Are You Afraid of the Dentist?

Did you know that there’s an actual term that’s used to describe being afraid of the dentist? It’s called dental anxiety – and it’s a real issue that affects nearly 40 million people each year. The level of fear differs amongst individuals. For some, it means increased heart rate and nausea when attending appointments. For others, it means avoiding the dentist at all costs, even when experiencing severe pain. When fear is so intense that individuals continually skip out on their appointments, this usually means a higher degree of dental anxiety, known as dental phobia is present. At this stage, fear can be debilitating and keep people from receiving the dental care they desperately need.

The reason for dental anxiety is different for each individual, but is often caused by a bad previous dental experience or an unrealistic fear of pain. It can also be triggered by embarrassment over the way your teeth look or simply feeling apprehensive about someone in your personal space. Some who struggle with anxiety in general find that dental anxiety also occurs.

No matter the reason, if you are afraid of the dentist, we can help. To help improve our patients’ dental experience Dr. Denes offers oral sedation at our Fresno, CA practice. To learn more, contact our office today at (559) 297-1294.

How to Know if You Have Dental Anxiety

While the fears, anxieties, and emotions you may be experiencing seem normal, it’s quite possible that you have dental anxiety. Possible signs of dental anxiety or phobia include:

  • You repeatedly cancel dental appointments
  • Seeing someone in a white coat or driving by a dental office causes your heart rate to increase
  • You have trouble sleeping the night before an appointment
  • You have trouble relaxing in the waiting room or dental chair
  • You start to cry or feel physical ill at the thought of the dentist
  • You have a fear of dental instruments
  • You have difficulty breathing when dental instruments are placed inside your mouth

What is Oral Sedation?

Oral sedation is a treatment that involves prescribing you with a sedative, such as Valium or Halcion to help calm your nerves and relax your body. The dose prescribed will depend on the severity of your dental anxiety. For patients with a higher degree of dental anxiety, we will prescribe you with a dose to take the night before your appointment to help you get a good night’s sleep, and then another to take about an hour before the appointment. If you have a light case of anxiety, you will only need to take one dose about 30 minutes to an hour before your appointment.

When oral sedation is taken, patients are able to achieve a sleep-like state. You will not be completely asleep as with general or IV sedation, but you will be unaware of what’s going on around you. However, with oral sedation, you will unknowingly be able to respond to Dr. Denes’ commands. Once sedation wears off, most patients have little to no memory of what happened. By combining oral sedation with your dental experience, you will be able to receive the care you need with a peaceful, tranquil mentality.

Learn More

If you are afraid of the dentist and are interested in learning more about oral sedation and how it can help you overcome your fears – we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Denes today by calling (559) 297-1294.



Leave a Comment