A Calm, Soothing Dental Appointment

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Brighter Teeth for a Brighter Mood
February 22, 2021

A Calm, Soothing Dental Appointment

Using Sedation Dentistry to Calm Patient Fears and Combat Dental Anxiety

Proper dental care is essential for patients to enjoy good oral health and beautiful smiles. But for many patients, getting this care is harder than it seems – and it’s not because of busy schedules or financial issues. Instead, a strong fear of dentists and dental procedures stands in these patients’ way. This fear is called dental anxiety or dental phobia.

At Lake Hill Dental Care, we understand that many patients suffer from this form of anxiety, and we’re dedicated to helping them get care through sedation dentistry. To help patients get started, we put together this brief primer. Keep reading to learn more about dental anxiety, what causes it, how sedation dentistry can help – and how to determine if you might be a candidate for this type of dentistry.

What is dental anxiety?

In the simplest of terms, dental anxiety is fear or anxiousness surrounding dental appointments. Sometimes this anxiety is mild – a feeling of nervousness or butterflies when at the dentist’s office or when it comes time to make a new appointment. But too often, this anxiety is debilitating. Patients with dental anxiety may put off or even forgo necessary dental care because they’re too fearful of going to the dentist.

What can cause dental anxiety?

The causes of dental anxiety are unique and varied as the patients who suffer from it. That being said, patients with dental anxiety can often trace their fears back to one or more of these common threads:

  • Fear of losing control: Being in the dentist’s chair means giving up control of part of your body to someone else. For many people, this can be nerve-wracking.
  • Fear of the unknown: If you have never undergone a particular dental procedure before, you might not know what to expect or how to react. For many people, this can lead to fear and avoidance.
  • Past negative experiences: It’s unfortunately true that many people have had bad experiences at the dentist. Maybe they weren’t properly numbed during a prior procedure, or maybe dental staff didn’t always treat them with respect and kindness. People who have gone through experiences like this are understandably hesitant to commit to future dental work.
  • Sensory-based fears: The whirr of the drill, a burning or chemical smell – these are often unpleasant sensations, and the unpleasantness is heightened when they’re happening near a patient’s mouth. It’s easy to see why patients would prefer to avoid the dentist than have to face these experiences.
  • Fear of pain: This is a huge driving cause of dental anxiety. Whether past dental experiences were painful or a patient has heard horror stories from friends and family, many with anxiety will avoid the dentist altogether rather than risk the pain.

How can sedation dentistry help?

For many patients, sedation dentistry is the easiest way to combat dental anxiety and get the dental work they need to enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile. Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to help patients relax during procedures. There are many options available, including everything from nitrous oxide sedation (a patient breathes in a mix of gases that helps them to relax during the procedure) to general anesthesia (the patient is completely unconscious during the procedure). Patients and dentists work together to determine which form of sedation is best for the patient’s needs.

Patients who are sedated during their procedure are relaxed and comfortable. They don’t have to worry about controlling their gag reflex or unpleasant sensations. Pain is numbed, and even the most persistent anxiety is often soothed. Plus, sedation dentistry can often save time, as it allows dental work to be completed with fewer appointments. Even patients who don’t generally suffer from dental anxiety can benefit from sedation for complex or lengthy procedures.

How can you tell if you’re a candidate?

The easiest way to know if you’re a candidate for sedation dentistry is to talk to a dentist! Here at Lake Hill Dental Care, we routinely offer sedation dentistry to patients from Burnt Hills, NY; Clifton Park, NY; East Glenville, NY; and the surrounding area. We go over all the options and the pros and cons before we ask our patients to commit to any treatment. Depending on your general state of health, we may also ask you to consult with your physician before we recommend sedation dentistry.

If you’re looking for an easier, less anxiety-provoking way to get the dental care you need, sedation dentistry may very well be the answer for you. Talk to Dr. Denning and Dr. Johnstone to learn more and see if you’re a candidate. Fill out the form on this page for a complimentary consultation!

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