If you have been avoiding your dentist due to dental anxiety, you will be happy to find out that dentists offer a wide range of sedation that can help you conquer that dental anxiety and provide you with a comfortable, stress free dental experience. Dental anxiety is very common and it is believed that about 15% of the population has some form of dental anxiety. It can range from being anxious and tense throughout your dental treatment to a full blown dental phobia which causes patients to become terrified at even the thought of going to the dentists.
Patients with severe dental anxiety or dental phobia are probably better off seeing a dentist that specializes in sleep and sedation dentistry, but mild to moderate dental anxiety can usually be addressed by most dentists.
Communication with your dentist is critical. Unless your dentist knows about your anxiety, he or she cannot help you. Don’t be shy or embarrassed about bringing up the subject with your dentist. As mentioned previously, dental anxiety is very common and your dentist wants you to have a good dental experience.
Many dentists practice sedation dentistry using nitrous oxide to help patients with mild to moderate dental anxiety. Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” is administered through a small mask while the patient is in the dental chair. It works quickly to relax the patient and the effect is similar to being mildly intoxicated. The patient is calm and relaxed and can easily tolerate the dental procedure.
An advantage of nitrous oxide is that it wears off quickly after the procedure is completed. The patient can drive themselves home from the appointment without any problems. Side effects are rare, but some patients may experience nausea.
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