We Help Patients Overcome Dental Anxiety or Fear

A happy patient after she overcame her dental anxiety.Even though many dental procedures are not painful, it’s normal for you to still experience fear or anxiety when you think about a trip to the dentist.

If this sounds like you, we can help. We understand that anxiety is a very real and normal response to dentistry. At The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we take measures to ensure our office is a safe and comfortable space, and we are committed to providing you with anxiety-free dental care.

What is Dental Anxiety?

It is important to note that dental anxiety is a common occurrence. However, some people allow their anxiety to prevent them from receiving the dental care they need, even at the cost of their oral health. We do not want to see your oral health suffer due to dental anxieties, and we will work with you at every step to ensure your comfort.

  • The Causes of Dental Anxiety: Most dental anxiety is caused by negative past experiences, embarrassment, fear of pain, and feelings of helplessness.
  • The Symptoms of Dental Anxiety: When a person has dental anxiety, they may feel physically ill or become increasingly nervous as their appointment gets closer. Some people even report trouble sleeping the night before their appointment.

How do We Help with Dental Anxiety?

One of the best ways to combat dental anxiety is a comfortable environment. Our goal is to create a stress-free environment that puts you at ease during your appointment.

Dr. Shapiro and the team are friendly, helpful, and will offer you the following five promises:

  1. You’re in Charge: We put you in charge during the procedure, and we want you to know that you will never lose control. If you want us to stop, we stop. We are here for you, we care about you, and we won’t rush you into anything you’re not comfortable with.
  2. We Explain Everything: We will take the time to explain the entire process before we begin a procedure. You will know exactly what we are doing and why we’re doing it.
  3. No Sudden Surprises: There will be no surprises during the procedure, and we won’t try to hide anything from you. Everything will be explained to you clearly at every step of the way.
  4. We Welcome Questions: We encourage our patients to ask questions and voice any concerns. If you don’t understand what we’re doing it, we’ll stop and explain. We aim to create a welcoming and safe environment where you are free to ask us anything.
  5. You are Respected: When you ask us a question, we won’t talk down to you. We value you, and we are happy to answer any and all of your questions. We will treat you with respect and kindness at every step of the way.

We do our best to make our patients more comfortable with dentistry. Our friendly staff and comfortable office can make a huge difference in the way you view treatment. You may even find you enjoy your visits to our dental office.

What if You Still Have Anxiety or Fear of the Dentist?

For patients with severe anxiety, a comfortable environment may not be enough to assuage your fears. We also specialize in sedation dentistry to reduce anxiety and control pain.

Sedation can be used for everything from routine appointments to surgical procedures. Sedation techniques include inhaled minimal sedation, oral sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia.

The General Types of Dental Sedation

  • Minimal Sedation: With minimal sedation patients are awake, but in a more relaxed state. You can still respond to questions and stimulus.
  • Moderate sedation: With moderate sedation patients are awake but may have little memory of the procedure. While you can still respond to questions, you may slur your words.
  • Deep sedation: With deep sedation, you are put in a twilight state on the edge of consciousness. While response is minimal, you can still be awakened. Most patients placed in deep sedation have no memory of the procedure.
  • General anesthesia: With general anesthesia, you are completely unconscious during the duration of the procedure. General anesthesia is usually reserved for lengthy, complex, and invasive surgeries.

When to use Dental Sedation for Anxiety

patient wearing sedation maskOur goal is to provide a safe, friendly, and comfortable environment for our patients, which is why we offer sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry involves the use of certain medications to help patients relax during dental procedures. Typically, sedation dentistry is reserved for people with severe fear or anxieties.

If your anxiety prevents you from going to the dentist, then sedation dentistry might be right for you. We may suggest sedation for anything from simple checkups and cleanings to invasive procedures. The sedation technique we use depends on the severity of your anxiety, and generally speaking, there are four levels of sedation.

When to use Dental Sedation for Pain

If a procedure places you at risk for pain or discomfort, we typically use a local anesthetic to numb the area. Most of the time, a local anesthetic is also used in conjunction with a sedation medication.

Certain medications can create euphoric and amnestic effects. When combined with local anesthetic, these medications can significantly reduce the pain and discomfort associated with an invasive procedure.

The Types of Dental Sedation for Anxiety or Pain Relief

  • Nitrous Oxide: One of the most common sedation techniques involves the inhalation of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is administered through a mask that is placed over your nose. The gas is combined with oxygen and helps you to relax. Dr. Shapiro can easily control the amount of sedation you receive to ensure a comfortable experience. The gas tends to wear off quickly, which also allows you to return to your daily activities as soon as possible.
  • Oral Sedation: We may also recommend oral sedation, which involves the use of Halcion or Valium in the form of a pill. The pill is usually taken an hour before the procedure and may cause you to become sleepy or groggy. Some patients may even fall asleep during the procedure.
  • IV Sedation: For more extensive procedures, we may recommend IV sedation. During IV sedation, we administer the sedative directly into the bloodstream, so it is immediately effective. This method also allows us to adjust your level of sedation. We do not let patients drive after IV sedation. If you undergo IV sedation, you are required to organize a ride to and from our office.

Schedule Your Anxiety-Free Appointment Today

Husband and wife smiling happily after their anxiety-free dental appointment.If you have severe anxiety or fear when you think about visiting the dentist, you are not alone. Millions of people let their anxiety prevent them from receiving the necessary dental treatment. At The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we are you here to help you.

However, if you still feel that you need dental sedation, Dr. Shapiro is happy to discuss that option with you. There are several medications available that can allow for a more relaxed and comfortable dental experience. Call or submit an appointment request form to schedule your consultation appointment today.