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Overcoming Dental Anxiety With Sedation Dentistry

If you experience extreme dread at the thought of visiting the dentist, you are not alone. Most people experience a level of anxiety when it is time for their dental appointment. The anxiety or fear differs in intensity, with some patients going as far as avoiding dental care altogether.

Most people experience moderate and controllable fear, but some have an extreme phobia for dental treatment. Sedation dentistry can help patients to overcome dental anxiety.

Reasons for Dental Anxiety

There are several reasons why people have dental anxiety. Fear of pain is at the top of the list. Most people assume that they will experience intense pain. This fear is usually based on other people’s experiences. Another reason for dental anxiety is the fear of needles.

Other causes of anxiety include different dental odors, the sound produced by dental equipment, and hypersensitivity to touch. For some patients, having someone invading their mouth or being close to their face is enough to cause anxiety.

Using Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry helps to deal with different dental issues. It can help to eliminate pain, overcome anxiety, stress, and fear, and it also helps to reduce fear of instruments. Sedation helps to overcome hypersensitivity to noises, smells, and tastes. It also helps patients who have a severe gag reflex.

Sedation dentistry is customized for each patient. Dentists use sedation to help with the patient’s anxiety level and the type of procedure needed.

Nitrous Oxide

Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is often useful in providing dental sedation. It is effective for overcoming mild or moderate anxiety and fear. The procedure involves inhaling an anesthetic gas through a mask.

The patient remains awake during the procedure, but it helps to relieve pain effectively and reduce anxiety. The patient gets the sensation of being removed from what is taking place in their mouth. The gas leaves the body quickly soon after the treatment is over.

Oral Sedation

Oral or conscious sedation is a form of dental sedation that is administered through medication. It can be administered in pill or fluid form. The sedation causes the patient to feel drowsy, alleviating pain and diminishing anxiety.

Dentists give the medication in different doses to produce minimal, moderate, or deep effects. A minimal effect helps the patient to relax while treating anxiety. A moderate effect helps the patient relax and become sleepy, while a deep effect makes the patient fall asleep.

Intravenous Sedation (IV)

IV sedation is administered directly through the vein allowing the patient to experience deep sedation. The patient remains awake throughout the procedure and continues to breathe on his own. The patient will not be fully aware of the procedure but can respond to questions.

Thus, IV sedation is appropriate for highly anxious patients. It takes effect fast, and the patient does not remember details about the procedure. In some cases, a dentist can administer a local anesthetic to provide pain relief. A patient receives this anesthesia after the IV sedation has taken effect.

When you visit the dentist, you should inform the dentist about your anxiety. Talking to the dentist about your fears or concerns is vital. This is because it allows your dentist to develop a plan that will help conquer your fear.

For more on sedation dentistry, visit Andrew J. Holloman, DDS & Associates at our office in Clearwater, Florida. You can also call 727-245-0027 to book an appointment today.