Taking the Fear Out of Visiting the Dentist
Sedation Dentistry: Managing Dental Anxiety
In an article published by the Dental Research Journal report, it was discovered that 80% of Americans experience some level of a dental phobia. Whether it’s due to negative past experiences, embarrassment, or fear of dental instruments, most of us have experienced some level of a dental phobia. While it may be understandable to avoid the dentist, we believe that oral health is not something that should be overlooked and dental visits are a vital component to proper oral hygiene. Because of the prevalence of dental phobia, our caring Lincoln, NE dentists have taken special care to offer excellent sedation dentistry in Lincoln to keep patients calm, comfortable, and ultimately healthy.
What Is Sedation Dentistry and How Does It Work?
Sedation dentistry uses medications in the form of a sedation pill for anyone who has a fear of needles, sensitive teeth, strong gag reflex, or general anxiety related to dental work. Our dentists will administer varying levels of Triazolam, a sleeping medication, in the form of a pill before the dental procedure begins. On this medication, patients are put into a relaxed state for the duration of the procedure, while still being able to respond to instruction. Patients typically will not be able to feel pain or remember the procedure but will be slightly conscious throughout the process.
Sedation dentistry pill helps the patient remain calm, but it also helps our dentists perform lengthy procedures in just one visit instead of scheduling multiple appointments, making dental work more convenient for you.
A message from Dr. Kathryn Alderman to patients with a dental phobia:
“Dental phobia is easy for many to balk at, but I understand that it is a very real condition that many patients suffer from.
No matter what the reason is, I am sensitive to a patient’s fears and will take the time to talk with you and help you feel at ease. Unfortunately, many people have let their oral condition deteriorates as a result of their fear or anxiety and wait to come in until they are in pain, or their condition is seemingly at its worst.
Let me and my caring staff take care of you now so that we can help you avoid more serious problems like periodontal (gum) disease, severe pain, tooth loss, or more expensive treatment.
As a modern, technically advanced practice, we have the ability to use many different techniques and methods to make sure you are comfortable and help you overcome your dental phobia!”
Reasons for a dental phobia or dental anxiety:
There is a multitude of reasons to explain dental phobia or anxiety. From the atmosphere or sterile smell to a negative experience in the past that a patient will never forget.
Whatever it may be, there are millions of individuals who suffer from a dental phobia. The following are a few of the more common reasons you may be anxious or fearful about going to the dentist:
Past Negative Experience – One of the most common reasons for dental phobia we see is the patient has had a negative experience in the past that has scarred their perception of dentists. It could have been a painful or traumatic experience where the patient felt pain or a lack of control.
Embarrassment/Fear of Ridicule – When you are fearful of going to the dentist or perhaps are just too busy and time has slipped away, you may be reluctant to make an appointment for fear that you will be judged based on the state of your oral health or ridiculed by the dentist or hygienist about your lack of care/regular visits.We understand how easily life passes you by and will never scold you or make you feel bad about your oral health condition. We are always happy to see patients no matter their condition because once they are in our office, we know they have made the conscientious choice to be seen.
Dental Instruments – You may be fearful of dental instruments or having them placed in your mouth. The mouth is a very personal and sensitive area. Having dental instruments placed in your mouth may cause a claustrophobic feeling or trigger a gag reflex.
Uncaring Dentist or Staff – If you have had an experience with a dentist or his/her staff that was uncaring or unsympathetic to your feelings or needs, this can certainly be the cause of a dental phobia as you likely could have felt unheard amid your fears and discomfort.
Negative Press – People love to talk about negative experiences they’ve had or heard of happening and in this day and age people “Google” or “YouTube” everything! If you have never seen a dentist or it has been a long time, your phobia could very well come from fear of the unknown or negative press from the TV, radio, or what you have heard from friends and family.
Whether you identify with one of the reasons above, a combination, or have a dental phobia for another reason not listed, there is something that can be done to help you! Below are some things that we can do for you as well as what you can do to help ease your anxiety:
Communication – Please let me and my team know what your concerns are. I will listen to your fears and help to put you at ease. Sometimes simply talking about your anxiety can be the first step to relieving some of your fear. We will lend a sympathetic ear, and neither my team nor I will ever belittle your fears or make you feel silly for your dental phobia.
Procedure Explanation – Many dental procedures can sound or appear scary simply because you do not know what they are or what all they entail. I will explain procedures in nondental language that is easy for you to understand and allow time for you to ask questions before we begin treatment.I am always happy to explain the steps of a procedure through the course of treatment so that you feel comfortable and in the know.
Express Your Feelings or Embarrassment – If you are embarrassed by your oral condition, please let me and my team know. I can guarantee that in my years of practice, I will have probably seen teeth in a worse state. Regardless of your oral condition, my team and I recognize that you have taken the right step by visiting our office.
Relaxation and Distraction Techniques – I will use different relaxation and distraction techniques to help you throughout your time in our office. We work to make the office smell less clinical and have pillows and blankets available for your comfort during treatment. Music and television or a movie are available as well as headphones to help block out dental noises.
Sedation dentistry– I may offer this option for patients with dental anxiety, fear of needles or even patients with a strong gag reflex.
Injection Technique – I will start off applying a topical anesthetic gel that will help numb the area where the injection will be given. The anesthetic will then be administered very slowly to help relieve pressure typically associated with injections. I will walk you through the anesthetic process, ensuring you are comfortable every step of the way.
Our team of dedicated professionals has a caring, gentle touch that makes taking care of nervous patients come easily. We pride ourselves on helping you to feel comfortable and gain more and more confidence with each visit to our office. No matter the reason for your dental phobia, I assure you that my team and I will take great care of you, addressing your concerns every step of the way. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about dental sedation, so give us a call today at (402) 423-3333 or make an appointment online.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Dr. Kathryn Alderman