For many people, the thought of visiting the dentist is enough to generate intense feelings of fear and anxiety. An overwhelming fear of the dentist usually causes people to neglect important appointments, which increases their risk for oral health problems such as decay, gum disease and tooth loss.
The good news is that today’s modern dentistry is designed to create positive patient experiences and minimize common fears associated with dentistry. Whether your dental phobia spurs from a traumatic experience or fear of pain, our team has the expertise to address your anxiety and provide positive future dental appointments through a trusted relationship, education and sedation dentistry.
Signs of Dental Anxiety
Just because you don’t enjoy visiting the dentist doesn’t mean you have anxiety. However, if your dental fears interfere with your daily life or prevent you from receiving important treatment, then you may need help overcoming your fears.
Some common signs of dental anxiety include:
- You feel tense about treatment or have difficulty sleeping the night before a dental appointment.
- You neglect to make appointments with the dentist due to fears.
- The sights, smells and sounds of the dental office increase your anxiety.
- You become increasingly nervous or physically ill just thinking about a dental exam.
- Sitting in the waiting room intensifies your feelings of uneasiness.
- You experience difficulty breathing or start to panic during a procedure.
Put an End to Your Dental Fears
If you think you suffer from dental anxiety, it is important that you take steps to reduce your fears so that you can receive the care you need. Here are some options to help you relax in the dental chair.
- Communicate with your dentist. Set up a meeting with your dentist to talk about your fears and concerns. A good dentist will understand your feelings and have solutions to help resolve your anxiety about treatment.
- Nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is inhaled through a mask to help patients relax for the duration of the treatment. Laughing gas helps numb discomfort while creating a pleasurable feeling to help relieve anxiety during a procedure. Patients remain awake during treatment, and the effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly.
- Oral sedatives. With oral sedatives, patients take a previously prescribed medication prior to the start of their procedure. Patients remain awake during treatment and can communicate with the dentist while reaching a complete state of relaxation.
- Intravenous (IV) sedation. IV sedation is administered directly into a patient’s bloodstream through a vein. This type of sedation works quickly to induce a deep sleeplike state of relaxation during the appointment. With IV sedation, patients have little to no memory of the procedure.
It’s possible to ease your dental fears so that you can achieve healthy, beautiful teeth. The first step to coping with anxiety is to discuss your concerns with your dentist. Once we understand your fears, we can work with you to determine the best method to ease your mind and make your appointments more comfortable.