Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from having a healthy smile
Do you suffer from fear of the dentist? If so, you’re not alone. As many as 40 million Americans share your fear, with some 4 to 8 million so fearful that they avoid dental visits all together. Sadly, avoiding the dentist leads to declining oral health, generating greater fear and anxiety, continuing the cycle of anxiety and avoidance.
The types of fear can range from minor anxiety to various forms of psychiatric disorders, such as dentophobia (an inordinate fear of dental treatment), aichmophobia (a pathological fear of all sharp objects), or trypanophobia (an extreme or irrational fear of needles). For others, their fear may be triggered by the sights, sounds or smells of the dental office or the confines of the dental chair, and an overall feeling of not being in control.
Regardless of fear’s form or ferocity, it’s difficult for people to visit their dentist unless the pain becomes unbearable. This pain probably could have been avoided with regular preventative care, but it’s not too late to try and overcome your fears for the sake of your health.
What Dentist are Doing to Help
Helping patients hurdle the obstacles of their fear should be the priority of every practice. Through the skilled use of sedation, dentists can manage their patients’ fear and pain. For many, local anesthesia may be all that’s needed to achieve a calm and pain-free experience. For others with mild to moderate anxiety, oral sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be used for relaxation.
Those with heightened anxiety can benefit from conscious IV sedation. Unlike oral medications, conscious IV sedation affords the dentist the ability to control the degree of sedation throughout the procedure, as needed, to ensure the patient’s optimal comfort and ease. The administration of IV sedation requires special training and certification. Placing your care in the hands of a fully-qualified practitioner will increase your confidence and quiet your anxiety.
For patients with extreme anxiety, or those facing complex or lengthy procedures, IV sleep sedation is a fear-quieting option.
Genuine Sleep Dentistry is both fully tranquilizing and fully amnesiac, allowing you to relax and not focus on the sights, sounds and smells of the dental office.
Until now, though, most patients had to bear the high cost, inconvenience and added stress of hospitalization in order to safely take advantage of the benefits, but no longer. Sleep Dentistry, which is administered in the dental office, allows the dentist to erase years of neglect in one visit, enabling patients to receive the care they desperately need.
The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he/she will be able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable. Your dentist can also review every step of every dental appointment and procedure so you feel more in control. It’s never too late to receive optimal dental health, and don’t let your fear hinder your chances of making the most out of your beautiful smile!