Going to the dentist has been a fairly unsettling experience ever since I got tinnitus. The high-pitched noise generated from the drilling is indeed a strong motivator to try to keep up my dental health. But, sometimes, I have had to fix things and have noticed how wearing ear plugs just isn’t enough. There is plenty of noise being transmitted via the jaw bone inside the mouth into the ears. Hence, I recommend you to talk things through with your dentist beforehand. Let him/her know about your problem and outline a plan together for how to go about things in a way that feels comfortable to you.
My advice is for you to ask the dentist to drill in intervals. For example, drill for 2-3 seconds, wait 6-8 seconds, then continue drilling for another 2-3 seconds and so on. By limiting the time you are exposed to the noise, it reduces the strain on your ears. Which particular interval that works best for you is something you have to find out yourself. Important is to clearly communicate with your dentist.
If your current dentist shows lack of empathy during your pre-appointment conversation then just cancel the appointment. If, when you are at the dentist practice, you experience a dentist being stressed and not really listening to your needs, then just stand up and leave. It’s essential for you to be strong and set boundaries so that you protect yourself. You will likely encounter medical professionals who are unprofessional enough to not show empathy for tinnitus patients. Keep on looking and you will find wonderful people who will do their best to care for your healthcare needs.
Beyond the conventional dentistry with traditional drills – among which the more modern ones are quieter and more effective, i.e. the drilling will take less time – there is also laser dentistry.
The laser equipment does not come with the high-pitched noise of traditional drills. Instead, there is a popping sound that I have so far only heard out in the open; not inside my mouth. My expectation of the laser drill was for it to be very quiet, but I perceived the popping to be fairly loud. Then again, I assume the laser drill will be quieter inside the mouth compared to a traditional drill – and that the laser will generate less vibrations in the jaw bone, thus more gentle on the ears. But I have yet to try this out.
Is there anyone out there who have experienced laser dentistry and who can share thoughts on the pros (and cons?) versus traditional dentistry equipment?
Swedish founder of Elevating Sound - Your Sound Guide to a Sound World. I have set out to inform and educate about progressive sound thinking, leading sound innovations and issues around noise in society.
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