Chances are, you’ve at least heard of someone that’s afraid of the dentist. Particularly if it’s an adult, you may brush it off and say it’s just them getting themselves worked up. But dental fear — also called dental anxiety — is a very real condition that impacts thousands of people of all ages. Dr. Mark Sowell, a dentist in Plano, TX, is experienced in treating patients that suffer from dental fear.
Do You Have Dental Fear?
The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study in 2013 stating that approximately 36% of the population is impacted by dental fear. An additional 12% of the population suffers from extreme dental anxiety. This can lead to severe oral health problems if the person is anxious enough to completely avoid the dentist office.
Most people probably wouldn’t put a dental appointment at the top of their list of favorite things to do. But there’s a difference between that and having an actual fear of the dentist. Like all phobias, dental fear occurs on a scale. Some people may only be triggered by certain sounds, while others may not even be able to walk into the environment without getting anxious
It’s particularly important to acknowledge your fear if it makes you avoid dental care completely. This can lead to severe oral health problems that can cause pain and impact your overall wellbeing. The longer you avoid dental care, the more intensive the treatment will have to be as well.
Treating Patients With Dental Anxiety
At our office, we have multiple ways to make dental treatment easier with patients that suffer from dental fear. Both sedation dentistry and laser dentistry are available. Dr. Sowell can have a consultation with you to determine the best combination of treatment options to make you as comfortable as possible.
Sedation dentistry is a direct solution for dental anxiety. There are three different types — nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. A combination of oral sedation and laughing gas may also be used.
Nitrous oxide is breathed in through a cannula in the nose. It takes effect quickly, making you feel relaxed and euphoric. It also dissipates quickly, making it the only sedation solution where you can drive yourself home after use.
Oral conscious sedation comes in pill form taken about an hour before treatment. You won’t be fully put under, but you may become relaxed enough to fall asleep. It’s also common to not remember parts or all of the procedure.
For the most severe cases, IV sedation is available. We work with an anesthesiologist at our practice. The drugs are administered in the bloodstream, so they take effect quickly. The anesthesiologist monitors you, making sure you get the correct dose to remain comfortable.
Laser dentistry is beneficial for patients with dental anxiety too. It makes a lot of procedures quicker and less painful than the standard offerings. You don’t bleed as much and you can heal a lot more quickly as well.
The laser is also ideal because it means patients don’t have to listen to the sound of a drill. The drilling sound is a trigger for many patients that suffer from dental fear. Some patients with dental anxiety may not even need sedation. The use of the laser can be enough.
Treatment From Your Dentist in Plano, Texas
Our aim is to make sure all of our patients are comfortable and get the best treatment possible. Call us today or schedule a complimentary consultation to review our solutions for patients with dental fear.