Knowing that you have an appointment with the dentist shouldn’t be a cause for concern, but for some people it can bring a sense of dread and nervousness. Despite progress in the realm of gentle dentistry, it seems that dental phobia is still fairly common.
The NHS claims that one in four of us dread going! While this is understandable, avoidance will lead to further long term detriment of our teeth if not addressed.
For some of us, it may just be nerves; but for others, it can be much worse. The fear of going to the dentist is called dental phobia. For people with this fear, it can be terrifying to visit the dentist, which has negative implications for their dental health. Dental phobia can occur for many reasons: a negative experience when younger, embarrassment about their mouth, a gag reflex or anxiety about being able to breathe. We appreciate how bad the phobia can be having experienced some patients explaining that they feel physically sick with anxiety for days before an appointment with the dentist.
In the long term, this fear can often have a negative effect on oral health, leading to more extensive dental problems. The good news is, there are lots of websites and resources available to help those with a fear of going to the dentist. Dentists these days are much more aware of the issue than they used to be and can now work with patients to help them with their fear.
Dental sedation is just one way that nervous patients can undergo dental treatment and overcome their fear of the dentist. If you’re having treatment, which means you may be in the dental chair for a while, then dental sedation is the perfect way to make you feel more at ease because you know that you won’t experience any pain, physical discomfort or anxiety.
One of the most popular forms of sedation used at the dentist is intravenous sedation. Unlike general anesthetic, which you receive at the hospital before having a major operation, this form of sedation acts differently as it keeps you awake, but in a dream-like state. You are relaxed but still aware of your surroundings, and can answer any questions that the dentist may ask you during treatment.
This option has helped so many people with a fear of the dentist overcome their anxieties. The fact that patients are awake during surgery means that they feel like they are still in control and know what’s going on around them. Intravenous sedation takes effect very quickly and the amount used can be varied, enabling dentists to find the right amount for the specific treatment and patient. The recovery time is also quicker than with general anesthetic; however, you may feel a bit dreamy afterwards, which is why it’s important to have somebody with you to take you home. A useful side effect of the treatment is that it often leaves the patient with an amnesic effect, meaning that they don’t actually remember any of the procedure!
There are also other forms of sedation such as oral and inhalation, so be sure to check out all the information from your dentist to see which forms of sedation your dentist can offer, and which one will work best for you.
Talk to your dentist
If you want to break your fear of the dentist, call and make an appointment but let them know on the phone that you feel nervous, or are dental phobic. This means that when you arrive, the staff and dentist will be aware and can make you feel more at ease during your appointment. Ask them questions about the option of dental sedation and if it can work for you during treatment. Remember that we are there to help you and want you to overcome your fear!