In order to maintain good oral health, it is crucial that you visit the dentist regularly. Your dentist can identify issues before they severely damage your oral health. However, for many, just the thought of a dental appointment can trigger anxiety. A person can develop dental anxiety for various reasons. Unfortunately, dental anxiety can greatly impact your oral care. Luckily, there are options that your dentist can provide to reduce your fears.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is a common condition that creates fear, uneasiness, or even panic related to dental visits. It can range from mild discomfort to severe phobia. This condition can affect people of all ages.
Common Causes of Dental Anxiety
There is not one common cause of dental anxiety. There are some patients who have had negative past experiences at the dentist. A traumatic or painful dental encounter in the past can lead to fear of future visits.
For many people, they fear pain from their dental procedures. The fear of dental pain, whether real or perceived, can be a significant driver of anxiety.
Some patients feel helpless and anxious when they can’t control what’s happening in the dentist’s chair. On the other hand, the sight of dental instruments or needles can trigger anxiety in some.
For those with heightened sensitivity, the sounds, smells, and sensations associated with dental procedures can be overwhelming.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Dentists understand the anxiety many patients face. They are trained to communicate in a reassuring and empathetic manner. Building trust through open dialogue is the first step in addressing dental anxiety. Your dentist will listen to your concerns and tailor their approach to make you as comfortable as possible.
For patients scared of pain, modern dentistry offers various pain management techniques. This ensures you experience minimal discomfort during procedures. Local anesthesia, for instance, can numb the area being treated. As a result, it can make dental work virtually painless.
Sedation Dentistry: A Game Changer
Sedation dentistry involves using medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It is a safe and effective option for those with dental anxiety or complex dental needs.
Types of Sedation
Depending on your procedure and anxiety level, your dentist can provide several options.
With oral sedation, you will take prescribed medication by mouth before the appointment, which induces a state of relaxation. While you will remain conscious, you may have little to no memory of the procedure.
A common type of sedation is nitrous oxide. Commonly known as “laughing gas,” your dentist can administer this option through a mask over your nose. It provides immediate relaxation. It allows your dentist to adjust your medication as needed during the procedure.
Intravenous (IV) sedation is administered directly into the bloodstream by a trained anesthesiologist. It allows for deeper sedation. Typically, IV sedation is for more complex procedures.
Sedation dentistry offers several advantages:
- Sedation helps you relax and alleviates fear and anxiety associated with dental visits.
- You’ll experience minimal discomfort. The procedure may also seem to pass quickly.
- Sedation can make it easier for patients with dental phobias or special needs to cooperate during treatment.
- With sedation, more extensive or multiple procedures can often be completed in a single appointment.