Manage Dental Anxiety One Step At A Time

  • May 15, 2016

Experts estimate that as much as 20 percent of the U.S. population avoids going to the dentist as a result of dental fear.

Another segment of the population only goes to the dentist in the event of a dental emergency. Our staff at Beaumont Family Dentistry is ready and willing to treat you or someone you love in an emergency, but we would rather help you before any oral health issue gets to that point.

We want to help you learn to manage your dental anxiety. One of the ways you can do that is through sedation dentistry, which we offer at all three of our dentist offices in Lexington, KY.

The Source Of Your Dental Anxiety

Fear of the dentist, also known as odontophobia, is one of the most common fears in the United States. If you share this fear, you have a lot of company, and that’s OK.

You may not believe this, but some dentists are afraid of going to the dentist, too.

To learn how to manage your dental anxiety, it’s a good idea to understand the source of your anxiety. 

You’ll notice that we aren’t suggesting that you overcome your fear. In the long term, this may be something you can achieve. In our experience, we have seen that many people are able to return to the dentist office if they learn ways to manage their anxiety.

If you take it one step at a time, our staff will be here to support you each step of the journey.

So, let’s get back to the start. Consider your answers to these questions:

  • Did you have a bad experience with a previous dentist?
  • Are you bothered by the sound of a drill or other dental tools?
  • Are you worried that dental care will be painful?
  • Are you concerned that you may gag during your treatment?
  • Are you worried that the dentist will be critical of the condition of your teeth?
  • Are you afraid of giving up control while you are in the dentist’s chair?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, we encourage you to share this information with us. We want to understand what causes you anxiety. This way we can find ways to help you feel more comfortable.

Remember, we are here to help you.

Sedation Dentistry

Dental sedation has been practiced for more than 150 years, and it has helped many people receive pain-free dental care.

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) was one of the earliest forms of dental sedation. Doctors and dentists became aware of its analgesic and amnesic effects. In other words, inhaling nitrous oxide can prevent you from feeling pain and may keep you from remembering your procedure.

This is considered the mildest form of sedation that we offer in our Lexington dentist offices. Even so, it can help you relax, relieve your tension, and prevent you from gagging during any procedure.

Some people want to be assured that they will not feel any pain nor will they recall their treatment. For you, we offer oral conscious sedation. The effects are stronger and longer-lasting than what you will experience with nitrous oxide.

Patients who undergo oral conscious sedation take a pill before their treatment begins. We should note that you must have a family member or friend drive you to and from your procedure if you elect to receive this form of sedation.

The medication will leave you feeling sleepy or drowsy. The effects will last for hours, and you should plan on resting at home after your treatment is finished.

Our Hamburg office also offers IV sedation. This can be used for longer, more complex procedures or for patients with high dental anxiety. As with oral conscious sedation, you will need someone to drive you home, and you should rest when you get home.

Other Comfort Options

If one of your fears is losing control, then sedation dentistry may not be the best approach for you. In your case, we will recommend our comfort options.

Professional arm and hand massages can help you relax. Blankets and pillows can help you feel cozier. We have headphones so you can listen to music to distract yourself from the sounds of dental care.

And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask us at any time. Understanding what we are doing and why we are doing it can help you feel more comfortable receiving treatment.

We welcome you to contact the Beaumont Family Dentistry office closest to you. We have three locations in Lexington. Call or fill out our online form to learn more.

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