Afraid of the Dentist? You're Not Alone - Part 2

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In part 2 of this blog, we’ll discuss some ways to deal with the common fears that keep people from going to the Dentist on a regular basis.

  1. Nitrous Oxide- Laughing Gas- This is a form of sedation which is easy and effective. Nitrous Gas mixed with Oxygen is inhaled to create a feeling of relaxation. Nitrous is great because the feeling only lasts while inhaling, so you don’t need anyone to drive you to and from the appointment. Many patients report feelings of “lightness” and “relaxation” to the point where they don’t mind dental treatment. The amount of Nitrous inhaled can be easily adjusted so there’s no need to worry about overdosing. Nitrous is also safe for children since the percentage can be altered.
  2. IV Sedation- This is used for more involved dental procedures such as oral surgery (extraction of wisdom teeth & Implant placement). An IV is placed in the arm to achieve full sedation which certainly makes sense if the procedure is surgical in nature. The effects will last after the procedure, so you will need someone to drive you to and from the appointment. Most general Dentists don’t provide IV sedation because the procedures in general dentistry aren’t surgical. However, some Dentists perform routine dentistry (Crowns, Fillings, Cleanings, etc..) with IV sedation.
  3. Laser Dentistry- For many, the dental phobia stems from the sound of the drill, and as a result, Laser dentistry may be able to alleviate this fear because Lasers are very quiet.  Dental Lasers work by delivering high energy light and are used for surgical and dental procedures. They perform as a dental drill would by cutting through hard or soft tissues in the mouth. Furthermore, other dental problems can be addressed with the laser such as Periodontal Disease and Root Canal Therapy.
  4. Dental Hypnosis- This may seem a little “out there, ” but hypnosis has been used in the dental world to help alleviate fears and phobias. The exact way that hypnosis works is not fully understood by experts. However, it has been described as controlling or quieting the conscious mind. Perception of harm and pain is the problem with dental phobias, and a hypnotist can help achieve a state where the subconscious mind can be accessed. The hypnotherapist will give suggestions while in this state to help you visualize what it is you want to accomplish. Some of the issues addressed with hypnosis can be a strong gag reflex, general dental fear, and habits such as nail biting or teeth grinding. Some dentists have training in hypnotherapy, or you may have to find a hypnotist that specializes in dental phobias.
  5. Fear of the Needle- This is a big one, but it’s not impossible to overcome. Most, if not all, Dentist’s today use Topical Anesthesia before inserting the needle into the tissue. This gel numbs the tissue so that the needle isn’t felt entering the tissue. If left on the tissue for at least two minutes before the injection, patients report that they don’t feel the needle entering. There is also an invention called a “painless injection.” It’s a wand that looks like a pen, and it’s designed to deliver the anesthetic at a slow rate which increases comfort during the injection. Patients report that it’s more comfortable than traditional delivery. The painless injection device isn’t standard, so you’ll have to inquire if your Dentist uses this technology.

So, as you can see, there are many ways to overcome or at least deal with dental phobias. It’s imperative that you don’t wait until you’re in excruciating pain because it’s very difficult to be treated comfortably if the pain is too severe. The first step is making an appointment and discussing your feelings with a Dental professional. You may be surprised at how stress-free an appointment can be.

Afraid of the Dentist? You're Not Alone
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