Research varies on the topic of fear of the dentist, but we do know that a significant fraction of people avoid seeing the dentist completely out of fear. There are innumerable stories about why people fear the dentist and what happened to make them lose their trust with dentists in general. These stories come to us every day in our Glen Ellyn, IL dentist office.
We see patients who have been afraid of the dentist and stayed away from the office for far too long. These patients are being forced to face their fears after years of neglect, which means that they have a long road of dental recovery ahead of them! That’s not the best situation to be in when you are afraid of the dentist.
Luckily, we have options for all patients regardless of their level of fear. We are a fear-free dental office, which means that we can be sure every patient who walks in our doors is able to get the dental care they need without feeling the least bit afraid. Let’s take a look at how that works!
Is It Possible to End a Fear of the Dentist?
It is absolutely possible to end your fear of the dentist! It’s all about re-structuring the way your brain thinks about the dental office. We have to break down those barriers of fear and rebuild a solid foundation of trust and confidence.
Break the Cycle of Fear – The first step is to break the cycle of fear surrounding the dental office. You see, when you are afraid, you become tense. Things that ordinarily would not cause pain suddenly become very painful, which confirms your fear and makes you more afraid! In order to break this cycle of fear, we have to break the element of tension, which is where dental sedation steps in.
Build Trust – Once you have broken the cycle of fear and pain, you can begin to build trust. After your first dental appointment with sedation, you might feel pretty surprised at how easy it all was, but you are still skeptical. Over time, you will find yourself needing less and less sedation to keep you relaxed because you will learn to trust the dentist and the process. Your fear will be gone!
Types of Sedation
Each patient who walks through our doors is different with different experiences and different levels of fear and anxiety. This means that not all patients will benefit from the same type of sedation, which is why we offer three. Most dental offices offer one form of sedation, and some will offer two, but we go above and beyond with three varieties so that we can treat any patient who comes through our doors!
Nitrous Oxide – The most common form of sedation is nitrous oxide. This gas instantly relaxes your muscles and mind so that you feel completely at ease during your appointment. The effects wear off within minutes after you take the mask off, which makes this the perfect way to have work done in the middle of your busy schedule.
Nitrous oxide gas is perfect for patients with a mild to moderate fear of the dentist. The effects are easy on the body and allow the patient to remain awake throughout the entire treatment.
Oral Conscious – Nitrous is not for everyone. Some patients struggle to feel the effects of nitrous oxide while others are still too tense, even under the light sedation. For these patients, oral conscious sedation exists.
Oral conscious sedation is a pill that you take about an hour before your appointment (you’ll need a buddy to drive). This pill will relax your entire body for several hours so we can get your work done while you are completely relaxed. Many patients even fall asleep while we work!
IV Sedation – For patients with moderate to severe anxiety or fear, we offer IV sedation. IV sedation is done as you arrive at the office. The drug will relax you so deeply that you fall asleep quickly. We can adjust the level of sedation you are receiving throughout your procedure to ensure that you are at ease during the entire process.
IV sedation is rare among dentists in Chicago. It requires special certifications and education on the part of the doctor, but the results are fantastic for you, the patient!
Creating a New Experience for Your Longterm Health
Why bother with all of this? Because we want YOU to have a long life ahead of you! Your oral health does have an impact on your overall health. If you neglect your teeth for years at a time, the evidence will be throughout your entire body.
If fear is keeping you from achieving oral health, it is time to take strides to change that. Contact our office today to learn more about how sedation dentistry can change your dental experience and life. We can’t wait to show you how easy to dental appointment can be!