If, like most people, you experience some degree of anxiety when it comes time to see your dentist, the following suggestions can help you to relax before and during dental treatment. What’s important is to recognise your anxiety, accept it as a common reaction to an uncertain situation and learn to master it.
There are various reasons why people feel dental anxiety or dental phobia; some of the most common causes include:
Go slow. Dentists are happy to go slow with nervous patients. If possible, make sure your first visit is a simple one, such as a cleaning. This will help you build your relationship with the dentist before going in for a more difficult procedure.
This is the simplest method of treatment for nervous patients. It involves a careful and sympathetic approach from the dentist, with explanations of what is being done and allowing the patient control over the procedure.
Some patients may want to bring a friend along for support. It may also be possible to play relaxing music or to watch a video while having treatment.
This involves the use of oral sedative drugs e.g. diazepam, midazolam, which are taken before treatment. They can also be taken the night before treatment to help you sleep.
The sedative effect of these drugs is unpredictable and can vary between individuals. Because the drugs are taken by mouth it is impossible to quickly increase or decrease the amount sedation.
They are best used for sedation the night before treatment to ensure restful sleep or to produce light sedation during treatment where anxiety levels are low.
While under the effects of the drug, the patient must be accompanied by a responsible adult and refrain from driving and operating machinery.
This involves administering a sedative drug in order to produce a very relaxed state so that treatment can be carried out. The drug also causes short term memory loss so that very little of the treatment can be remembered.
The drug is administered through one of the veins in the arm or hand. The amount of drug given varies between individuals but enough is injected to produce relaxed state within five minutes. Because the drug acts very quickly, more can be given if necessary to increase the feeling of relaxation.
The effects of the drug can last up eight hours after and the patient must be accompanied by a responsible adult and refrain from driving, operating machinery or other responsible activities during this time.
It can be used on most healthy adults but must be avoided in patients with severe lung disease, some heart problems, obesity or in pregnancy. It is also not suitable for children or the elderly.
This type of sedation is very safe as the patient is not unconscious as in general anaesthesia. It works for the vast majority of patients and it is a very effective way of providing dental treatment. It is also very effective in treating patients who gag easily.
This involves giving a mixture of nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’) and oxygen which are inhaled through a rubber face mask. The nitrous oxide reduces anxiety and improves co-operation, without causing unconsciousness.
The effects of the nitrous oxide wears off very quickly and the patient can leave the surgery without the need for an accompanying adult.
This technique can used for most patients but must be avoided in those with colds and other respiratory problems, psychiatric treatment, vitamin B12 deficiency and in pregnancy. This form of sedation is particularly useful for treating anxious children.
General anaesthesia (GA) involves being ‘put to sleep’ in order to provide dental treatment. It is only available in hospitals and specialist centres, and must be administered by a qualified anaesthetist. Because of the slight risks involved with GA, it is only used where there is no other option. The procedure is usually limited to adults who are undergoing complex treatments (e.g. extraction of wisdom teeth) or are not suitable for the other methods of treatment described. It is also used to treat anxious children. Treatment provided under GA is usually limited to extractions and simple fillings.
This involves the use of hypnotherapy to reduce anxiety.
It is very effective in people who are respond well to hypnosis. It may involve one or more preliminary sessions before treatment is attempted. The hypnosis may be done by a hypnotist working with a dentist or by the dentist if he is qualified in hypnotherapy.
This type of treatment is not widely available and can be time consuming and expensive.
This form of treatment is used to treat a whole range of phobias and anxiety disorders. The psychotherapist will initially try and locate the origin of your fears. They will then follow a program of therapy designed to overcome or control your anxiety sufficiently for you to undergo dental treatment.
Acupuncture is a medical treatment which can be used to relieve the symptoms of a variety of physical and psychological conditions including dental anxiety. Each patient’s case is assessed by the practitioner and treatment will be tailored to the individual.
This exercise is intended to give you control over the physical discomfort of anxiety.
Some children have a deep-seated fear of dentists, making dental appointments a traumatizing experience. However, it is important that children have regular dental checkups. There are tips for dealing with children who have dental anxiety or severe dental phobia, including:
You got tooth aches. It’s time to visit the dentist. What is it that you fear? You may have a specific fear , such as needles. But for lot of people, it may be everything. Not to worry, because all these tends to be made up of lots of individual fears. What is Dental Phobia ?
Fear of the dentist: Fear of the dentist is pretty common. Some of them have had bad experience in the dental chair in the past. In general it’s very easy to assume that Dentist’s are bad people. There’s a theory called “CONSTRUCT THEORY” which says that people have tendency to describe certain experiences to a group of people who have certain things in common. But this constructs ( e.g “evil” as opposed to “kind” and “bad” as opposed to “good” and so on ) are based on a very small observations and surveys. So unfortunately if you had horrible experiences in visiting 10 dentist’s and one or two of them were in the downright horrible, this does not mean that all the dentist’s confirm to this pattern.
Dental Phobia 1 Fear of sights, sounds and smell in the dental environment: Sights , sounds and smells are powerful environmental triggers. If you suffer with dental phobias or fears merely evoking the images sounds and smells you associate with dentistry is enough to generate intense feelings of anxiety or even panic
Dental Phobia 2 The Smell: If you think of typical dental surgery smell, then RELAX (its outdated now). But certain smell of some antiseptics are unavoidable. Nowadays its really a phobic friendly environment in the dental clinics. So take into account of the overall atmosphere of the place.
