Life has got better for dental patients in the past decade in terms of the scanning technology available to enable us to diagnose and treat problems with an almost perfect degree of accuracy.
However, that doesn’t mean much if you’re paralysed with fear by the idea of walking into a dental clinic. Unfortunately it’s still quite common for people to avoid the dentist for years due to this kind of phobia, and in the meantime their dental health can suffer irreversible damage.
In these cases, and with patients who are experiencing more moderate versions of dental anxiety, special help is needed. Dental sedation is the obvious choice.
What’s clear from our experience is that after a few visits to Portmore it’s unlikely for anxiety to persist, even among the most nervous patients, so we find conscious sedation is usually only requested for the first few visits, although we are happy to provide it on request.
Here’s what one of our nervous patients said about the experience:
“I am a very nervous patient and had the bad news that I needed 6 teeth removed. So I chose to have sedation. Wow! What a wonderful thing to have. I remember sitting in the chair, the sedative put in my hand, then nothing! I cannot remember anything at all. Its’ the best thing I have ever done. If you are thinking of sedation, go for it! You won’t be sorry!”
Conscious sedation is the administration of a medicine to help you relax and block pain. The effect is something like being awake but extremely relaxed and comfortable. You’ll be able to follow commands but may drift off to sleep and lose track of time, so even a long appointment in surgery might seem like just a few minutes.
Dental sedation is safe, and the drugs that we use do not have any nasty side effects. Another beneficial side effect of sedation is that it takes your gag reflex away, a relief to anyone who fights the urge to swallow when they’re in the dental chair.
WHO CAN HAVE SEDATION?
- Dental phobics
- Needle phobics
- Patients with fear of dental treatments
- Patients with a phobia of dental sounds and smells
- Patients with sensitive teeth
- Patients with sensitive gag reflex or difficulty opening their mouth
- Patients experiencing difficulty with anaesthesia (getting numb)
- Patients wanting a more relaxed overall experience
- Patients undergoing long periods of treatment
- Patients undergoing complex surgical procedures such as dental implants or extractions
SOME FACTS ABOUT DENTAL ANXIETY FROM THE BRITISH DENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION:
- One in every seven adults who has been to a dentist suffers from extreme dental anxiety
- The most common fears for visiting a dentist are having a tooth drilled (30%) and having a local anaesthetic injection (28%)
- Visiting the dentist is ranked number one (22%) for making people nervous, followed by heights (19%)
- 10 times as many people are nervous of visiting their dentists (22%), compared to their doctor (2%)