Dental anxiety is a specific form of stress associated with any thought of going to the dentist, having a dentist check your teeth, or any thought of pain or discomfort during treatment. This form of anxiety can lead to panic attacks and dental phobias, and for many people, the fear can present itself so great that it causes people to avoid heading to the dentist at any cost, including their dental health.
As dentists, our goals aren’t just about treating teeth – they’re also about relieving patients of their dental anxieties and teaching them the importance of dental treatment. Proper dental treatments are performed correctly and humanely, and one of the easiest ways for dentists to help patients recover from their anxieties is with sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry can help relieve stress by giving you the relaxation you need for your treatment without any signs of discomfort or fear. Here’s what we understand about dental phobias, and how sedation dentistry can help.
Why Do People Have Dental Anxiety?
The causes of dental anxiety are complex, just as complex as a person is. Most of the time, dental anxieties result from traumatic or negative experiences with previous dentists, and often can connect to other feelings, such as the fear of lacking control and the fear of pain associated with the teeth. Dental anxiety often appears similar to anxiety, but with a specific focus, and showcase symptoms such as:
- Potential feelings of panic, which include fast heart rates, lightheadedness, shallow breathing, and shaking
- Persistent, negative thought about dental treatment. These negative thoughts are also connected with fears and scenarios connected to the idea of dental treatment.
- Avoiding the dentist until a dental emergency is needed. Often, people with dental anxiety will find ways of avoiding the dentists as an action from their anxiety.
- Trouble sleeping before an appointment. Anxiety and sleep often interconnect and clash, and for those with dental anxiety, a lack of sleep is one of the earliest symptoms associated with this condition.
How Sedation Dentistry Can Help
Sedation dentistry focuses using safe and effective methods for putting patients in a calm, relaxed state. Sedation dentistry can use multiple methods for this purpose including nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral sedation to help put the patient in a relaxed state. This relaxed state won’t put a person unconscious, but will allow them to be aware enough to be present for the appointment, or be put into a gentle sleep for treatment.
Sedation dentistry can be combined with multiple types of treatment, and can help patients connect with their dentists more about their concerns and fears surrounding their dental treatment. For those who suffer from dental anxiety, deciding which type of sedation works best can help you and your dentist find the right solution for helping treat the anxiety for dental treatment.
For more information about sedation dentistry, dental anxiety, and treatments for gums and implants, contact Perio & Implant at Washington Metro, located in Rockville, MD and operated by Dr. Jean Li, to schedule an appointment.