Sedation Can Help Ease Dental Fear and Anxiety

Practicing good dental hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily can help you maintain excellent oral health. But even then, you might need to visit the dentist for accidents that result in a chipped or broken tooth, or if you suspect that a cavity may have begun expanding in that distant back molar.

Feeling some apprehension after scheduling an appointment is normal, but some people avoid the dentist entirely, no matter what their situation. Dental fear and anxiety manifest in various ways, ranging from stress or trouble sleeping the night before an exam, to feeling or becoming physically ill on the way to the appointment or in the waiting room. Sometimes the feelings cause panic or breathing issues. Roughly 9% to 15% of people in the U.S. avoid visiting the dentist because of anxiety or fear and experience some level of the symptoms described.

Dr. Denes can help you face your fear to seek the care you need with sedation dentistry. Call our Fresno, CA office at 559-297-1800 today to schedule an appointment.

What is Dental Fear?

Dental fear, or phobia (intense and unreasonable fear), results in a person resorting to nearly anything to avoid the dentist, even if he or she has a painful dental issue. Phobia of an activity, mental image, or situation associated with the dentist’s office can keep a person away from the dentist for years, putting off important routine care and even necessary treatments. People who have dental phobia can become panic-stricken or terrified at the thought of visiting the dentist or the procedures involved.

What is Dental Anxiety?

People who have dental anxiety feel uneasy or apprehensive as appointment day approaches. They will often experience unsubstantiated or inflated worries or concerns about the procedure. Some anxious patients will still show up for their appointment, but feel extremely nervous before and during, or might have lost sleep the night prior.

How do Dental Fear and Anxiety Affect People?

People who avoid going to the dentist because of their dental phobia or anxiety have an increased risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Additionally, they might experience emotional tolls related to self-esteem issues from damaged teeth left untreated.

Generally, people with dental phobia suffer from additional health problems and a lower life expectancy. Some studies show that oral health correlates with other health conditions, which include heart disease and lung infections.

Treatment for dental phobia and anxiety exists, in the form of sedation dentistry.

How Does Sedation Dentistry Help Patients?

Dental sedation can lessen the fear and anxiety patients might feel about their dental appointment. After discussing your needs, Dr. Denes will prescribe an oral sedative or suggest nitrous oxide during the procedure. These two forms of dental sedation differ in intake and effect but serve the same purpose of helping you get the dental care that you need.

If using oral sedation, Dr. Denes will prescribe and instruct you on when to take an oral sedative, which is a form of anti-anxiety medication. Patients will need to arrange transportation to and from the dental office.

Patients will inhale nitrous oxide through a nose mask during their procedure, if this is the best option for them as recommended by Dr. Denes. Nitrous oxide affects one’s pain-sensing capabilities and wears off quickly, following removal of the face mask.

Take Control of Your Oral Health and Life

Dr. Denes and team can help you treat your dental phobia or anxiety, so that you can take charge of your dental health. Schedule an appointment at our Fresno, CA dental practice today at 559-297-1294.

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