Fear of the dentist is all too common, and many of us in this profession learn not to take it personally. However, dental anxiety can have some serious repercussions.
According to studies, between 50 and 80% of US adults have some form of dental anxiety. Around 20% of them do not see the dentist regularly because of it, and it’s estimated that between 9 to 15% of people will avoid dental care altogether.
These numbers are extremely concerning because we know that even with great at-home care, good dental health still requires preventative treatment, and waiting until you cannot withstand the pain and discomfort puts people at risk of severe dental health complications.
If you struggle with dental anxiety and have not been getting treated because of it, know that you may have a solution to ease your fear: sedation dentistry.
How Sedation Dentistry Can Help
Many people believe that sedation is only necessary for lengthy or complicated procedures where you need to be "put to sleep," but this is not actually the case.
Patients can receive sedation even for simple and routine treatments if they suffer from dental anxiety or another disorder that makes it difficult for them to lay still throughout the procedure. In the case of dental anxiety, sedation can help:
- Make you feel more calm and relaxed;
- Help you stay still throughout your procedure;
- Reduce your reaction to certain stressors, such as the sound of the drill.
The Types of Sedation Available
Another common misconception about sedation is that it puts you to sleep. While there is some truth to it, it depends on the type of sedation used:
- Laughing gas (nitrous oxide) - Makes you calm and relaxed, but you will remain awake during the procedure;
- Oral conscious sedation - Involves taking some pills before the procedure to calm you. You may fall asleep because of the feeling of relaxation, but it’s not a general rule;
- IV sedation - Sedation medicine is administered through an IV throughout the procedure. Like with oral conscious sedation, some patients become so relaxed they fall asleep;
- General anesthesia - This does put you to sleep, but it’s only necessary for extremely lengthy or complex oral procedures
The type of sedation you will need generally depends on your medical history, as well as the type of treatment you require. Your dentist will make their recommendations only after consulting with you to ensure you get the best possible option.
How Tuttle Family Dentistry Can Help
At Tuttle Family Dentistry, we help the entire family get over their fear of the dentist with expert services delivered with a caring touch. Our sedation options can be exactly what you need to access your most needed dental treatment, and we can assist you in making the right choice in sedation.
To get started, please book your first consultation at Tuttle Family Dentistry today.