Dental phobia, the fear of visiting the dentist, is a real problem for many individuals. In fact, statistics show that as high as 15% of the population experiences some level of fear and/or anxiety associated with going to the dentist. In some cases, there is a specific component of that fear or anxiety such as a fear of needles, a fear of pain, a fear of not getting numb, etc. In other cases, it is just a generalized fear or anxiety about the whole experience. The level of fear and/or anxiety associated with visiting the dentist and the associated symptoms can also vary widely. Some individuals have a mild dental phobia and experience mild symptoms such as sweaty palms and a quickened heart rate. Others experience full on panic attacks that can be dangerous to their health. Whether your fear and anxiety go back to a bad childhood experience or simply cannot be explained with logic, there are options out there to help you conquer your dental fears.
If you have dental phobia, the first step is to talk to your dentist about your specific fears and anxieties. He or she may be able to provide special accommodations to help you through your dental visits. This may include headphones with soothing music or television, an intra-oral camera to explain the procedure as it is being performed, a warm blanket, etc. If your symptoms are more severe and make it difficult for you to receive needed dental treatment, or if you are simply looking for a more pleasant dental experience, you may want to talk to your dentist about Sedation Dentistry using Nitrous Oxide gas. Nitrous Oxide is an inhaled gas that is often referred to as “laughing gas.” This nickname is due to the euphoria that is produced by inhaling this gas that is used in dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects. Nitrous Oxide is ideal for the use in dentistry due to its rapid onset of action and mild side effect profile. Since the effects of the gas go quickly away once the administration is stopped, you can drive home after receiving this type of anesthetic.
Don’t let dental phobia keep you from getting the dental care you need. This will only lead to more serious dental problems requiring more dental procedures. Instead, talk to your dentist today about how you can break the cycle and conquer your dental fears!