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Fear of the Dentist: Cause & Effect

Posted on April 9, 2018

Fear of going to the dentist is a far more common problem than most people think. Dental anxiety and phobia have been estimated to afflict between 9%-15% of Americans, or roughly 30 to 40 million people. Too many people have come to associate the dentist with unwelcoming environments, painful drills, and large needles.

Letting fear of the dentist lead you to put off necessary dental work is a bad idea in the short and long term. Painful infections and unsightly teeth in the short term become much larger dental issues in the long term, issues that are much more painful and costly to fix. In the past, there was little to be done to help patients alleviate their fears of the dentist. However, thanks to advances in sedation dentistry, your trips to the dentist can be a simple routine without any fear or stress.

At Woodstock General & Implant Dentistry, a team of Board Certified Anesthesiologists can help make your dental work as painless and relaxed as possible.

Sedation dentistry makes use of medication to help patients relax during their dental procedures. It is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” but that’s not really an accurate term. In most cases, you will still be awake.

There are different intensities of relaxation available depending on a patient’s level of anxiety and the type of dental work needed: Anxiolysis/Minimal Sedation, Moderate Conscious Sedation, and IV/Deep Sedation. Patients being treated with Anxiolysis and Minimal Sedation are in a minimally depressed state of consciousness. They are relaxed and able breath on their own and respond to instructions. This is accomplished via the administration of one or more oral mediations given prior to the dental appointment. These medications can be administered with or without the use of supplemental nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Patients who choose conscious Sedation are also in a state of depressed consciousness. They are able to breath on their own and respond to commands but are often left not remembering much of their procedure. This is also accomplished with one or more oral medications with or without the use of nitrous oxide. Those who opt for IV/Deep Sedation are given different medications administered intravenously. These patients on the edge of consciousness but can still breath independently and still respond to instruction. Patients may also opt for General Anesthesia, in which they are completely unconscious and under the care of one of our Board Certified Anesthesiologists.

Anxiolysis and sedation options allow you to have your dental work done without having fear get in the way of you meeting your goals. This proven technique can also allow you to get many procedures done in as little as one visit, saving you time and money.

Do you feel sedation dentistry could help you during your next dental procedure? We would be happy to discuss your unique circumstances with you to determine the best path for you. Don’t let fear of going to the dentist interfere with your desire to have a happy and healthy smile. If you feel anxiety in the dentist’s office, have sensitive teeth, a low pain threshold, or any other concerns, request a consultation to discuss the ways we may be able to help you be more comfortable.