portale post Say Goodbye to Dental Anxiety
S ummer is the season for looking your best! It’s the season for rejuvenating your body and mind, and we’re here to help you get the most out of the warmest months. Going to the dentist causes anxiety for many people. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans report being afraid of going to the dentist. That’s about 100 million people. During my four-decade career as a dentist, I’ve put many patients who have dental anxiety at ease with sedation dentistry. Over the 40-plus years I’ve been practicing dentistry, I’ve seen sedation dentistry come a long way. Today, it is more effective than ever. Countless patients have asked for sedation options, and they say it makes their experience so much better. It puts their anxiety to bed! Nervousness This is the most common type of dental anxiety. It’s a general feeling of anxiousness and apprehension often coupled with shortness of breath and an accelerated heart rate. Patients may also feel a knot in their stomach. Fear A sense of fear often comes from a previous bad experience at the dentist. It’s also related to the fear of losing control and a fear of sudden pain. People who fear the dentist may put off treatment and checkups. Phobia This is the rarest form of anxiety. It’s an extreme fear that can include paralyzing dread, feelings of terror or panic, and uncontrollable physical or emotional reactions. Dental anxiety may make you put off a visit to the dentist, but, luckily, sedation dentistry makes it so you don’t have to! Good dental hygiene is critical not only to the health of your teeth and gums but also to your overall health. Avoiding the dentist due to anxiety can have long-term consequences. An untreated cavity can turn into serious decay, and chronic tooth pain that can be solved in one appointment can last for years. This is where sedation dentistry comes in. If you face any level of anxiety related to a trip to the dentist, there are a few great options that can help. The most common options today include the following treatments: Dental anxiety itself comes in three primary forms:
Nitrous Oxide Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is inhaled through a mask. It makes you feel calm and comfortable. Once your appointment is over, the gas quickly wears off, and you’ll feel normal in a matter of minutes and be able to drive yourself home after the appointment. It’s simple and safe! Oral Sedation To undergo oral sedation, you will take a medication in the form of a pill before your appointment. There are no needles, and you will feel the effects quickly. By the time the appointment starts, you will feel relaxed with virtually no symptoms of anxiety. This form of sedation takes longer to wear off, and, as a result, we highly recommend you bring someone to the appointment who can drive you home. IV Sedation IV sedation works quickly to bring you into a state of deep relaxation. During your appointment, you will stay awake, but time will move quickly and you’ll remember little, if anything, of the procedure. It will take time to wear off, so you will also need someone to drive you home after your appointment. IV sedation has become a popular choice among those who suffer from anxiety because it is so effective.
I’ve helped many people overcome their fear of going to the dentist. If you have been putting off a visit to the dentist, or you have a loved
one who has been avoiding it, let us know! We can chat and figure out what is the best option for your needs. Together, we can make this the summer of overcoming our fears! – Dr. Portale
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