Are you afraid to go to the dentist? Even if you are not afraid, it may not be your favorite thing on your to-do-list. Dental phobia or anxiety is real, and it can cause debilitating fear. What’s worse, these fears cause delay for oral disease treatment which then can lead to pain. This fear is actually very common and has been estimated to effect 30 to 40 million people in the US.
Naturally, no one wants to feel pain, and this is the number one fear that patients predict, “It’s going to hurt!” The mouth is sensitive and in many cases patients are in a lot of pain before seeking treatment. It is important to tell us that you feel anxious or afraid so that we can better cater to your needs. We want to give you options.
Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as ”laughing gas” is an effective and safe method to increase relaxation. Once the procedure is over, simply breathing oxygen flushes the nitrous out of the system and one will feel back to normal as well as able to drive.
Many people have had a bad experience as a child. These feelings of fear can follow a patient into adulthood. As an adult one may feel they should be able to cope and ‘get over’ the trauma of a past experience. However, psychologically this may not be possible without some help. Minimal sedation, or anxiolysis, allows patients to follow instructions during procedures. Although cognitive and physical impairments occur, airway reflexes are not affected. This type of sedation does require someone to drive the patient to and from the appointment. Nitrous oxide does not have to be used for the entire appointment, some people opt to just use it to relax at the beginning of the appointment.
Feelings of helplessness or feeling out of control during dental appointments may be similar to claustrophobia. If this is the case, let the team know this, and we can allow extra time for breaks. Simply raising a hand during the procedure will let us know a break is needed.
Embarrassment of one’s oral state should never be a reason to put off treatment. This is a very common reason patients apologize for not coming in earlier. We find that the hardest appointment to make is the first appointment. At Martin Dentistry, our team will never judge nor will we dismiss your feelings. We will be happy that you chose our experienced team to aid in your oral health.
Always feel free to discuss anxieties with our team. Many times just talking through your concerns and situation can be enough to alleviate anxiety. Communication is key for us to provide your best treatment. The Martin Dentistry Team‘s goal is treat our patients like friends. We thank you for entrusting us with your care and concerns.
The Martin Dentistry Team