Dental procedures can be stressful and cause anxiety. Approximately 36% of the US population experience dental anxiety. Fear of the dentist can prevent you from getting the care you need, causing poor oral health, which may require more extensive treatment.
Sedation dentistry helps alleviate your anxiety and helps you feel more comfortable during your dental procedure. Sedation dentistry is sometimes necessary with more invasive or involved dental procedures, especially if you have extreme dental anxiety or a heightened gag reflex.
Discover how sedation dentistry can help ease your anxiety and which sedation options are available at Valley Dental Care.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety is a phenomenon that ranges from mild discomfort to intense phobia. A 2014 systematic review suggests there are several primary causes of dental anxiety, including:
- Past traumatic experiences
- Inherited personality traits (endogenous factor)
- Bias from the media or other individuals (vicarious learning)
- Trust issues
- Anxiety disorder
- Fear of needles
- The embarrassment of how their teeth look
Signs of Dental Anxiety
If you suffer from dental anxiety, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms leading up to your dental appointment.
- Insomnia or restless sleep
- Physical illness and/or crying at the thought of being in the dentist’s office
- Anxiety that may escalate to panic inside the dentist’s waiting room
- High heart rate or palpitations
- Low blood pressure (which may cause fainting)
- Excessive sweating
- Feelings of pressure in the chest or throat
- Digestive distress
What to Do to Reduce Your Dental Anxiety
In addition to requesting sedation dentistry, there are several simple things you can do to manage dental anxiety, including:
- Bring a loved one for moral support
- Talk to your dentist about your anxiety and share your concerns. They can explain your treatment in-depth to help alleviate some of your fears
- Practice abdominal deep breathing techniques or meditation before and during your dental appointment
- Put on your earphones and play some tunes or watch your favorite streaming service to distract you from the sound of the dental tools
Sedation Dentistry: Your Options
Sedation dentistry, also called conscious sedation, is different from general anesthesia. You’ll be able to respond to verbal commands and have complete control over your breathing.
- IV sedation: Recommended for severe cases of anxiety and/or complex or invasive procedures. IV sedation is when you receive an intravenous injection of an anti-anxiety drug.
- Oral sedation: May be prescribed if you have low blood pressure. The pill’s effect will start from 30 to 60 minutes after ingesting it (depending on how fast your metabolism is).
- Laughing gas: Administered via a face mask, the gas (nitrous dioxide) induces a state of relaxed euphoria once inside the airways.
Protect Your Oral Health at Valley Dental Care
Don’t allow dental anxiety to be an obstacle when it comes to your oral health. Call Valley Dental Care to book an appointment and one of our two locations in Oswego (630) 551-7000 and Aurora (630) 892-2193 and discuss your dental anxiety with our dental team.