No More Dental Anxiety — Relax with Sedation Dentistry
Not everyone enjoys getting their teeth pulled — go figure! But worse yet, some people have a complete and irrational fear of even visiting their general dentists. Even at our Midtown office, full of bustling New Yorkers who boast never being afraid of anything, we oftentimes meet patients with an intense apprehension about getting in the chair.
This intense fear of dentists is commonly referred to as dentophobia — or more technically odontophobia — and affect approximately ten percent of all dental patients, and even more of the world at large (who never visit the dentist as a result).
Good oral health depends on a daily hygiene regimen (brushing and flossing twice a day) and routine check-ups (every six months) with a qualified dentist. Oftentimes patients suffering from odontophobia avoid this crucial second step, neglecting to get their gums and teeth professionally examined out of fear of judgement, pain, or loss of control.
This can prove extremely detrimental to a patient’s overall oral health considering the progressive nature of gum disease and tooth decay. For instance, gingivitis can grow into advanced periodontal disease eventually causing bone density and tooth loss. That’s why it’s paramount to make sure our patients feel comfortable coming into Rockefeller Cosmetic Dentists — and why we offer those suffering from extreme anxiety IV sedation.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to relax patients during dental visits, especially those involving surgery or intense drilling. Sometimes called “sleep dentistry,” sedation techniques vary depending on the severity of the odontophobia of the patient. Most patients are actually usually awake during procedures with the one exception of general anesthesia use.
Levels of Sedation:
- Minimal — patient kept awake but relaxed, light doses of nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
- Moderate — patient may slur words and forget part of the procedure afterward, but is generally still conscious. Uses stronger doses of nitrous oxide.
- Deep — through the use of IV sedation (a general anesthesia) on a light level, the patient is kept at the edge of consciousness and can still be awakened if the need arises.
- General anesthesia — through the full use of a breathing mask and IV sedation, the patient is rendered completely unconscious.
What is IV Sedation?
IV Sedation is the process of administering sedation medications intravenously. This can range from moderate to complete levels of unconsciousness, depending on the strength of the dose (which directly relates to both the patient’s anxiety level and the extent of work to be done).
Because the medication is received through veins, it works quicker and your dentist can adjust the amount of sedative administered as needed, continually throughout the procedure. However, no matter the type or strength of sedation therapy you receive, a local anesthetic (numbing agent) must be applied to help with local pains around the surgical area.
The Pyramid of Dental Anxiety
Understanding the levels of odontophobia can help better assess which type of sedation or relaxation method would best be suited for our patients suffering from irrational fears of dentistry. Below, you can evaluate your own level of anxiety and determine which sedation (if any) would be appropriate to add to your overall comfort during your next procedure.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
- Pain — according to Colgate’s recent study, 6% of dental patients experience fear of pain as the primary reason for their dental phobia. Exhibited mostly in adults over 24, this fear may be a result of visiting the dentist before “pain-free” methods were developed in the past several years.
- Childhood trauma — almost every child fears going to their primary care physician or dentist, in one way or another. If this is coupled with a procedure performed early in life where pain or discomfort was experienced (even something like novocaine injections), later life anxiety could intensify.
Put Your Fears to Rest with Sedation Dentistry
Don’t let your fears and distant-past traumas keep you from maintaining proper oral health care. Say goodbye to your fears and hello to your beautiful new smile with our cutting edge sedation dentistry techniques. Not only do we boast the best in IV sedation, but our practices have been proven to be less invasive, less painful, and more comfortable thanks to innovations in dentistry from the last several decades.
Call our Rockefeller cosmetic dentists today at (212) 581-1091 or book online today and get back to living your life — fear free.