When you hear the word “dentist,” does it bring on feelings of dread, followed by a heightened heart rate and anxiety? Believe it or not, this is actually quite common. It is estimated that close to 40 million people suffer from some type of dental anxiety in the United States. The level of impact it can have on a person ranges from sweaty palms to the inability to drive into the dentist’s parking lot, much less walk through the actual door. When dental anxiety is severe, it can prevent patients from receiving the oral care they need.
Thanks to continued advancements in sedation dentistry, patients can receive dental care in a comfortable environment with a relaxing mindset. At Hawaii Pacific Dental Group, Inc., Dr. Rohinton Patel provides a variety of sedation dentistry methods, including nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation medications to meet the unique needs of patients in the Honolulu, HI area. In addition, below are five tips for reducing dental anxiety.
Find a Dentist You Trust
Many people who struggle from dental anxiety associate the dentist with a bad prior experience. Finding a dentist you trust and that sets your mind at ease can help alleviate your anxiety. Ask around to get reviews on dentists in your area from friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Once you find someone you’re interested in, make an appointment to meet him or her so you can get a feel for how they will handle your unique situation. Talk openly and honestly about the severity of your dental anxiety so he or she can provide the best care possible for you.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Heightened levels of stress and anxiety can cause you to release excess adrenaline into your body. When this occurs, your body tenses, your breathing speeds up, and your pain receptors become more sensitive. This can cause even greater anxiety and make receiving even the simplest dental procedure feel uncomfortable. Practicing meditation and certain breathing techniques can help you relax before and during the procedure and make treatment manageable.
Most dental offices provide headphones and audio/visual technology in the examination rooms so patients can listen to their favorite tunes or watch their favorite TV show. Having something familiar and comfortable can keep your mind distracted and allow you to get the care you need.
Have a Loved One Come with You
Ask your spouse, a friend, or another loved one to attend the appointment with you. In some cases, loved ones can come in the examination room with you, hold your hand, and provide support throughout the office visit.
When meeting with your doctor during the introductory visit, ask him or her about the different sedation dentistry methods they provide. If only a local anesthetic is provided, this may not do anything to minimize your anxiety. In fact, because needles are generally required to administer local anesthesia, it can increase your anxiety levels even more.
A dentist familiar with sedation dentistry often provides nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) and oral conscious prescription medications, such as Valium. At Hawaii Pacific Dental Group, Inc., Dr. Patel offers both of these, in addition to IV sedation. IV medication is administered intravenously and carefully monitored throughout your visit. It will allow you to achieve a deep, sleep-like state to ensure optimal comfort.
Contact Us Today
To learn more about the different sedation methods we provide to help patients receive comfortable and calming dental care, contact our office today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Patel.