If the thought of the dentist chair makes you run for your life, you are not alone. According to Web MD, nearly seventy-five percent of people in the United States suffer from some sort of dental fear, with five to ten percent experiencing extreme dental phobia. With most, it is so intense that dental visits are avoided at all costs, including dental emergencies.
People who are afraid of the dentist avoid dental care out of fear. That fear puts you in the cycle of avoidance because of a dental emergency. If an invasive procedure is required, it will only reinforce the dental fear.
The majority of people claim that their dental fears stem from an earlier difficult, traumatic, or painful experience. Dentists who appear to be uncaring, cold, uninterested, or downright impersonal can also bring up dental fears in people.
Dental fears may develop if traumatic experiences or horror stories are heard from other people, while the mass media may also be to blame. Cartoons and films have tended to show an unfavorable portrayal of dentistry in such films as the Marathon Man, Little Shop of Horrors, and Finding Nemo.
Lack of control is another reason people may fear the dentist. A past experience where the dentist would keep on drilling even when the patient was in pain leads to a lack of control and helplessness. Having a dentist hover over the top of you when you cannot utter a word is another reason people feel a lack of control in the dentist’s chair.
However, these days even those who experience serious dental phobia can be helped with Sedation Dentistry. Sedation Dentistry can be mild, moderate, or deep sedation. These pharmacological techniques range from nitrous oxide to oral sedatives.
Laughing gas or Nitrous Oxide is the most common form of Sedation Dentistry and involves you wearing a mask over your nose that releases gas. Patients describe Nitrous Oxide as a feeling of relaxing. This type of Sedation Dentistry is the only one that allows you to drive yourself home after a dental appointment.
Dentists may also prescribe oral sedatives such as diazepam, alprazolam, Halcion, or temazepam. Taken about an hour before your scheduled appointment, these types of sedatives will help you remain calm and sometimes drowsy during your dental procedure. While you are still conscious, you will not remember much about the appointment.
IV sedation is administered by your dentist directly into your hand or arm and is often called conscious sedation as the patient is still able to breathe without a machine and is responsive to the dentist’s prompts.
If the word dental checkup makes you uncomfortable, schedule an appointment with a dentist who specializes in Sedation Dentistry. After all, the longer you put it off, the more invasive your dental procedures will be.