Solutions to Dental Anxiety
It is not uncommon to feel some degree of anxiety when visiting the dentist, even when you know you have looked after your teeth, and you don’t have any symptoms of disease. Up to one-fifth of Americans actively avoid going to the dentist because they feel anxiety or fear, but for some people, these feelings are amplified. Dental phobia is a condition that can make people feel terrified and panic-stricken, even when they know these feelings aren’t rational.
Unfortunately, people with a severe dental phobia will frequently avoid going to the dentist completely, only visiting when they are in such severe pain they have no other option. People with dental phobias might have trouble sleeping the night before a dental visit, and they may feel increasingly anxious in the waiting room. Some will feel physically ill at the thought of having a dental exam, and especially at the idea of having anything placed in their mouth. The great news is that even people with severe phobias and anxieties can receive dental treatment, comfortably and without fear. If this affects you, Ivory Dental is here to help.
From the moment you pick up the phone to talk to our friendly reception team, you will experience a very different kind of dentistry. We take the time to listen to you, to better understand your concerns and anxieties. Our dentist Dr. Benjamin Hull is hugely experienced in helping people with dental anxiety and talking with you can often determine the reason for your anxiety. Some of the most common causes include fear of injections, fear of pain, or fear of feeling out of control. Whatever the reason, we can help you overcome it. Initially, Dr. Hull will need to examine your mouth, but please remember this is only an examination. Dr. Hull is exceptionally gentle, and you can stop an examination or any subsequent treatment just by raising your hand or even just a finger! If even the thought of a dental exam makes you feel extremely anxious, then dental sedation can help.
There is a considerable range of different sedation options to help you relax and comfortably receive treatment.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
The mildest form of sedation is nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. With laughing gas, you simply wear a small, comfortable mask that fits over your nose. As you breathe, the gas will quickly take effect, helping you to feel much more relaxed in just a few seconds. Laughing gas is an excellent option for anyone who feels mildly anxious, and once the gas is turned off, then it is quickly eliminated from the body so that you will feel back to normal in no time. You don’t even need anyone with you to take you home.
With oral sedation, you will be given a sedative to take shortly before your appointment which will help you feel more deeply relaxed, and you will need someone to take you home. It’s another very practical solution, but for some people, it won’t be quite enough which is why Ivory Dental also uses sleep dentistry, sometimes called intravenous conscious sedation.
Intravenous Conscious Sedation (IV Sedation)
Often IV sedation can be the very best solution for helping people to feel comfortable during treatment. It’s perfect if you haven’t seen the dentist for a while and require extensive treatment to help restore dental health. IV sedation is an excellent choice if you require more complex procedures such as dental implants. It’s also very good for people with special needs, or for anyone who would find it difficult to tolerate a longer dental appointment.
The sedative is administered intravenously, so the medication quickly takes effect. It provides a far deeper level of sedation than oral sedation, and you should feel so relaxed that you are quite sleepy, or you may even fall asleep for the procedure. By the time the sedative wears off, it could feel as if only moments have passed and yet Dr. Hull could have completed quite an extensive amount of treatment. The great thing about IV sedation is that often several phases of treatment can be completed in a single visit. Of course, you don’t need to have lots of procedures to benefit from IV sedation as we can use it just to complete a few fillings.
Is IV Sedation Safe?
We always go to extensive measures to ensure you are as safe as possible during any form of dental treatment and IV conscious sedation is no exception. Before you can have IV conscious sedation, Dr. Hull will need to talk with you, to discuss the procedure, and he will need to know your medical history. We follow stringent protocols to ensure your safety, and the anesthesia is carefully and precisely calculated to provide you with maximum comfort. During your treatment, you will be continually monitored, and once the procedure is over, we keep you with us for a short while. It’s just to make sure you are okay before sending you home with a trusted friend or relative because you won’t be able to drive. Intravenous conscious sedation is a treatment that has already helped many people to enjoy significantly improved dental health, not to mention a nicer smile!
Other Benefits of IV Sedation
One of the significant benefits of having intravenous sedation to restore dental health is that eventually, it can help you overcome your dental fears and anxieties. Hopefully, every positive experience you have with us here at Ivory Dental will make it easier to keep up with a regular regime of dental checkups and cleanings. It’s a great feeling when you can visit the dentist regularly, knowing you have looked after your teeth and gums and that any problems will be minor and easily corrected.
Why It’s Important to Overcome Dental Fears and Anxieties
Thanks to numerous clinical studies, we now know that good dental health is essential for good overall health and that both are intimately connected. By taking care of your oral health, you are helping to protect your general health. As a bonus, you’ll enjoy lower dental bills in the longer term, and potentially lower medical bills.
If you think intravenous sedation might be for you, or you are interested in getting help for overcoming dental anxiety, then please get in touch with us here at Ivory Dental. You can contact us by email or by phone for either our Newport or Sandpoint location.