This anxiety manifests itself at different levels for different people- from simple nervousness and up to severe phobia. The dentist is your best partner in helping you fight off anxiety so that you can go through your dental appointment without problems.
Dental Anxiety: Let your dentist know how you feel
One of the best strategies in fighting off dental anxiety is to tell about it to your dentist. There are actually many phobia friendly dentists out there who are equipped with all the necessary equipment and knowledge to alleviate fear and panic.
If the dentist understands that you are afraid of a particular treatment he might suggest many helpful treatments such as getting dental sedation or going through special therapy before major dental treatments.
Dental Anxiety: Try to control yourself in the dental chair
Do not let fear and anxiety overwhelm you. Anxiety can be overcome nicely if you are allowed to sit in the dental chair for a couple of minutes before the dentist actually starts performing your treatment.
During those minutes control your breathing, get acquainted with the environment and you will feel those heartbeats getting slower and slower. Discuss with your dentist that you wish to have a special signal when you want him to stop (for example, raising your hand). Then, some patients find cognitive behavioral therapy extremely helpful and they can manage their dental phobia much better.
Dental Anxiety: Opting for dental sedation
Talk to your dentist about the option of dental sedation, especially if you struggle with a great deal of phobia and you need to go through complex dental treatments such as getting dental implants, root canal therapy, etc.
Under sedation you will be awake but you will not remember too many things from the procedure. Inhalation sedation is one of the most popular types of sedation at the dentist. “Laughing gas” or nitrous oxide is used and the patient enters quickly a state of euphoria. Oral sedation and IV sedation are also used to control anxiety, panic attacks and severe phobia.
Dental Anxiety: For severe dental phobia IV sedation is the answer
Intravenous sedation acts immediately and will put you into a state of complete relaxation and drowsiness. However, you will be able to communicate with your dentist throughout the procedure.
If you are getting IV sedation you should make sure that you are accompanied to the dentist by a family member or a friend, because the sedative has an impact on your coordination.
This means you are not allowed to drive, take important decisions such as signing papers, or operate any kind of machinery or approximately 24 hours after sedation.
General anesthesia is a form of sedation which is advisable in case of severe dental phobia patients when they undergo complex surgery such as jaw reconstruction or full mouth reconstruction with implants. It is also recommended in case of patients with physical disabilities.