For this coming new year, we’re finding that more and more patients are putting their dental care high on the priority list. They come in for routine hygiene cleanings, specialized treatments, or even come to take care of long-term issues like gum disease or tooth loss. But there are also those who are too afraid to make the dental care commitment. Their dental anxiety is preventing them from getting the care that their teeth desperately need. At Dentistry of Nashville our team is highly skilled and experienced in the administration of sedation dentistry. These revolutionary treatments keep a patient calm and collected for their appointment, and ensure that they can have the smile that fits them.
Why Are Some Afraid Of The Dentist?
A single bad experience at the dentist office can often be the catalyst for a patient’s dental fears. However, these fears may manifest differently for everyone. Here are just a few examples of dental anxiety:
- Loss of Control: Some patients feel nervous about sitting still in a chair while the dentist performs work on their teeth.
- Needle Phobia: Needles are often used for local anesthesia and IV sedation. This could also extend into a fear of dental tools, due to their appearance.
- Embarrassment: If a patient’s teeth are in poor health, they may feel too embarrassed to seek treatment or too afraid of being reprimanded for their neglect.
- Sterile Environment: Dental offices are kept sterile for health and safety, but it’s true that it leaves a particular smell. Patients who have had a bad experience before may feel uncomfortable with the smells of a dental office.
- Sights and Sounds: In addition to smell, the sights and sounds of a dental office can also make a patient feel nervous, especially if the root cause was due to bad experience with the tools or drilling sounds of a dental office.
- Pain: Up high on the list is the primal fear of pain, and we understand how some dental visits can leave a patient feeling sore.
Thanks to sedation dentistry, you can overcome these fears and visit the dentist comfortably for the new year. Here’s how!
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is a field of dentistry that caters to the needs of these dental-anxious patients. Sedation is not something to be afraid of, but to be viewed as a tool to help patients feel more comfortable in the dental office.
Sedation Options At Dentistry Of Nashville
- Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is inhaled through the nose for the duration of the patient’s procedure. It’s a continuous stream that helps keep the patient relaxed and calm, and actually wears off fairly quickly once the mask is removed. As a result, patients can often transport themselves to and from their appointment.
- Oral Conscious Sedation: This type of sedation takes the form of a pill and is consumed at a specified time before the patient’s appointment. Once the pill takes effect, patients will feel a deep state of relaxation for the duration of their treatment. Since the wear-off time varies between patients, we recommend that you have a friend or family member transport you to and from your appointment for your safety.
- IV Sedation: Intravenous (IV) sedation is administered through an IV line in your hand or arm. It’s a combination of chemicals that put the patient in a state of “twilight sleep.” You are not rendered unconscious, but rather in a state of deep relaxation where you can still communicate with the dentist. You will also have no memory of the procedure. Due to the time it takes for the sedation to wear off, it’s also important that a friend or family member transport you to and from our office for your safety.
The Importance Of A Dental Appointment This New Year
If you’ve made your New Year’s resolutions this year, have you put dental care near the top of your list? If dental anxiety is what’s barring you from getting the treatment you need, we can’t recommend sedation dentistry enough, even if it’s just for a hygiene cleaning.
It’s so important that you instill good oral care habits, including visiting the dentist every six months. As trained caregivers, dentists intimately understand the balance of your oral health, and can detect when a minor dental issue has the potential to become much worse. The more often you visit, the more you can ensure a healthy smile for the year to come.
Dentists not only clean your teeth, but can detect warning signs of oncoming oral disease, misalignments in your teeth, or even early signs of developing oral cancer. If you think that you may be able to sense these things from home, that would actually be very difficult to perform. These warning signs can appear miniscule – a slight crack, a hint of dark color in your enamel, redness in your gums – but a good dentist knows that these signs can escalate quickly into something detrimental to your health. Through sedation dentistry, you can overcome your fears and anxiety, and get the treatments you need.
If you are due for multiple treatments, it’s possible to complete more than one during a single appointment with sedation dentistry. Talk to our dentists about what your smile needs, and we’ll work with you to craft a treatment plan that involves as few visits as possible.
With sedation dentistry, you will feel calm and relaxed for your entire appointment. With no distractions and no anxiety, our dentists can quickly and efficiently complete treatments in no time.
Let Us Know About Your Anxiety
Our team is trained to administer various methods of sedation dentistry to help our patients. Whether you’re a patient with special needs, or one with dental anxiety, we understand your plight and want to help you maintain a healthy smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming, and learn more about your sedation options.