Dental anxiety is a term associated with a feeling of fear, nervousness, worry, uneasiness and restlessness, which one experiences in a dental setting. Dental fear, phobia or anxiety is a serious issue and makes patients quake in their boots to the extent that they learn to live with the agony associated with dental issues. They try to avoid dentists and dental visits at all costs and let minor dental issues convert into complex life-threatening problems.
Dental anxiety is associated with symptoms like excessive sweating, increased palpitations, low blood pressure, fainting, and visible distress. One may experience dental anxiety and fear due to any of the following reasons:
- Fear of experiencing pain makes patients apprehensive about visiting the dentist. This fear may stem from previous dental experiences that were unpleasant and painful.
- Fearing the unknown makes patients anxious and nervous about dental visits. It is the primary reason to incite dental anxiety and fear.
- Sharp dental instruments and syringes make patients alarmed and scared of dental visits. The whine of a dental drill or the sound of a suction tube also triggers dental fear. Patients often end up imagining scenarios about how disastrous a dental procedure can get.
- Feelings of helplessness and losing control while sitting in the dentist's chair makes patients nervous and scared and incites an anxious response. One may also experience embarrassment and loss of personal space.
- In certain patients, fear of getting lectured by the dentist or dental hygienist also leads to dental anxiety and fear.
- Mental health conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, or a previous history of head and neck trauma also lead to a patient experiencing dental anxiety.
What are the services available for patients suffering from dental anxiety and fear?
1. Laser dentistry
Laser dentistry is a modern and innovative technology used for hard and soft tissue applications. It employs lasers to improve the efficiency of dental procedures in terms of time, speed, and precision. Lasers shoot thin and concentrated beams of light to generate a thermal output, which helps in removing, reshaping and altering tissues (both bone and gum tissues) present in the oral cavity.
Dental lasers penetrate the soft gum and bone tissues while sealing exposed blood vessels and nerve endings. This is the main reason why people experience virtually no postoperative pain following laser dentistry procedures. Also, soft tissue lasers allow tissues to heal faster by inducing nerve regeneration. Unlike traditional dental procedures, laser dentistry is minimally invasive, eliminates the need for sutures, minimizes bleeding, and requires a shorter recovery period.
Laser dentistry procedures are safe, comfortable, and minimally invasive. They induce a feeling of security and keep the patients suffering from dental anxiety and fear calm and composed.
2. Sedation dentistry
People suffering from dental anxiety and fear tend to quake in their boots at the thought of visiting the dentist. They prefer enduring the agony associated with dental problems in getting the issues resolved. If you are one of these people, sedation dentistry is for you.
Sedation dentistry uses pharmacological agents or sedatives to relieve patients of their dental anxiety and fear. The sedatives depress the central nervous system's areas concerned with conscious awareness and calm down patients by relaxing them.
Sedatives have various degrees of central nervous system depression, each corresponding to a level of relaxation which ranges from minimal, moderate, to deep relaxation.
1. Inhaled minimal sedation
Patients are made to breathe a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide -also known as laughing gas- through a nasal mask. Nitrous oxide relaxes patients and calms them down before and during dental procedures. After the procedure, the effects of the gas wear away quickly and patients can resume their regular lifestyle immediately.
2. Oral sedation
Oral sedation is given in the form of a pill that a patient consumes just an hour before their dental procedure. The pill makes them drowsy and they lose consciousness.
Oral sedatives are used for minimal to moderate sedation.
3. IV moderate sedation
IV moderate sedation is administered through a vein and works really quickly. This method allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.
4. General anesthesia
General anesthesia is used for deep sedation or to put the patient into a deep sleep during dental procedures. It is administered when patients undergo oral surgeries and other invasive dental procedures.
At Ayoub Dental we employ the practices of modern dentistry to systematically repair damage and enhance the appearance of your smile. We design a custom plan for each patient to meet their individual requirements. For further doubts and queries, book an appointment with us or visit our office today.