Though it may sound ridiculous to hear a grown-up man or woman strongly express distaste and revulsion when they hear the word dentist, this fear for the tooth doctor as a matter of fact is something that should not be taken so lightly.
Dental phobia, also known as odontophobia, is a very real mental and behavioral problem that needs to be properly addressed. Having a case of this disorder is considered to be one of the biggest challenges that keep people from taking good care of their oral health.
As suggested by statistics, an estimate of 7 to 13% of the general population in western countries shows signs and symptoms of irrational and extreme fear of anything that relates to dental care, may it be material objects.
Moreover, a staggering 50% of the population harbors some mild form of this anxiety when faced with dental treatment. In addition to this record, men are said to be overruled by women who are twice likely to manifest phobic symptoms.
Because of these astounding statistical records, the field of dentistry has developed and adapted a specialized method to help relieve the dread individuals experience from having their oral cavity exposed. The cure, which significantly promises a painless and good dental experience to its hesitant clients, is no other than the sedation method.
Sedation dentistry, as the name suggests, is a simple procedure that involves the use of any sedation-causing agent for patients undergoing any dental procedure which can be potentially painful or extensive.
This specialized procedure is typically recommended for those individuals who manifest uncontrollable fits of anxiety and nervousness when placed on the dental chair. Its primary goal is to help individuals achieve a very relaxed and dreamlike state while having a simple routine cleaning or multiple root canals.
Depending on the extent of anxiety experienced or the type of procedure performed, varying degrees of sedation is employed. Dental sedation methods offered by sedation dentists come in four types.
1. Oral sedatives.
These medications come from the anti-anxiety drug class, particularly the family of benzodiazepines. Examples of these “benzos” include Ativan, Valium and Xanax. These “happy pills” are prescribed to a patient to relieve anxiety in dental appointments. They may be given the night before the procedure or taken at least 30 minutes to an hour prior the appointment.
These benzos act in two ways. In higher doses, these drugs induce a calming effect plus some feeling of drowsiness or sedation or hypnosis, earning the name of sedative-hypnotics. While in lower doses, these drugs simply act to relieve the anxious feelings. Because these drugs do not provide any pain relief, there is a need to administer an injection of a local anesthetic to the patient.
2. Intravenous Conscious Sedation.
Also known as IV sedation, this type of method administers anti-anxiety drugs into the blood stream via the vein. In here, patients remain conscious during the entire dental procedure and are able to respond to commands from the dentist. However, patients will not be able to remember anything much. A state of deep relaxation and partial or full memory loss from the time the drug is injected until it wears off will be experienced. Because this does not provide any relief from pain, a local anesthetic will also be given.
3. Inhalation Sedation.
Much like being in a “happy drunk” state, this type of sedation produces such effect. This result is due to the use of the colorless, odorless and non-irritating nitrous oxide (N20) gas discovered in 1772 by Humphrey Davy.
Compared to other sedation technique, the use of N2O shows bigger advantage since the dentist is able to adjust the depth of sedation from time to time. Other techniques do not allow this. Like in IV sedation, the amount of drug can be easily increased but the level of sedation cannot be easily lessened.
This method does not have a hangover effect. The gas is eliminated from the system in a matter of 3 to 5 minutes. Moreover, when combined with oxygen (O2), the use of N2O even for an extensive period of time is said to be safe.
4. General Anesthesia.
GA is rarely used for dental treatment. However, when there is no other means of providing pain and anxiety relief for the patient, this method is employed. Unlike the above mentioned methods, in here, the patient will lose full consciousness while on the drug. Complete loss of awareness to surroundings will be experienced.
Because these drugs can cause confusion, dizziness, and temporary loss of muscle coordination, it is important to remember not to travel on your own after the treatment. Driving a car or operating any heavy machinery should be avoided. Hence, a companion must be present to assist you in this time.
Fear of the dentist should not be a hindrance to good dental health. There is always a way into everything. Asking your dentist about these treatment alternatives will greatly aid in the accomplishment of your dental needs. With sedation dentistry, phobic patients will no longer miss their due appointments.
Fear is something Ryan Rivera personally knows about. He has been a victim of such terrible experience. But through various anxiety management techniques, he has overcome them. If you wish to do the same, visit him through this site www.calmclinic.com.