Do You Suffer from Dental Anxiety? Conscious Sedation Dentistry Could Be the Answer!
Jim cancelled his appointment again.” Dr. Jeff Martin could hear the concern in his receptionist’s voice. That made three cancellations in a row. Dr. Martin made a note to call Jim. He had been a dentist long enough to know that life happens and patients must reschedule their appointments. This many cancellations, however, generally means something else is up. When he reached Jim he asked if everything was ok. Jim hesitated for a moment…then blurted, “I am terrified to get my crowns put in!”
Dental Anxiety is Not Uncommon
Dr. Martin realized that it was difficult for a 50 year old man to admit to his fear of the dentist, but he also knew that dental anxiety is not uncommon. The American Dentistry Association estimates that as many as 75% of adults in the United States experience some degree of dental anxiety.
Researchers believe that approximately 5 to 10 percent of U.S. adults experience dental phobia; that is, they are so fearful of dental treatment that they avoid dental care as long as possible. Although some folks are just prone to anxiety, others may have had a bad experience in the past. Whatever the reason however, there is a solution! Dr. Martin and his partner, Dr. Will Taylor, have had many patients who initially suffered from some level of dental anxiety who now are more than comfortable during their visits with the use of conscious sedation.
What is Conscious Sedation?
Conscious sedation is the use of anxiety-reducing medication such as nitrous oxide (also known as “laughing gas”), which is inhaled and causes feelings of relaxation. Or a dentist can instead administer an oral sedative, such as Halcion. While these sedatives may help people feel calmer and sometimes drowsy during dental treatment, patients are still conscious and able to communicate with the dental staff. Conscious sedation, used along with a numbing agent applied directly to the area, can make for a totally anxiety-free and pain-free experience.
Can All Dentists Use Conscious Sedation?
Not all dentists are licensed to use conscious sedation. In fact, according to Dr. Martin, only about 5% of dentists have the needed credentials. In order to be licensed, Drs. Martin and Taylor have been specially trained to be able to provide their patients, including their pediatric patients, with this service. The combined experience and knowledge of Dr. Martin and Dr Taylor in this area is extensive. In fact, Dr. Martin himself is one of the examiners for the State Dental Board who makes sure other dentists are properly trained and have the correct equipment to use conscious sedation. Patients can be assured they are in highly qualified hands.
How Do I Know if Conscious Sedation is the Right Choice for Me?
In Jim’s case, Dr. Martin suggested they do a trial run. If Jim could experience conscious sedation for a simple procedure, like a deep teeth cleaning, he would know what the sedation felt like and what to expect when he got his crowns placed. Once Jim went through the trial run, he felt much more at ease and knew he’d have no problems with the more extensive procedure. Jim did not cancel his next appointment for his crowns and he has not feared going to the dentist since trying conscious sedation at Taylor Martin Dentistry. Now if he could just figure out how to get over his fear of spiders!