Sedation Dentistry – A Solution to Dental Anxiety and Phobia
Do you feel anxious whenever you have a dental appointment? Does that anxiety morph into outright fear when you know that the appointment includes a procedure that likely involves some level of discomfort? Has this anxiety and/or fear ever led you to avoid scheduling a dental appointment, or even to cancel an upcoming appointment?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you are certainly not alone. In fact, various studies have concluded that between 50-80% of the adult population has experienced some level of dental anxiety. One recent study determined that more than 20% of dentally anxious patients do not get regular checkups and that from 9 to 15% experience such extreme fear that they avoid going to the dentist altogether. This level of fear is called dental phobia and there is even a field of psychiatry focused on it. Whether mildly anxious or dental phobic, primary causes identified include:
- Fear of discomfort
- Previous negative dental experience
- Fear of needles and/or drilling
- Gag reflex concerns
- Apprehension about bad dental news
- Cost of treatment
Your Marco Island Dentist Understands Dental Anxiety
Dr. Jonathan Van Dyke and his team at Island Tower Dentistry in Marco Island, Florida understand the apprehension and fear many people experience when facing dental work. Dr. Van Dyke also knows that such fears can compromise one’s oral health due to avoidance of regular checkups and/or forsaking needed dental procedures. As such, Island Tower Dentistry offers its patients oral conscious sedation to help them relax and enhance their comfort levels during procedures.
Oral conscious sedation relies on medications provided before and during your appointment. It is offered in two different levels depending upon the patient’s anxiety levels, health profile, and type of procedure(s) scheduled. A local anesthetic is also used during most procedures to further diminish potential discomfort.
Minimal sedation involves the use of a simple relaxant, which might include taking a mild sedative prior to the appointment and/or the use of nitrous oxide gas during the procedure. With minimal sedation, patients remain awake but relaxed. The effects of minimal sedation diminish quickly, and patients can typically resume normal activities right after their appointment.
Moderate sedation involves more powerful sedatives that are often administered and regulated by IV injection. Patients also remain conscious during moderate sedation, but may have trouble formulating words and will not recall much of the procedure after its concluded. Patients who undergo moderate sedation are advised to have a designated driver for their ride home.
Other Ways to Manage Your Dental Anxiety
Along with oral conscious sedation, there are some other actions you can take to help reduce your anxiety and/or fear of dental procedures. These include:
- Find a dentist you trust and feel comfortable with. The more at ease you feel with your dentist, the less anxiety you should feel.
- Communicate your fears and anxiety with your dentist and/or their team. They are typically familiar with all forms of dental anxiety, but can’t help you address yours if they are not aware of it.
- Ask about what exactly is going to be done during an impending procedure. The more you know what to expect, the better you might find yourself able to address your fears or anxiety head-on.
- If you have coping mechanisms that you use to handle other sources of anxiety, consider whether they can be used during a dental procedure. This could be as simple as listening to calming music through your earbuds, or squeezing a stress ball.
- Learn and practice mediation, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques. These can go a long way in reducing anxiety.
Learn More at Island Tower Dentistry
If you would like to learn more about oral conscious sedation and how to reduce dental anxiety or phobia, Dr. Jonathan Van Dyke would be glad to talk to you. You can contact Island Tower Dentistry today at 239-394-1004 to make an appointment!