Dental Anxiety, Glendale, AZ
Solutions to dental anxiety come in many forms. When left untreated, many dental problems only get worse. We can help empower patients with dental anxiety to take the necessary action to treat their underlying conditions.
Solutions to dental anxiety are available at Singh Smile Care in Glendale, AZ and the surrounding area. Fear should never get in the way of your health. Call us at (623) 400-6009 to learn more and schedule an appointment today.
Understanding Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety, also known as dental phobia, is a condition in which patients have a debilitating fear of the dentist. People with dental anxiety are aware that their fear is irrational, but have little to no means of managing it. They may be so panic-stricken by the prospect of seeing the dentist that they will only go when forced by extreme pain. Other common signs of dental anxiety include:
- Escalating feelings of nervousness in a dentist’s waiting room
- Feelings of intense unease at the thought of a dentist placing objects in the mouth during treatment
- Physical reactions at the thought of visiting the dentist
- Trouble sleeping the night before a dental appointment
At times, dental anxiety may get severe enough to be considered pathological. Patients who find that their dental anxiety severely impedes their normal functioning may benefit from psychiatric treatment.
“People with dental anxiety are aware that their fear is irrational, but have little to no means of managing it.”
Causes of Dental Anxiety
Patients of all ages and backgrounds can have dental anxiety. A multitude of factors may contribute to someone's unease at the prospect of being in the dentist's chair, including but not limited to fear of anesthesia, fear of injections, fear of pain, feelings of embarrassment, and feelings of helplessness.
All of the above are valid reasons to be anxious. Still, they do not have to overtake a patient's dental experience. Patients should be open and honest with their dentist about their anxieties, as this is the first step to phobia management. At Singh Smile Care, we believe communication is key to a successful dentist-patient relationship.
“Patients should be open and honest with their dentist about their anxieties, as this is the first step to phobia management.”
Coping with Dental Anxiety
Dealing with a dismissive dentist may only make the problem worse. Therefore, the first step to managing dental anxiety is finding the right dentist. Patients should also ask office staff about any recommended coping strategies and agree on a signal to let the dentist know if they need to take a break.
Mindfulness techniques can also help. Patients may want to try breathing exercises or doing body scans while in the dentist's chair. Others may benefit from distracting themselves by doing things like wearing headphones or occupying their hands.
Additionally, patients should let the dentist know if they are particularly sensitive to pain, even with local anesthesia. There is no need for patients to feel embarrassed about asking questions or being open about their fear. This is the only way to develop a truly individualized plan to attack one's dental anxiety.
“There is no need for patients to feel embarrassed about asking questions or being open about their fear.”
Sedation & Dental Anxiety
- Relative Analgesia. Also known as “laughing gas,” relative analgesia consists of patients receiving a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide through a mask fitted to their face. This treatment is quick to take effect and also quick to wear off. Patients remain awake but feel relaxed for the procedure.
- Anxiety Medication. Typically, anxiety medication for dental anxiety comes in the form of a pill. It may be prescribed either by a dentist or a doctor. The patient will take a single, short-acting dose about one hour before their dental appointment.
- Conscious Sedation. Conscious sedation is a form of intravenous (IV) sedation administered either by a sedation dentist or an anesthetist. Patients under conscious sedation may drift off into a light sleep, making this known as “twilight sedation.”
- General Anesthesia. General anesthesia is the most intensive form of sedation, administered through a combination of IV medication and inhaled gases. Patients are put fully to sleep and will require pre- and post-operative visits.
Not all forms of sedation are appropriate for everyone or every dental procedure. Our qualified team works closely with our patients to take the proper measures to provide the most comfortable experience possible.
“Some patients with more severe dental anxiety may require more intensive management measures.”
Signs That a Dentist Looks For
During the implant consultation, the dentist will conduct a thorough oral examination and most likely order dental X-rays to determine if the patient is a candidate for dental implants. The dentist will consider the gum health, bone density, and overall health of the patient during the first visit.
Natural teeth and dental implants work similarly, and they are both supported by the gums. If the gums are weak, eroded, or if the patient has periodontal disease, then the implant may not hold the way it should long-term. Implants are still an option with poor gum health, but additional treatment is likely necessary.
Dental implants replace the teeth while also preserving the natural bone. However, the jaw needs the proper amount of bone dentistry to support the dental implant. The jawbone is also essential for a firm hold of the implant, abutment, and artificial tooth. After tooth loss occurs, the bone inside the jaw begins to lose its density. Over time, this can result in the need for a bone grafting procedure to rebuild the strength and density of the jawbone. Once the jawbone is strong enough, we will begin the process.
The implant process also involves a minor surgical procedure to place the dental implant inside the jawbone. As is the case with any surgery, the patient should be willing and able to go through the process. This procedure is slightly more invasive than other replacement solutions.
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A dental implant procedure can take many months because it involves multiple procedures that require healing time in between. Exactly how long and how many procedures will depend on the patient's unique situation. For example, patients who need bone grafting can expect the process to take longer.
Overall, patients undergo a series of outpatient procedures, typically starting with removal of damaged teeth or any bone grafting needed to prepare the jaw. Then, the dental titanium post is placed and the patient must recover after that procedure. It is important to give the jawbone ample time to heal around the post. The final step is the placement of the replacement tooth or teeth in the form of a crown, bridge or permanent denture.
Exactly how long and how many procedures will depend on the patient’s unique situation.
Questions Answered on This Page
Q. What causes dental anxiety?
Q. How can I cope with dental anxiety?
Q. Can I be sedated for my dental anxiety?
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Children & Dental Anxiety
It is not uncommon for parents to experience dental anxiety on their child's behalf. Parents should maintain a calm exterior as children will pick up on any anxiety displayed by their parents. Parents should refrain from telling their children that something will hurt or be painful, nor should they promise a reward for going to the dentist. Doing so will only cause children to anticipate something unpleasant and act accordingly. While parents should tell their children about any upcoming dental appointments, they should not overload their child with too much detail about what to expect. Dentists have received the training to give simple, non-threatening answers. Parents should prioritize stressing the importance of dental hygiene to their children instead.
“Parents should maintain a calm exterior … as children will pick up on any anxiety displayed by their parents.”
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Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Clinical Terms. 2022
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry® (AACD). Home Page. 2022
- WebMD. WebMD’s Oral Care Guide. 2022
About our business and website security
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