Dental Fears, Phobias and Anxieties

Dental fears, phobias and anxieties associated with dental procedures performed as recent as a generation ago were justified. The modern practice of dentistry has come a long way since our ancestors endured marathon sessions of foot peddle driven dentistry. In the past, going to the dentist was notorious for being a painful experience.

BUT, it no longer has to be that way!

How has it become less stressful visiting the dentist?

1. Technology has made great strides in modern dentistry. Because material and equipment is state of the art, procedures are able to be done much quicker keeping time spent in the dental chair to a minimum. Shorter visits have a way of helping relieve dental fear.

2. Modern dentists receive state-of-the art training. Because of this fact, procedures flow smoother and workmanship is of a higher quality. 3. Very few modern dentists work without the help of auxilliary staff. The presence of highly trained dental staff to support the patient and the procedure create a much more positive experience for the patient. Having a highly trained and organized dental assistant chairside allows procedures to flow much more smoothly, thereby, helping to minimize dental fears, phobias and anxieties. 4. Modern dentistry offers several methods of sedation to increase comfort during procedures.

What methods of sedation are available to assist with dental anxiety control?

1. Oral Sedation-Pills such as, Valium, and Xanax are available when appropriately directed to ease dental fears and anxiety. These are generally ingested approximately one hour before the dental appointment. The patient should have a designated driver present, as he will experience sedative effects from the pills. These pills are known to "take the edge off" and make the procedure much more tolerable. 2. Gaseous Sedation--Nitrous Oxide. This gas is administered chairside by the dentist and mildly sedates the patient. With this gas, the effects are generally out of the patient's system within several minutes after the conclusion of the procedure. 3. IV Sedation--This method of sedation leaves the patient in a deeply sedated state but still actually conscious. The patient is not "put under". Usually requires and Anesthesiologist to run the IV procedure. Most general dentists do not offer this option to patients due to expense of sedation and increased length of procedure time. Most individuals do not rquire this method so anesthesiologist are not often scheduled for only one case. Dentists that do offer this sedation for dental phobias will have a certain day in their schedule when only IV cases are run. Once again, a driver is needed to bring the patient home after the visit is concluded. 4. General Sedation---Only utilized under very special circumstances. Only done in hospital setting on mentally challenged patients and hard to manage people with very extensive dental problems. Oral sedatives may also be prescribed in advance of a dental appointment to help relieve apprehension leading up to an appointment. These are most often taking before bedtime to aid in relaxation. They can cause drowsiness and should not be used during the day.

Modern dentistry does not have to be a fear inducing experience that harkens one back to dentistry of yore. Techniques, equipment, medications, training and staff have all improved vastly improved over the previous generation providing the landscape for comfortable dental treatment.