Dental anxiety is a serious condition that affects millions of patients across the United States every year. For these patients receiving proper dental care can be a serious challenge, as their anxiety can leave them unable to enter the facility at all. In other cases, dental anxiety simply makes their visit stressful and unpleasant, but there are ways to ease this fear. Sedation dentistry is one method used by dentists to aid patients with dental anxiety or phobia in getting the dental care they desperately need. Below we’re going to touch on how sedation dentistry can make a trip to the dentist nothing to fret about.
What Is Dental Anxiety/Phobia?
Dental anxiety is a condition that makes trips to the dentist, something that is feared by patients. This fear is typically unreasonable and may or may not be the result of a precipitating event. In many cases, this fear occurs when a bad experience has been had by the patient or when bullying, teasing, or media representations of dental visits have produced an unwarranted fear. This latter form of dental anxiety is particularly common in children. While general dental anxiety is a commonly occurring experience, it rarely makes it impossible for the patient to seek dental care. They are merely reluctant to do so.
Dental phobia is a (generally severe) phobia often caused by preexisting trauma. This form of the condition can result in the patient undergoing a severe panic attack even when merely driving close to a dental office. This can be more difficult to provide options for and may require the assistance of a psychiatric professional to overcome.
How Does Sedation Dentistry Help?
Sedation dentistry provides a series of options that permit the patient to manage their dental anxiety. The simplest form of sedation dentistry is nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Quick and easy to use, this can help patients with mild cases of dental anxiety. Oral sedation typically involves the use of a drug similar to Valium, requiring time to set in before the treatment and time to wear off afterward. This form of sedation lasts longer and can help patients with more severe forms of dental anxiety. For those experiencing extreme dental phobia, general anesthesia may be provided. This involves the use of an IV and the presence of an anesthesiologist. Further, patients experiencing either of the last two forms of sedation will require someone to drive them home after the procedure.
Dental anxiety is a recognized and very real condition faced by patients, and choosing a dentist who respects it and understands it is important to receive good dental care. Dr. Gina Covington in Hickory, NC, prides themselves on being the kind of dentist who exhibits care and compassion and can help patients overcome their fears. Patient’s seeking to learn more about this treatment can give Covington Dental a call to schedule an appointment. During your appointment, you’ll receive a full dental exam, and your situation will be discussed along with options for sedation dentistry.