Does the notion of visiting the dentist bring on thoughts of worry or feelings of anxiety? Have you been pushing off your next dental check-up due to fear of what’s to come? If you suffer from dentophobia or an intense fear of visiting the dentist, then know that you are not alone. It is estimated that over 60 percent of people suffer from some amount of fear with regard to visiting a dentist. Fears may arise early in adolescence from a negative personal experience, or some may develop later in life from hearing about someone else’s experience. Either way, fear of the dentist is a normal fear to have, but the fact remains that your teeth should receive a consistent cleaning, as well as an expert’s view from time to time.
There are multiple courses of action that can be taken when overcoming, or simply dealing with dental anxiety. Working with psychologists can help ease the fear of those who suffer, such as introducing skills and tools that help them manage and combat the phobia, to simply praising them after a check-up. In cases where therapy is not readily available, some dentists, including Dr. Maestri, offer sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry is used by dentists to help patients relax during certain dental procedures.
Dr. Maestri offers three primary methods of sedation dentistry:
- Nitrous Oxide: Commonly referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative that is inhaled through a small mask that fits comfortably over your nose. Nitrous oxide is not intended to make you fall asleep, rather it is used to make you feel calmer and more comfortable than if you were fully alert. As soon as the mask is removed, the effects of nitrous oxide will start to wear off and within 5 minutes, you’ll return completely back to normal.
- Oral Sedation: Another safe alternative for patients is through the use of oral sedation, which involves taking a pill about 1-2 hours before your dental appointment. The medication usually involves an anti-anxiety pill, such as Valium or Halcion. Oral sedation is just as safe as nitrous oxide, but unlike the laughing gas, the effects of oral sedation last longer (typically between 2-8 hours after the procedure). As with all medication, people respond differently to certain medications, so the experience will vary. It’s best to consult your local dentist before performing any self-induced sedation methods.
- Nitrous Oxide with Oral Sedation: For those who have an extreme fear of the dentist, have a potentially painful area when it comes to their teeth, or those who have a lengthy procedure, we can offer a deeper level of relaxation by combining both nitrous oxide and oral sedation.
If you are wrestling with your fear of the dentist and your desire for a professional dental cleaning, then there is an option for you, guaranteed. Your dentist can give you his or her best recommendation when it comes to sedation dentistry and help ease any worries that accompany your fear of the dentist. Although fear of the dentist is common, our goal is to make sure you feel safe, secure, and comfortable the second you walk through our doors. At Maestri Family Dental, we have televisions in every room, a Keurig machine to enjoy a hot beverage, and our personal favorite, neck pillows and blankets per request. If fear has been holding you back from visiting the dentist for a cleaning, then please reach out to us so that we can help make your experience as easy as possible. We are proud to offer sedation dentistry so that each and every person can feel confident and proud of their beautiful set of teeth.