Dental Anxiety and Phobia

Dental anxiety is common, especially for patients who must undergo extensive or specialized treatment. However, for some patients, anxiety can be fierce enough that it prevents them from visiting the dentist at all, or from receiving the care they need to keep their smiles healthy and disease-free. Dental sedation is a common solution for anxious and fearful patients that helps alleviate anxiety so they can remain calm and comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Dental sedation is also an important resource in treating patients with special needs, or who have certain medical conditions that make it difficult for them to sit still long enough to receive treatment. Depending on your specific needs and preferences, your dentist can recommend a variety of sedation options, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or oral conscious sedation.

Dental fear is not something that most patients talk about, which can make accurately gauging its influence on the population difficult. Many people are not comfortable admitting their fear, and will neglect visiting their dentist rather than talk about their anxiety. Patients may avoid the dentist long enough that they suffer severe dental issues and require extensive treatment by the time they do visit. With the help of sedation, however, patients with dental phobia can discreetly address their condition so they can receive the dental care they need.

Before recommending sedation, your dentist will perform a comprehensive examination and review your medical and dental history to ensure that it is safe. Then, you and your dentist can work together to decide on which sedative is most appropriate.