Dental anxiety may be the most common form of anxiety in the world today. Most people don’t like going to the dentist.
That’s why sedation dentistry is more popular today than it’s ever been before. Sedation dentistry suppresses the brain’s responses to pain and stress while still allowing patients to remain conscious. When used in conjunction with local anesthesia, many patients never feel a thing.
Today, I’m going to share the results of a recent study into sedation dentistry – along with tips and tricks you can use to avoid anxiety during your next trip to see Birmingham dentist, Gentry Gonzalez.
Moderate sedation is primarily used to calm anxiety:
A recent study on sedation dentistry was published in the Journal of Endodontics. The study was called “An Analysis of Moderate Sedation Protocols Used in Dental Specialty Programs: A Retrospective Observational Study.”
The study was conducted by a team of professors at the Department of Endodontics at Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine. Here’s what we learned from the study:
-The study involved 84 patients between the ages of 8 and 88 with an average age of 45. All of the patients chose to undergo sedation dentistry.
-63% of the patients were women
-Moderate sedation was primarily used to calm anxiety in more than half (54%) of the patients
-The second most popular reason for choosing sedation dentistry was a fear of needles (15%), followed by fear of local anesthesia failures (15%), severe gag reflex (8%), and claustrophobia from the rubber dam (8%).
-One of the main problems with sedation dentistry is that dentists are not typically trained in its administration in graduate programs. As a result, not all dentists are qualified to administer moderate sedation.
-Nevertheless, more and more of today’s dentists are utilizing sedation dentistry to offer comfortable, effective treatment to a wider range of patients
Tips and tricks to reduce dental anxiety:
Taking a trip to the dentist doesn’t have to be a nightmare! Use these tips and tricks to cure your dental anxiety and make trips to the dentist easier than ever before:
-Ask for topical anesthetics: Dentists will apply topical anesthetics as required. However, patients requiring additional pain relief may request additional topical anesthesia. You may also want to ask for nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas).
-Ask if the dental clinic uses electronically delivered anesthesia: Don’t like needles? Some dental clinics now offer electronically delivered anesthesia. This anesthesia is delivered using adhesive pads pressed against the face. Electrical impulses target the treatment area and numb it in a non-invasive way.
-Distract yourself: As simple as it may seems, sometimes a distraction is all you need. Bring an iPod or headphones for your phone and watch a movie or listen to music. Some dental clinics are even offering virtual reality headsets which do an even better job of distracting patients.
-Practice guided imagery: Guided imagery is the process of concentrating particularly hard on discovering a soothing environment in your head. When done properly, your mind becomes totally absorbed with this task, eliminating any outside stimuli. It’s like meditation, and requires a lot of concentration to work successfully.
-Consider visiting a dentophobia clinic: Dentophobia is such a huge problem that there are dentophobia clinics opening up at cities across America. If your anxiety is extremely severe, then these clinics – staffed by psychologists and dental specialists – may offer the support you need to feel better about your appointment.
Some people experience dental phobia so severe that they can’t sleep the night before an appointment. Whether you experience severe anxiety or you just don’t like needles, the tips listed above will help you overcome your anxiety and get through dental appointments like a pro!