by Dr. Sara Many times, I have a patient in my chair with a dental emergency, they are in pain and the tooth in question is very badly decayed, even sometimes not savable. On more than one occasion, the patient has admitted to not coming to see us earlier because they have legitimate dental anxiety.
Dental anxiety can vary between patients from very minimal to extreme and there are many ways to deal with this anxiety. I often encourage patients to raise their left hand if they feel that they need a break. This behavioural technique lets patients know that they have some control in the appointment and often eases some of their anxiety. Another technique is making sure patients understand what treatment is being completed, this also gives patients the opportunity ask their questions and feel secure in the treatment being completed. We also offer patients dental sedative options to deal with anxiety including nitrous oxide, known to patients as laughing gas. As well, we have recently introduced IV sedation to the practice. Laughing gas involves patients inhaling the gas, this leads to a feeling of euphoria and relaxation, which is only effective when patients are breathing the gas in. This allows patients to drive home after the procedure. For some patients, laughing gas is still not adequate enough to ease their anxiety. An alternative option is IV moderate sedation which involves administering a sedative agent that allows patients to essentially sleep during the procedure.
Patients are always encouraged to learn coping mechanisms to deal with dental anxiety, however for those who do require additional support, sedative procedures are available. For more information, please feel free to call, shoot us an email, or inquire when you are next in the office