There are particular sounds coming from dental equipment, and bright lights over treatment chairs. This can be a lot for the average person. For someone with post-traumatic stress, it can be highly triggering. Recognizing this, Dr. Siegelman and his team have learned specific ways to help patients get the care they need without it being a physical and emotional ordeal.
Suggestions for Seeing the Dentist When You Have PTSD
- Call the dental office first. Arrange a visit during which no dental exam or work is performed. Your initial visit to our NYC office can revolve around nothing more than building a rapport and “feeling us out” to see how comfortable you feel in our office atmosphere. During this visit, we can also discuss the various forms of dental sedation that can be utilized to make you completely comfortable should you choose us for preventive, restorative, or cosmetic care.
- Talk to the dentist about what helps you feel at ease. Some patients prefer to know exactly what steps will be involved in their exams beforehand. Some like us to tell them what we’re doing while we’re doing it. For example, when we use a small tool to gently press the gums to check for infection. Patients with anxiety may feel more at ease if they can listen to music on noise-canceling headphones. Anxious patients are our specialty, so we know many solutions to soothe nerves.
- Knowing that dental work might provoke anxiety or suppressed traumas, establish a cue to alert your dentist that you need a break. We do not expect patients to push themselves through dental exams or treatments when they are facing fears or strong emotions. Our entire team is here to help and support you; it’s important to us that you are comfortable and feel at home in our office.
We are proud to offer services that enable anxious people and trauma survivoers to see the dentist and avoid unnecessary dental problems. To learn more about our office and our sedation techniques, call (212) 974-8737.