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Dental Sedation Can Help With Dental Anxiety

  • January 8, 2016

You are sitting in the waiting room. At any moment, you know the dental hygienist is going to call your name.

It’s taken a lot just to get to this point. Because of your dental anxiety, this is the first time you’ve been to the dentist office in … well … a long time.

You know that brushing and flossing your teeth isn’t enough to maintain your oral health, and your friends told you how caring the staff at Total Dental Care of South Carolina can be.

You’ve been learning about dental sedation and you know that they offer four different kinds of sedation. You are trying nitrous oxide today, although you considered oral conscious sedation.

More than anything, you are glad that a dentist in Columbia, SC, offers these services for his patients.

Sound familiar?

Can you relate to the person in our introduction? Do you experience dental anxiety or dental fear?

If so, then you should know that you have a lot of company. Estimates vary, but experts believe between 9 and 20 percent of Americans avoid the dentist because dental anxiety

Of course, saying someone has dental anxiety isn’t that simple. Some people have what would be considered moderate dental anxiety; others have severe dental fear or outright dental phobia.

One way you can figure out your own level of anxiety is with Dr. Norman Corah’s Dental Questionnaire, which you can find by clicking here. This questionnaire is two pages long, and it asks a series of questions that relate to dentistry.

The first page of questions asks you to rate your feelings at different stages of your visit. Are your relaxed or uneasy knowing that you have a dental appointment tomorrow? Are you uneasy or tense when you are in the waiting room? Are you anxious or do have a physical reaction (such as sweating) when you are seated in the exam chair?

Your answers will help you understand your level of anxiety.

The second page asks specific questions about aspects of dentistry that may trigger your anxiety. For instance, you may be fine with having X-rays taken, but become anxious when the dentist or hygienist gets the tools that are used for a cleaning.

The more you understand your own anxiety, the more you can prepare to deal with it. We also invite you to share your concerns with our staff when you call to make an appointment. This will help us help you.

How Dental Sedation Helps?

Dental Fear Central, a website for people who experience dental anxiety, lists three steps that may help you deal with those uneasy feelings. The first is psychological. The second is technology, and the third is sedation.

There are several reasons why dental sedation may be helpful, such as:

  • You want help relaxing.
  • You have a fear of a specific aspect of dentistry (such as a particular tool like a drill or a needle).
  • You want to have your procedure over as soon as possible.
  • You will be undergoing a longer, more complicated procedure.
  • You don’t want to remember anything about your procedure.
  • You are worried about gagging.

Here are the kinds of sedation we offer:

Nitrous oxide — This is also called “laughing gas.” It takes effect quickly, but it’s effects also wear off quickly when we are finished with your procedure. This means you will be able to drive home when you are done.

Oral conscious sedation — This is a step up from nitrous oxide. You may feel drowsy or groggy. You will take a pill before your procedure, and the effects will last for a while. If you choose this option, you will need someone else to drive you home.

IV sedation — This is recommended for patients with higher levels of anxiety. Like oral conscious sedation, the effects will last for hours. This means you will need someone to take you home after your procedures.

General anesthesia — This is for people with extreme dental phobia and for people undergoing the most complex procedures. And once again, you must have someone else take you home.

Find Out More

If you have dental anxiety, you may have been living with it for years or decades. We don’t expect you to overcome that anxiety in one visit to our office, and you shouldn’t either. Try to take things one step at a time, and we will be right here at our dentist office in Columbia, SC, to support you.

To learn more, contact Total Dental Care of South Carolina by calling 803-272-4162 or using our online form.


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