Do you fear going to the dentist and having work done on your mouth? Many people struggle with this fear and the thought of having dental pain. However, technology is very advanced in modern times, allowing patients many options when it comes to anesthesia and sedation. In fact, sedation dentistry can help fearful patients learn to love the dentist, as sedation can help you avoid pain and unpleasant memories of dental work. Find out more about anesthesia during dental care and if it can benefit you!
Fear of the Dentist
Did you know that fearing dental work is actually quite common among many people? Many love having a healthy mouth, but they don’t love the thought of shots and drills that are at a dental office. Seeing a dentist regularly is one of the best things a person can do for their health, as oral health affects your overall health and vice versa. However, fear of the dentist often keeps people away, and their risk for dental diseases skyrockets. It’s actually less scary to see the dentist for regular checkups because doing so can help you avoid oral health problems that would actually require shots and drills to fix.
Just how much do people fear shots and drills? More than you might think!
- 9-15% of Americans fear visiting a dental office.
- Many of those people avoid dental work for years, often preferring to live with broken or missing teeth, severe tooth decay or gum disease.
- The percentage of Americans who avoid dental work equates to between 30 and 40 million Americans, depending on the year.
- Fearing the dentist is known by many names such as “dental anxiety”, “dental phobia”, “odontophobia” and “dentophobia”.
- Dental phobia is so common that entire online networks and communities have been created.
Dental Anesthesia Can Help Patients
If you fear going to the dentist, there are probably many reasons why. In many studies, people simply don’t like pain they have experienced. Even though a tooth is small, pain that can happen with a single shot or drill can stay with patients for a long time. However, fearing the dentist is not something that needs to happen, and it’s actually a treatable condition that many patients seek help for. In the past, there simply wasn’t technology and medicine like there is now.
Many dental procedures produced pain and fearing the dentist was a tangible thing. However, modern technology provides numerous ways for patients to get their dental work done without being in pain and without even remembering their procedures—if they so desire. Dental anesthesia goes by many names, but the main one it’s known by is “sedation dentistry”. This is dentistry that uses dental anesthesia to help calm patients, and you have several dental anesthesia options.
Light and Heavy Dental Anesthesia
Some people only want a little bit of dental anesthesia to help with anxiety. Ever had laughing gas during a dental procedure? If so, then you’ve had one of our light levels of dental anesthesia. Through a mask, you breathe in nitrous oxide with a bit of anesthesia to help you feel stress-free during your dental care. However, you also have heavier options depending on your level of dental phobia:
- Oral Sedation: This is a medication taken by mouth that relaxes a patient but keeps them awake. This method requires no shots or needles, and many patients are awake but don’t actually remember their dental procedure. You still have a level of consciousness to speak and respond to questions about your care when using oral sedation.
- IV Sedation: If you would like to be put out completely, IV sedation will help you have your entire procedure while you are asleep. This is especially beneficial for patients that need extensive dental work done.
Easing Your Fears
When it comes to dental work, fear of the unknown is also a common reason that people skip getting their biannual exams and cleanings. Patients can’t see what is going on in their mouth, so they expect there to be pain, even if there never will be. This anxiety and fear of the unknown can give dentistry a negative light, even though dental procedures and cleanings are incredibly beneficial to patients. One thing we do at our office is that we offer intraoral cameras. We use these cameras to help patients better visualize and understand the conditions going on in their mouth. If patients can see what is happening with their oral health, they fear less and know what to expect.
If you want to see what we do, ask about our intraoral cameras! Some other tips that the American Dental Association recommends for patients include:
- Talk to your dentist about your fears and past experiences. Let them know what you worry about and what options you have to make your dental experience better.
- Decide on a hand signal with the dentist that lets them know you need a small break during your dental procedure.
- Wear headphones or read a book. Do something that distracts you and that can block out the noise of drills if that bothers you.
- Meditate or count breaths to calm your body. This is especially helpful before dental work begins.
- Choose one of our dental anesthesia options during your appointment.
Visiting the Dentist
We know that dental phobia is something that is very real for up to 15% of patients. We realize this and want to make your dental visit as comfortable as possible. Getting dental work done is no joke, but it can benefit your health so much! We can provide you with the dental anesthesia of your choice that fits your needs and helps your dental experience be pain and fear-free. To learn more about our dental anesthesia and your options, call Niles Family Dentistry today at (720) 744-0001!