About 75 percent of adults in the United States have reported that they have some fear of visiting the dentist. Often, this anxiety is at a low level, and once the appointment commences, folks are ready to get the procedure over with. However, there are many people who experience this fear more profoundly. Unfortunately, dental phobia is a real thing, and it affects all kinds of folks differently. Understanding dental phobia and how to manage it can get patients the dental care they need.
When the anxiety about dentistry is enough to have people alter their lives, then that would be considered dental phobia. Roughly five to ten percent of people who report some amount of anxiety is phobic. Because they are phobic of the dentist, their avoidance could lead to more costly issues down the road because folks with dental phobia are less likely to get cleanings and routine procedures necessary for maintaining dental health.
There are a couple of things you can do to cope with dental phobia. The first is seeing a mental health professional. There are several types of therapies that will help you get acclimated and gradually lose the fear of dentistry. If you don’t have the time to work with a mental health professional, then sedation dentistry is a great option.
Sedation dentistry is designed to make patients like you comfortable so that as the procedure is going on, you’re not exactly aware of everything that is happening. This is by design. When you regain full consciousness, all the work is finished, and you can go about your day. Most dental phobic people report great success with sedation dentistry.
Oral Sedation: You will take a pill roughly one hour before you sit in the chair, and this will have you relaxed and drowsy. Some folks fall asleep, but either way, your senses are quite dulled during the procedure
IV Sedation: Instead of taking a pill, you will be hooked up to an IV. The biggest difference here is the IV allows for medication to go directly to the bloodstream, thus increasing relaxation
General Anesthesia: Ideal for patients who have extreme dental phobia and need lots of work
Dental phobia should never stop you from getting the care you need. Call your local sedation dentist to learn more about the options available in the office.