Are you afraid of the dentist? If you’re like 60% of the Americans who suffer from a condition known as dental anxiety, it’s probably been awhile since you last visited your dentist. Your fear is keeping you from getting the care you need; remember, it’s not a matter of if something goes wrong with your teeth and your oral health, it’s a matter of when, and if you’re not seeing your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and examinations, it’s very likely that your oral health isn’t where it needs to be.
In our Edgewood, KY dental practice, we try to create a “fear-free” environment by acknowledging that yes, you are indeed a human being, and not a mouth with a serial number. We steer clear of the “guilt trips” you might get at other dental practices; instead, we take proactive steps to help you achieve your best oral health. This means empowering you with understanding (such as why a certain procedure is needed, or the consequences of not treating a specific issue), as well as sedation dentistry techniques that help you take back your oral health from your fear and live a higher quality of life.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is a growing discipline in the dentistry world that is becoming increasingly popular; sedation dentistry allows patients with dental anxiety to get the care they need, and it also allows patients who need a lot of work to get it taken care of in fewer appointments. Sedation dentistry employs a variety of techniques and pharmaceutical interventions to help induce a profound sense of relaxation in the patient. If you suffer from dental anxiety, this will help you get the care you need by making an “end-run” around your flight-or-fight response, which has been making going to the dentist so intolerable for you (up till now). Sedation doesn’t mean that you’ll be “conked out”; you’ll still be conscious, because it is important that the dentist be able to communicate with you.
Depending on your need and comfort level, we have different sedation methods to help you relax in the dentist’s chair.
Sedation dentistry has been around for a long time, and most people are familiar with the most basic type, called inhalation sedation. Inhalation sedation is the controlled administration of nitrous oxide gas to a patient. Most people know nitrous oxide as laughing gas.
Nitrous oxide is mixed with air, and runs through tubes and into a small “nose mask”; you’ll still be able to breathe through your mouth, and your dentist will monitor your condition and can control the flow of gas (and therefore, its effects) with great precision.
Nitrous oxide is the least intense form of sedation dentistry, and can help you if your dental anxiety is mild.
Oral sedation is the “next level up” of sedation methods available in our practice. Oral sedation is simply a sedative pill, provided by your dentist. You’ll need to take the sedative about an hour before your appointment, and you’ll also need to coordinate transportation to and from our office (the sedative effects can last longer than the appointment; some patients have reported a feeling of grogginess after their visit).
IV sedation is the most powerful sedation option in our practice, and it is ideal for those who suffer from extreme dental anxiety, or even the small number of people who are actually dental phobic. Distinct from dental anxiety in terms of its severity, dental phobia affects about 5% to 8% of the US population (this patient group usually has very poor oral health; people with dental anxiety can eventually make it into the office on their own, but those with dental phobia will not, unless a problem becomes so severe and painful that it cannot be ignored).
“IV” stands for intravenous, and it is very similar to an IV drip that you might get at a hospital. The sedative enters your system directly, via your blood stream. The result is a very strong sense of relaxation, which will enable you to get the care you need (and even the smile enhancements you want).
Do I Have Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety arises in individuals for a range of reasons, from just being an anxious/nervous person to traumas suffered during childhood (perhaps at the hands of a less-than-gentle dentist). Sufferers of dental anxiety can have poor oral health, because they avoid going to the dentist until a problem emerges and becomes so bad it can’t be ignored. This happens after the dental anxiety sufferer has avoided seeing the dentist for basic cleanings and exams that would have prevented the problem entirely, or at least reduced its severity.
If this sounds like you, you will definitely benefit from sedation dentistry!
Don’t Let Fear and Anxiety Destroy Your Teeth!
Dental anxiety itself doesn’t harm your teeth and gums, but it will keep you from taking care of them properly. Unlike much of the rest of your body, you must take proactive steps to maintain your teeth’s good health. If you fail to do so (not just twice daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash), you will at some point develop a serious oral health problem. The question is what that problem will be, and how bad it will be.
Get the care you need! Dial 859-474-7830 to reach our front office, or book your appointment right now, online, by clicking here.