What’s your greatest fear? For some people, it’s heights. For others, it’s public speaking. There’s a lot to be afraid of (even here in Waterford, MI)!
The Waterford Dentist team can’t help you get over your fear of spiders, but if you’re afraid of going to the dentist, we can definitely do something about that. Does just the idea of seeing the dentist fill you with an intense feeling of dread you can’t shake? If so, you might have dental anxiety. It’s a real problem that goes far beyond just a simple case of nerves. You don’t have to suffer with dental anxiety! We offer sedation dentistry options to help you be comfortable with even the most “involved” dental procedure.
People develop dental anxiety for a lot of reasons; often, the person is overly anxious about the pain they believe they’ll experience even during the most routine procedure; this might be because of a painful dental experience they had when they were younger; then again, the source of the anxiety might even be deeper. It really could be anything! As much as we like to really get to know our patients in our practice, we aren’t psychologists. We can’t speculate as to why you are afraid of the dentist, and we can’t provide treatments that will “cure” you of your fear. What we can do is provide you with the means to control your anxiety well enough to undergo the care you need to maintain good oral health!
The Waterford Dentist has special training in sedation dentistry, and we offer three different kinds of sedation dentistry. Although there are big differences between each method, they do share two important common elements.
One, none of our sedation methods will make you unconscious. We practice a kind of sedation dentistry called conscious sedation. You will be awake and aware for the entire procedure. It would seem like the best thing to do with a patient who has trouble controlling his or her dental anxiety is to conk them out, but if you’re completely under, you can’t communicate with your dentist, and your dentist can’t communicate with you. In the long run, this is better for you: one, if there is a problem (an extremely rare occurrence), communication between the dentist and the patient becomes critical. Second, it might help to permanently reduce your dental anxiety if you are able to understand and observe the procedure while your calm.
Two, for the entire time you’re under sedation, a trained nurse practitioner will be at your side to care for you and see to your comfort and well-being while the dentist focuses on your treatment.
What conscious sedation dentistry will do for you is give you a powerful and profound sense of relaxation. We effectively shut down the “fight or flight” response that would normally get out of control while you’re trying to improve your oral health.
We offer three kinds of sedation in our practice.
For Mild Dental Anxiety: Inhalation Sedation
If your dental anxiety is mild but still impedes your ability to get proper dental care, you might try inhalation sedation. Inhalation sedation is the administration of a gas called nitrous oxide. Sometimes called N20 (one nitrogen atom, to oxygen atoms), but more often referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a form of sedation that has been used by dentists for a long time. Nitrous oxide is colorless, and has a somewhat sweet taste and smell. The gas is mixed with oxygen, travels through tubes, and is given to you through a small mask that only covers your nose (your mouth is uncovered so you can exhale normally as well as allow you to speak with your dentist if you need to). Nitrous oxide will make you feel relaxed in about five minutes, and you’ll be ready for your procedure!
For Mild to Somewhat Severe Dental Anxiety: Oral Sedation
Oral sedation is the most recent development in sedation dentistry. Simply, oral sedation is a powerful sedative in pill form. Your dentist will provide you with the sedative, and about an hour before your appointment, you ingest the pill. The sedative works by slowing down your nervous system so that you remain conscious but relaxed during your procedure.
For Severe Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia: IV Sedation
If you have very severe dental anxiety, or even dental phobia (which affects about 5% to 8% of the US population; the big difference between a person with dental anxiety and a person with dental phobia is that a person with dental anxiety can, with great effort, bring themselves to enter a dentist’s office, whereas a dental phobic person might never make the call for an appointment in the first place), we offer IV sedation.
The “IV” means intravenous. The sedative is sent into your body by way of your bloodstream (just like you’d have with an IV drip at a hospital). The sedative is very powerful (but you will still be conscious) and works very fast. The dentist can control the level of sedative to suit your specific level of comfort.
Dental anxiety is a widespread problem. 60% of adults surveyed reported feelings of extreme fear, terror, and anxiety at just the thought of going to the dentist. Keep in mind that anyone can be nervous about the dentist, but a person who has dental anxiety is so afraid they will avoid dental care until the problem can no longer be ignored. At this point, a problem that could have been fixed with a simple cleaning will now require a more intensive (not to mention costly) procedure.
At The Waterford Dentist, you don’t have anything to fear. Get the dental care you need in a relaxed, caring environment.
Call us today! Dial (248) 674-0495.