Fear of the dentist is not uncommon. In fact, the Dental Fears Research Clinic reports that 20 percent of Americans only go to the dentist when it is absolutely necessary. Upwards of eight percent of Americans simply do not go to the dentist due to their anxiety.
The CDC reports that fewer than 62 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 saw a dentist in 2011. Skipping regular dental visits puts you at a higher risk for gum disease. You’re not alone with this fear, and you have options. Sedation dentistry is a relaxing way for patients like you who deal with anxiety during dental visits.
Dental Fear is Not a Phobia
Phobias are defined as being unreasonable fears of an object or situation. Dental fear is not an unreasonable fear, so experts are questioning if the term dental phobia is really the right term for a fear of the dentist. Studies have shown that people who have experienced a painful or uncomfortable dental treatment in the past are far more likely to deal with dental fear. By definition, some feel the fear may be better defined as a form of post-traumatic stress.
Forms of Sedation Dentistry
Patients have three options when it comes to sedation dentistry. There are pros and cons to each technique.
1. IV conscious sedation involves an IV that allows a sedative to go directly into the bloodstream. It requires the dentist or periodontist to go through advanced training and receive certification from the Florida Board of Dentistry, so only four to six percent of dentists in Florida offer IV conscious sedation. It is a very effective form of sedation, but it comes with the downside of the patient not remembering anything from the time the medication is administered to the time the medication wears off. On the other hand, the patient is fully asleep and will have no memory of the noises of the dental equipment.
2. Orally administered sedation only relaxes the patient before the procedure. It involves an oral sedative that is swallowed and given time to work before the doctor begins the procedure. The patient may be aware of everything during the dental appointment, but mild amnesia is a possibility with an oral sedative. If your dental fears are noise based, you’ll still be able to hear the dental equipment as it is being used. Another problem with orally administered sedation involves the unpredictability of the medications. There is no guarantee that the effects of the pill will last the entire procedure. If additional sedation is necessary, it takes time for the pill to work.
3. Finally, nitrous oxide is one that many patients are familiar with under the more common name “laughing gas.” Unlike the other two forms of sedation dentistry, there is no risk of short-term amnesia with this method. It’s a mild sedative, though, and is only useful in making you feel relaxed.
Regardless of the type of sedative used, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen stats, and respiration are monitored during the dental procedure. This helps the doctor watch for unsafe changes that could be a sign of reaction to the medication.
Discussing Dental Fear with Your Periodontist
When you call Gallardo & Lamas Periodontics and Implant Dentistry to make an appointment, let the office know you suffer from dental fear. Dr. Gallardo and Dr. Lamas understand this fear and provide three types of sedation dentistry for your comfort. It is important to be upfront and let them know of your fears to start. This enables the Florida periodontists to work with you to create a care plan that does not cause anxiety.
View for yourself the difference a periodontist experienced in dental fear can make. Read patient testimonials from others who share your fear of the dentist. Seek treatment or diagnosis of gum disease without fear with Dr. Gallardo and Dr. Lamas in their Miami periodontics office. Call (305) 447-1447 to schedule a consultation and discuss the right sedation dentistry technique for your needs.