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Weekly What If

What If I Am Scared of Going to the Dentist?

Written by Dr. Adam Bond Jun 4 • 4 minute read

It is estimated that between 9 and 20 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fear or anxiety. Many people will avoid coming in until they are in extreme pain, choosing to suffer, rather than face the fear.

We completely understand that the dental office isn't most people's favorite place to go. (Hey, there are times we can think of better places to be ). We strive to help everyone have as comfortable and positive an experience as possible.

If you are truly afraid or even just a little anxious, here are some suggestions to make your visit more bearable:

1. Schedule a consult with Dr. Bond to discuss your concerns. He will be glad to visit with you, discuss your dental needs and concerns and talk about your options going forward. We will take time to explain as much or as little as you would like to know about any procedures. The goal of this visit is to help you get to know us without having to worry about getting treatment at that time.

2. We offer nitrous oxide sedation upon request. Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”) is a colorless, slightly sweet-smelling gas that is blended with oxygen and administered through a nasal mask. Its safety has been well-established, and the sedation effect wears off quickly so there is no extended recovery time. It can be used for both children and adults. Nitrous oxide has a very calming effect, even though the patient remains in control. It takes effect quickly, and there is a very rapid recovery period. Nitrous oxide can be patient regulated. If you want to feel more of its effects, you simply breathe more frequently and deeply. Conversely, if you breathe through your mouth, you will feel less of its effects.

One of the advantages of nitrous oxide is that it is a conscious anesthetic, which means you will be awake and in control even though you are sedated. You will be able to communicate throughout the procedures and tell us if you experience any discomfort. Nitrous oxide can be discontinued at any time and within five minutes you feel as you did before the nitrous oxide was administered.

3. After discussing your treatment and reviewing your medical history, Dr. Bond can prescribe medication to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during your dental visit. For this approach, you will need to take some extra precautions, such as avoiding eating for a period of time before your appointment and having someone drive you to and from your appointment. If you need a little more than "laughing gas", we would be happy to discuss your options.

4. Some patients want to be completely sedated or "knocked out" for treatment, especially for more involved procedures. If you feel like this would be helpful, talk to Dr. Bond about your options. Very few patients go this route, but if you would prefer to get treatment without having to worry about what is happening, IV sedation may be for you.

5. Finally, and post importantly, don't let a dental problem turn into a dental emergency. From 2000 to 2010, Emergency Room visits for dental pain nearly doubled from 1.1 million to 2.1 million. The majority of these visits were due to dental decay that could have been prevented or addressed before they became painful. Come in for regular checkups so dental needs can be detected before they become a serious problem. You may find that the more often you come in, the more you will realize that we aren't that scary.
Feel free to share this with your friends. You never know who may need some dental encouragement. As always, contact us if you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment. Have a great weekend!

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