Dental Anxiety—Your Options for Comfortable Visits
Do You Experience Fear or Anxiety Before Going to the Dentist?
Does the thought of an upcoming dental visit fill you with anxiety? Have you ever delayed or avoided tooth cleaning or other routine dental care because of fear? If so, you are not alone, since apprehension about dental care is a fairly common phobia. Estimates put the number of people who have some degree of dental aversion at 28%, and as many as 48% sometimes delay routine visits because of worry at the prospect of discomfort.
Fortunately, we offer plenty of stress-reducing options to make your visits comfortable. Please feel free to bring your concerns to our attention – we are ready to discuss any special needs or worries you may have about your care.
To help you have the most comfortable, pleasant dental visit you have ever experienced, we offer the following to put you at ease:
- Caring and understanding staff. There’s no scolding or embarrassment here! You’re our valued client, and we promise to stop, listen to your concerns, and discuss them with you.
- Stereo headphones to reduce noise and distraction. We have a great choice of iPod music, and you are also welcome to bring your own favorites music.
- Digital x-ray sensors (inside the mouth) and digital panoramic x-rays are very comfortable, reducing or eliminating gagging.
- CT Cone Beam #D scans or pan-oral x-rays are extremely advanced, precise techniques that we use along with enhanced diagnostic information, which, in many cases, enables us to totally eliminate the use of intra-oral x-rays.
- Wand computer anesthesia uses a microprocessor-controlled device to deliver the anesthetic. No more “Civil War era” dental syringes needed! Though we can’t promise “painless,” we can get extremely close with wand delivery and modern topical anesthetics.
- Advanced laser dentistry eliminates decay fast without needles, for many patients. Check out our menu choice of advanced dental lasers. Only about 5% of U.S. dentists currently use lasers for most routine dental fillings – we’re one of them.
- Needle-free anesthesia is one of our recent additions, numbing the gums and providing comfortable dental cleanings or periodontal therapy.
- Nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) is available to help patients feel they are “somewhere else.”
“The advantage of nitrous oxide is that it wars off fast, acts fast, and the level can be adjusted for the patient. The degree of anxiety relief varies tremendously between individual patients and can be useful for less severe procedures.
- Oral pill sedation is another option, working wonders with many patients. After taking “just a little pill,” many people snore throughout their visit and remember practically nothing! This level of sedation is best for patients with pronounced dental fear, a strong gag reflex, embarrassment concerns, or who want as much work done per visit as possible.
- IV (intravenous) sedation uses an IV catheter, enabling sedative medication to be titrated, or adjusted, to the needs of the individual patient. Most patients experience amnesia and do not remember the visit. Sedation can also raise the pain threshold dramatically for “difficult to numb” patients.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Very few dentists in the state of Illinois (less than 2%) are licensed for deep or IV sedation, due to stringent safety regulations. Dentists who promise sedation without the option of deep/IV sedatives may not be able to deliver the levels of comfort and amnesia we find many patients to be seeking. Frequently, we have a patient start with oral pill sedation, switching over to IV sedation if they are not sufficiently comfortable.
Are you too busy for dental care? With the highly customized, personal care we offer, we can complete necessary dentistry in fewer and more comfortable visits.
OUR PROMISE TO YOU – we will never begin a procedure unless you feel completely comfortable!
You might also want to spend a couple of minutes listening to our video on “How to Have Relaxed, Comfortable Dental Visits.” It is part of a lecture series I gave to dental professionals several years ago.