In our last couple of posts, we talked about root canals and how they’re nothing to be afraid of. Hopefully, we’ve helped you, our patients in Plano, TX, understand that procedure, and through understanding get over the deeply ingrained fear of root canals.
However, there are some folks out there who will be nervous, anxious, even terrified of getting a root canal, or any other dental procedure (no matter how minor); they’ll even avoid going to the dentist at all if they can manage it. Having an irrational fear of the dentist is incredibly common. In fact, 60% of Americans have admitted that they are so afraid of the dentist they won’t seek treatment for a dental problem until it gets so bad it can’t be ignored. This is called dental anxiety, and it can be a real barrier to needed care (routine or otherwise).
That’s why we offer sedation dentistry to our patients who need a little help relaxing in the chair. Your comfort as a patient is an important part of your dental care, because the more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to keep your appointments and get the check-ups and cleanings you need to keep your good oral health.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Having nerves before any medical procedure is natural and expected, to a certain degree. After all, while getting a cavity filled isn’t a big deal (for many of our patients), it isn’t the most pleasant experience either! That said, if the idea of getting a filling causes you to feel so much dread that you’ll consider just living with a cavity instead of getting it treated, you might have dental anxiety.
Dental anxiety is more than just a slight case of the willies prior to a dental appointment. If you have dental anxiety, it will cause you to put off coming to the dentist until a problem arises, and even then you might avoid making an appointment until the problem becomes so severe that it can no longer be ignored. At that point, what might have been solved with a simple procedure has advanced to where a more involved treatment is required.
Signs of Dental Anxiety
Are you just nervous or do you have dental anxiety? Consider the following signs:
As we’ve mentioned several times already, this is the primary indicator that dental anxiety is a problem. Sufferers of dental anxiety will not go to the dentist until they really have to.
Insomnia Prior to a Dental Appointment:
Has a dental appointment caused you to lose sleep the night before a visit to the dentists’ office? Insomnia (or just difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep) caused by worry over a dental appointment is an indicator of dental anxiety.
Waiting Room Discomfort:
A person suffering with dental anxiety will eventually come in to the dentists’ office for treatment. This doesn’t mean that the anxiety has gone away; if you suffer dental anxiety, just sitting in the waiting room can induce panic and worry.
Having physical symptoms related to dental anxiety, along with avoidance behavior, is one of the clearest signs that what could be dismissed as a case of nerves is actually an anxiety problem. Sufferers can become physically ill, or even start crying, at only the thought of getting in the dentist’s chair.
What Can 1st in Smiles Do for Me?
1st in Smiles’ can help you get over your anxiety in the dentist’s chair through sedation dentistry. Your dentist at 1st in Smiles has specialized training in conscious sedation dentistry, ensuring your safety while making you as comfortable as possible for your procedure, but you won’t ever lose consciousness.
We offer the following forms of sedation dentistry in our practice:
Nitrous Oxide is better known as “laughing gas”, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. Something that makes you laugh uncontrollably would certainly impede our ability to treat your problem! What it does do is regulate your body systems to reduce your panic response and induce a profound feeling of relaxation.
Nitrous Oxide is the most basic form of sedation available, and we offer it at no cost to our patients that need it. The gas is mixed with oxygen, and is delivered via a mask that covers your nose; your mouth remains unobstructed. Nitrous can help you if you have minor anxiety about going to the dentist.
Oral sedation is a powerful sedative in pill form, and it is prescribed to you by your dentist. You’ll take the sedative about an hour prior to your appointment. It is strongly advised that if you request oral sedation, you should have a “designated driver” for your trip to and away from the dentists’ office. The sedative will provide you with a very intense feeling of relaxation, keeping you calm in the dental chair as you undergo treatment.
Oral sedation is stronger than nitrous, and is most appropriate for those who have moderate to severe dental anxiety.
IV Sedation is the most powerful form of sedation available at our practice. “IV” stands for intravenous. IV sedation is powerful and fast; you’ll feel its effects almost immediately. Just as you might have an IV drip in a hospital, IV sedation works by administering the sedative directly into the bloodstream.
IV sedation is still a form of conscious sedation; this is not the same thing as general anesthesia. IV sedation is a great option for those with severe dental anxiety, or even dental phobia (which is much more severe; if you’re a dental phobic, nothing is enough to get you to come in for needed treatment. Dental phobics have severe anxiety and usually have serious problems with their oral health as well). IV sedation is also useful if you have a lot of work that needs to be done and you’d like to reduce the number of appointments you need.
Fear of the Dentist Can Cause Tooth Loss and Worse!
The dentist’s office might be scary to you, but we can guarantee you that the consequences of avoiding dental care are much scarier.
Don’t sacrifice your oral health because of an irrational fear!
Call 1st in Smiles now at 972-380-8105 now!