Dental Phobia 3 The sounds: Nowadays dental clinics are not so noisy as they used to be . You must take in mind that when noise is inserted in the mouth it sound much louder than it actually is . It’s the dentists job to introduce all the equipments to you, regarding how they work and what noise they make, If he forgets to tell you about this don’t hesitate to ask them. Sounds are subjective experiences. You all must be aware of the sound of your voice if you cover your ears. Most of them co-relate the sound of the dental equipment to the pain. This is done due to some past experiences which had pain. Whenever the patient hears that sound the pain perception aggravates even though this is physiologically impossible. Still if the sounds bother you , ask the dentist for a Ipod or thing which can divert your attention from the sound. Nowadays in most of the clinics and hospitals a silent background music is played to make the atmosphere phobic friendly.
So no need to worry about sounds henceforth.
Dental Phobia 4 Needle phobia : You are not the one to have needle phobia its merely 10% of people share this fear. Not all dentist’s in the world are good in giving painless injections so to overcome this matter topical anaesthesia is been developed. By applying it the injections are seen cent per cent painless. Ask for it to the dentist and carry on the procedure. Once the injection starts working there is no pain and will find out that dental procedures are not so terrific as you were thinking. There are many different approaches and techniques , often used in combination such as hypnosis, systematic desensitization, deep breathing, visualization, and guided imagery, positive affirmations and reward systems.
Dental Phobia 5 Embarrassed? What dentist really thinks : Most of the people who suffer from dental phobia have long known: that “intense embarrassment due to poor dental status or perceived neglect often with fear of negative social evaluation as chief complaint,” This is extremely common among people suffering from dental phobia. Whatever caused the phobia initially leads to avoidance which in turn means no access to professional dental care, usually resulting in poorer oral health and at some stage the results of this neglect are perceived to be so embarrassing that its totally impossible to see the dentist even when in pain.
So its a humble request, Don’t TORTURE yourself, be upfront about your fears and ask your dentist not to make any comments that you might construe as negative. There’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about other factors which make a sense of shame and embarrassment , so common when it comes to dental fear and phobia may include an emphasis on beauty and perfection in modern western society. It may help to know that from the operators ( that is the dentist’s) perspective, the situation looks very different. They have been trained to help people who are experiencing problems with their teeth and gums. It’s their job to fix these problems.
Phobias and anxiety related to dental procedures aren’t something that only affects children – many adults silently have to deal with the problem too.
Some patients feel so stressed about seeing the dentist that sedation may be a better option. IV (intravenous) sedation has an advantage in that it can be administered in the surgery by an anaesthetist or dentist specially trained in IV sedation. It’s milder than a full anaesthetic, so it generally makes people feel like they just had a short nap for ten minutes.
These options can help you relax in the dental chair, leaving all your worries behind. Sedation dentistry also helps patients gain the motivation needed to visit the dental clinic, especially if they were previously in the habit of deliberately postponing routine check-ups.
There are numerous ways in which IV sedation benefits severely anxious patients. From multiple wisdom teeth extractions to implant surgeries, from root canal treatments to root planning – dentists can perform just about any procedure while the patient peacefully rests in the dentist’s chair!
It is important to understand that how much sleep dentistry will cost depends upon the time required to complete the dental procedure. This gives anaesthesiologists an estimate of how much of the drug needs to be administered, and what method is most suitable for the patient. In Australia, the average cost of IV sedation can range anywhere between $850 and $1600.
In case of sleep dentistry, a professional has to be present at the clinic whose job is to monitor your vitals while the surgeons perform the treatment. This adds to the cost as well. Therefore, one can safely assume that for a short duration procedure, such as simple extraction of an impacted molar, the price will of course be much less as compared to that for multiple root canal procedures.
Sleep dentistry through IV sedation is performed by licensed anaesthesiologists at the dental clinic. This is necessary because when you are sedated, your vitals require constant monitoring. The administration involves the insertion of a tiny needle into a vein located at the back of your hand, or at your inner elbow.
Once the drug is injected into your system, you’ll start feeling light-headed, calm and drowsy. You’ll experience a feeling very similar to when you’re very, very sleepy. This is known as twilight sedation. Twilight sedation is a state in which you’re not neither unconscious, nor fully awake. You will however, be able to follow simple instructions from your dentist during the surgery, but you probably won’t remember any part of it once the effects of the drug start to subside. Your sleep dentistry cost covers the drug administration, as well as all the care you will receive at the clinic during the procedure.
Most dental procedures can be carried out using local anaesthesia or nerve blocks. IV sedation or twilight sedation is an option made available specifically with the needs of severely anxious patients in mind. We understand that there are many people who shudder at the mere thought of visiting a clinic, let alone sitting in a dental chair and getting a procedure done. For such patients, IV sedation is the perfect solution. Often combined with nitrous oxide, this form of sedation
Ensures that the patient will feel calm and comfortable throughout the surgery
Leaves little or no memory of the procedure with the patient once the anaesthesia wears off
Allows patients to calm down and forget all about their anxiety prior to the surgery
Does not leave any unpleasant memories of the treatment with the patient, helping them feel less anxious and more confident for the next time they visit the clinic
The IV Sedation also holds multiple benefits for the dental surgeons, the most prominent of them being the fact that they can perform surgery with no interruptions, and without worrying about the anaesthesia wearing off.
With all the information including sleep dentistry cost and eligibility criteria in mind, once you decide to book an appointment, there are a few things you must keep in mind. Because the recovery period for twilight sedation is much longer than local anaesthesia, you’ll need a family member or friend to accompany you to the clinic on the day of your appointment. They can remain by your side while the effects of the drug wear off, and safely drive you home. There is no need to be concerned about having no memory of the procedure – this is one of the desirable effects of sleep dentistry. It will not alter your short-term or long-term memory in any other way. Rest assured that you are in safe hands, and the sedation method you have opted for is an FDA approved technique for highly effective management of anxious patients!
If you wish to learn more about sleep dentistry cost and procedures, feel free to get in touch with us.