Did you know that as many as 75% of the population has some degree of dental fear? If you are anxious about going to the dentist, you’re in good company. It is a very real fear, one that we understand and sympathize with, and will work to help you overcome.
Why are people afraid of the dentist? Chances are good you’ve never thought a lot about this–you just know you don’t want to sit in that chair. Chances are also good that your dental anxiety has an obvious cause–an unpleasant or painful experience when you were younger.
We do not dismiss your fears as unfounded, and won’t make any attempt to convince you it is “all in your head.” We’ll find compassionate, effective ways to help you get the dental care you need in as calm and non-stressful an environment as possible.
Dental Sedation Options
In most cases, a local anesthetic like Novocain works perfectly to make patient’s numb enough to receive pain-free treatment. But if you are an anxious patient, Novocain alone may not work, no matter how many injections are administered. Pain and fear are a potent and complex combination, and underlying anxiety must be addressed for the Novocain injections to be effective.
In cases like these, we use nitrous oxide (N2O), which is also known as laughing gas. In nearly all instances, novocain administered after a dose of nitrous oxide works beautifully to numb the tooth that needs treatment. Another convenient characteristic of nitrous oxide is that it is rapidly cleared from the body, so you can drive yourself home or back to work after your appointment with no lingering effects.
If you are a very anxious patient, we can offer you what is called “conscious sedation”. We give you an oral sedative–usually Atavan or Halcion–before treatment. These medications do not fully sedate you, but you will remember little if any of the treatment. If you receive conscious sedation, you will have to make sure you have someone who can drive you home after your treatment. Some patients do experience mild side effects such as nausea, but that is infrequent.
Sedation is an especially good choice for fearful dental patients who also have risky medical conditions exacerbated by stress.