Causes of Dental Anxiety Plus Solutions that Work
Fear of going to the dentist isn’t just a cliché. Some estimates suggest that a solid majority of adults experience, on some level, dread of a dental visit. Between 5% and 10% of those individuals have a fear strong enough to qualify as dentophobia, which causes total avoidance of dentists. Usually, however, children and adults simply feel anxiety about getting dental work. The following are some of the reasons for dental anxiety and, to ease the problem, solutions available from dental professionals.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
Anticipation of Pain
Fear of needles and dental instruments is considered the number one fear of anxious dental patients. People often think the pain of procedures at the dentist office will be as bad as or worse than their toothache. Pain felt at the dentist can be heightened by anxiety because the condition causes a different nerve supply to the teeth. It means more numbing becomes necessary before the dentist can drill. In up to 20% of dental patients, more than one injection is required to adequately numb the pain.
Just the idea of laying back in a dental chair and being instructed not to move while dental instruments are poked into the mouth is a dreaded nightmare to many people. The feeling of being out of control is the problem. Usually, these patients are also worried that they can’t get up if they want or need to.
Stories or Memories of Bad Experiences
It may take just one dental-procedure-gone-wrong to instill years of fear and avoidance of dentists. Whether a mistake leading to a need for stitches or more dental work or whether unintended pain was inflicted, bad dental experiences can have long-lasting ill effects. Empathetic people who simply hear of the bad experiences others have had in a dental office may dodge needed work on their teeth because of the story they heard.
Solutions for Dental Fears
Woodbridge Kids Dentistry is a place where dental and orthodontic work can be done with light (conscious) sedation or full sedation during dental procedures.
Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen aka Laughing Gas
Your Woodbridge Kids Dentistry dentist may recommend Laughing Gas sedation for a child, after the dental consultation. Oxygen is mixed with nitrous oxide to create the Laughing Gas. The child wears a small mask that fits over his or her nose, and the nitrous oxide/oxygen mix is inhaled throughout the dental procedure.
For oral sedation of a child who is fearful of dentists, the patient must arrive at Woodbridge Kids Dentistry 30 minutes before the oral sedation dental appointment. The oral sedative is flavored per the patient’s preference, and effects are produced in most children within 10 to 20 minutes after the oral sedative is administered.
When extensive dental work is being done to an anxious patient, a combination of Laughing Gas and oral sedation is used. This can also help by requiring fewer visits to get all needed dental work done.
When a child is frightened of getting dental treatment and can’t keep still, general anesthesia is available that allows him or her to sleep through it. At Woodbridge Kids Dentistry, we refer to this method of sedation as “Pediatric Care Asleep.”
Contact Woodbridge Kids Dentistry
At Woodbridge Kids Dentistry, we have a caring and compassionate dental team. Knowing the importance of good dental health, we are happy to provide light or full sedation, as needed, for our anxious patients. Contact Woodbridge Kids Dentistry if you or your child are anxious about getting needed oral care. Schedule an appointment by calling (905) 264-1KID (1543) today.