For many men and women, the idea of going to the dentist can strike fear in their hearts. In fact, as many as 20 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to dental anxiety. The idea of sitting in a dentist chair can cause many people’s entire body to be tense with fear, leading to the complete avoidance of going to the dentist unless they have intolerable pain. What many people may not know is that there is a difference between dental anxiety and dental phobia. Today’s modern dental practices know that some patients might need something prior to treatment to calm and relax them, and they are offering different levels of sedation dentistry to help alleviate their anxiety.
Dr. Jeffrey Allred of Allred Dental in San Marcos, CA, is an experienced and highly skilled cosmetic dentist. He has been delivering functional dental and cosmetic solutions to patients in the San Marcos area in order to repair, restore, and enhance their smiles. In an effort to make patients more comfortable in the dental chair, he offers a number of sedation options to help them remain calm during their visit.
If you suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia, identifying the reason behind your fear will allow for an open and honest discussion with Dr. Allred so he can offer solutions to ease your anxiety and while ensuring you are getting the appropriate dental treatment to address your issues.
Dental anxiety vs dental phobia
The words “anxiety” and “phobia” are often thought of to mean the same thing, but in fact, they are quite different. Patients in San Marcos, CA who have dental anxiety typically have a sense of uneasiness when it's time for their dental appointments. On the other hand, patients who have dental phobia are more extreme. They experience a feeling of intense fear or dread. They may feel terrified or panic-stricken at the thought of going to the dentist or undergoing any type of treatment. Patients who have dental phobia will only go to the dentist when forced to.
Common causes of dental anxiety/dental phobia
Many patients may be unaware of exactly where their dental fears are derived. It is important to narrow in on the exact cause so that you can communicate effectively with your dentist. The list below outlines some of the most common dental concerns that contribute to dental anxiety or dental phobia.
Fear of pain
Fear of pain is a very common reason for many people to feel anxious about going to the dentist. Maybe a patient had a prior painful experience at the dentist or heard about another family member or friend’s bad experience. Thanks in part to dental advances, many once thought to be “painful” procedures, are now significantly less painful or even pain-free.
A good dental team will discuss what to expect before any injections or procedures. This dialogue helps to eliminate the fear of the unknown. Most often, most patients feel a slight pinch or sting, but the feeling quickly wears off, and a numbed mouth allows for pain-free treatment.
Loss of control
Many patients in San Marcos are unsure of what is happening during treatments, and it is common for their minds to wonder. But sedation options along with excellent communication go a long way to reduce anxiety. With sedation, you will be able to sit back in the chair and relax and not worry about the hands in your mouth and what they are doing.
Maybe you feel like your teeth are not as white as they should be, or your breath does not smell like roses. There’s no need to feel embarrassed or self-conscious about what is happening in your mouth. Our dental team at Allred Dental always puts your comfort level first so we can get your teeth in tip-top shape with a smile you are excited to show off.
Considering sedation dentistry
If you have dental anxiety or dental phobia, talk to Dr. Allred about your fears. Allred Dental offers sedation dentistry, which can significantly lessen those feelings of anxiety. Sedation dentistry can be provided for procedures from simple dental cleanings to more invasive procedures like root canals and dental implants. If you have dental anxiety or dental phobia, here are some of the different sedation options offered to men and women in San Marcos that allow them to relax in the dental chair.
For patients in San Marcos, CA with generalized anxiety, oral medication can help to reduce their stress. Oral-conscious sedation is offered in pill form. It is taken before the procedure and, depending on the dosage given, may be used as both a mild and moderate sedative. Patients typically feel drowsy but are still awake during the procedure. If you do fall asleep, you may be easily aroused by the dentist when treatment is complete.
Inhaled nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide sedation, also known as laughing gas, is administered through a mask placed over the patient's nose. This colorless, odorless gas, which is combined with oxygen, allows the patient to relax. Dr. Allred will control just the right amount of sedation needed, giving patients a sense of euphoria while treatment is administered. Nitrous oxide sedation wears off quickly, and patients can even drive home afterward.
Allred Dental in San Marcos, CA carefully administers moderate sedation called, Intravenous (IV) sedation. Commonly called “sleep dentistry”, this treatment helps patients ease anxiety through the intravenous use of a sedative drug. With just the right customized dose, this method does not fully put the patient to sleep. The anti-anxiety IV medication enables the patient to feel calm and relaxed during the procedure.
Aside from people with dental fears, sedation dentistry treatments are excellent for patients with a low pain threshold, difficulty sitting for more extended periods, sensitive teeth, and who have a terrible gag reflex.
If sedation dentistry sounds like it could be a good option for you, it is essential to choose a doctor in San Marcos who is experienced and qualified to administer your sedation. Dr. Jeffrey Allred at Allred Dental in San Marcos, CA, has years of skilled dental training and specializes in sedation dentistry. If you are interested in learning more about different sedation techniques, we encourage you to call Allred Dental today to discuss your dentistry needs.