Preventing Dental Anxiety

One of the most common yet unnecessary fears people hold is that of the dentist. Often times this fear stems from a bad previous experience, but this doesn’t need to define your future with dental work. The consequences of avoiding the dentist are far greater than you may realize. Make the necessary changes to prevent dental anxiety, ensuring a positive experience.

 

The Root of the Problem

 

There are different levels of dental anxiety with some so bad that they often lose sleep over the very thought of the dentist. This fear is most common in older people who have lived through some of the less advanced methods of oral care. It is important to recognize that much has changed in the past few decades, making dental care safer, more comfortable, and all around better. If you have had a previous bad experience with the dentist, don’t let that define your future oral care.

 

Communication

 
 

 
Any good relationship requires communication to be successful, and the dentist is no different. To better understand and defeat your dental anxiety, have an open conversation with your dentist, letting them know your fears. This will help your dentist understand why you are nervous, and provide solutions to these fears. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you are fearful, you are definitely not alone, and not even in the minority.

 

Sedation Dentistry

 
 

 
The stress can be just too much for some people. In these cases, sedation dentistry may be the best or only option. This gives you a medicated escape while the procedure is going on, helping to rid your experience of discomfort and anxiety. While most people won’t need their dental appointments to go this far, it is a possible option to discuss with your dentist.

 

Distract Yourself

 
 

 
Most dentist offices will offer entertainment to their patients to help take their minds away from the treatment. Don’t reject this service, instead use the headphones and television programs to distract yourself from the procedures happening in your mouth. Even just letting yourself daydream can be a welcomed distraction from the dental procedures.

 

Bring Someone You Trust

 
 

 
If you are still dreading your visit to the dentist, bring a trusted friend or family member with you for the first appointment. This familiar face can be a great comfort while you are in the dental chair, and can even work as a distraction to keep your mind off the work at hand. Talk with someone you feel close to and ask them to fill this role.


Don’t let your past dental anxieties have an impact on your future oral health. There are things you can do to make visiting the dentist a better experience. Make an effort, and understand that some of the fears you are experiencing may not even be relevant anymore.


Understanding Sedation Dentistry

 

For many, going to the dentist can be an anxious, fear inducing experience. Those for whom the anxiety of a dental visit is so overwhelming that the use of sedatives is necessary are the primary focus of sedation dentistry. This type of dentistry employs pharmaceutical sedatives to relax a patient prior to and during their appointment. These types of drugs can be invaluable to those with fears of the dentist and severe anxiety. Sedation dentistry makes use of different levels of sedation depending on the type of procedure and the individual patient. Here is a look at the function and benefits of sedation dentistry.

 

How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?

 

Sedation works by depressing the central nervous system–namely the parts associated with cognitive awareness. The pharmaceutical drugs used in sedation vary to correspond to different levels of relaxation, ranging from minimal to deep sedation–often used in surgeries. Minimal, moderate, and deep sedation are the three levels and correspond to different degrees of relaxation and cognitive awareness. The administration of sedatives is accomplished a number of ways, including: intravenous, intramuscular, inhalation, and submucosal administration. Each of these methods combined with the appropriate dosage can effectively relax a patient in preparation for and during a dental procedure.

 

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

 

There are numerous benefits of sedation dentistry to both the patient and the dentist. For individuals with severe anxiety, sedation may be the only way they can get the dental care they need. In other situations, sedation is necessary for a particular procedure to calm the patient and anesthetize them against pain and discomfort. Some of the most obvious benefits of this practice include: patient relaxation, patient cooperation, gag reflex control, more comfort, movement control, little to no memory of treatment procedures, and fewer appointments. Often, dental procedures are traumatic and sedation can help enormously with reducing traumatic associations and creating an environment where the patient is at ease and the dentist can easily work.

 

Sedation for dental procedures is often used as a strategy to help reduce the number of return visits required to complete a procedure or series of procedures. Repeat visits to conclude a dental procedure are time consuming for the dentist and the patient and can unnecessarily prolong an uncomfortable experience. In some cases, administering sedation may be the most efficient and practical method of completing a dental procedure to the benefit of patient and doctor.