The dentist is rarely an experience anyone looks forward to, especially if you struggle with anxiety. Unfortunately, I have a wisdom tooth that appears to be misbehaving and needs to be removed. This is obviously not the nicest experience, however while having my latest check up I noticed a few aspects of the dental visit experience that pose a problem for people with chronic illnesses.
The classic sound of a dentist's office has to be the high pitched drill, withits siren like call to the nervous patients in the waiting area, nothing screams DENTIST quite like it! However, for chronically ill people, noise can be a trigger for both pain and fatigue. Noise sensitivity is a common symptom for people with M.E, Fibromyaglia and many more chronic illnesses. So, how can we combat this problem?
Ideally, a recognition of the problem by dentists, and the allowance of ear defenders during treatment would help to reduce the impact of loud and high pitched noises that occur while at the Dentist.
Light is another issue that is common as a sensitivity symptom in people with chronic illnesses. Dentists usually use a large overhead light to allow for greater visibility while they work, and while shielding glasses are provided, the strength of the light and sensitivity of the chronically ill patient often mean that the glasses are not protective enough. So, how can we combat this problem?
Light is a difficult one to solve, as for obvious reasons the dentist requires said light to complete their work to the best of their ability.
A blackout eye mask, may be a useful tool however. By using this mask the light would not have such an impact on the patient, while the Dentist doesn't lose visibility- it's a win-win!
Often when visiting the Dentist there are a few forms that need filling out, these could include medical history, consent to treatment, and personal details. For someone with a chronic illness, this can be a difficult task. One of the most debilitating and embarrassing symptoms I experience is Brain Fog, this is where concentration slips due to fatigue. This can result in confusing, silly mistakes in spelling and grammar, in addition to inability to form a coherent sentence. These symptoms can quickly become an issue when filling out paperwork, leaving the patient open to mistakes, confusion and resulting embarrassment. So what can we do to avoid this?
Often a chronically ill individual will have a carer or close family member who can help them to fill out forms such as those found in the Dentist's office. Furthermore, for those without such support, receptionists and assistants are available to aid fulfillment of the form.
Of course there are an abundance of triggers and issues for chronic illnesses found at the dentist, these are just the main ones I noticed myself. What other issues have you found when visiting the dentist, be it as a chronically ill individual, or as a patient of dental care?