Wellington Aurora Dental - Sedation Dentistry


info@wellingtonauroradental.com

300 Wellington Street East, Aurora, ON L4G 1J5 I (905) 727-7043

Sedation Dentistry: The Answer to Dental Phobia

sedation dentistry
There are plenty of reasons to be nervous before visiting the dentist. The trip can involve the fear of handing over control to someone else- just like a fear of flying. Some of us have heard stories of the discomfort and pain of others, or have had bad experiences in the past. There's also the issue of anxiety in clinical situations, which makes even the simplest visit for a cleaning a major problem.

These fears are well founded. No one likes giving up control. Picture it: you're lying prone, with someone you see a few times a year hovering over you; they're wearing strange glasses and a mask; there's a funny-coloured light in your eye; you're in a position where it's hard to speak, let alone express yourself; and Michael Buble is on the radio. Talk about a case for fear.

Peter Milgrom, author of Treating Fearful Dental Patients estimates that between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear. That's a lot of people missing out on dental care because they're scared.

Fear Vs. Phobia

Far from making light of the situation, I want to clarify the difference between fear of the dentist and dental phobia. Those with a fear of the dentist will feel uneasy before appointments. They may exaggerate their worries and let their problems get stuck in their heads.

Dental phobia, on the other hand, is much more serious. It goes beyond anxiety to extreme fear and panic. Symptoms of dental phobia include:
  • Trouble sleeping before an appointment
  • Nervous behaviour in the lead up to treatment
  • Unreasonable reactions (e.g. crying, physical illness) when faced with a dental visit
  • Moments of panic when objects are placed in the mouth during a procedure
The First Step - Be Direct

Knowing that people harbour these fears it's still important that they access proper dental care. Being direct with a dentist is the best bet. It can be intimidating - he or she is the expert, after all - but fearful patients have to assert their needs. Everyone should feel they have the right to ask “What can be done to make me more comfortable?” rather than leaving it to the dentist to decide. Being honest and upfront is the first step.

Patients with anxiety or dental phobia should plan to manage their dental appointments:
  • Ask the dentist to narrate the procedure. For example: “This is what I'm doing next.” “Here's what you're about to feel. Here's how long the feeling will last.” Doing so allows the patient to manage their expectations
  • Push the dentist to establish a comfort level. During a procedure be sure the dentist knows to ask often for permission to continue, particularly at tricky points or when performing new actions
  • Make time for breaks
  • Make sure that the procedure can be stopped at any point
The Next Step - Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry, or sleep dentistry, is the next step in ensuring a comfortable experience for those who can't handle the dentist. Sedation types vary in strength from:
  1. Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
  2. Intravenous Sedation
  3. General Anesthesia
In situations 2 and 3 patients under sedation aren't likely to remember the procedure.

Sedation dentistry techniques can be applied for any procedure, regardless of its extent. This means that it doesn't matter if a patient is having a tooth filled or undergoing a root canal or more extensive surgery, the treatment to keep them comfortable remains the same. Seasoned sedation dentistry patients know the advantage of undergoing several procedures in a single appointment to minimize fear experiences and sedation exposure. This approach is effective with children, where managing difficult experiences early on can help prevent severe dental anxiety or phobia later in life.

Sleep Dentistry Experts

Specialized dental anesthesiologists train for three additional years after dental school to provide sleep dentistry expertise. They work alongside dental professionals to ensure that sedation during dental procedures is as safe as possible.

No Fear. No Shame. Just Sedation.

There should be no fear or shame associated with pushing a dentist to explore options for greater comfort. Sedation dentistry is available at a growing number of family practices, including my own. For more information, please feel free to contact me at drpasha@wellingtonauroradental.com, or over the phone at (905) 727 7043.

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