Dental anxiety is used to define anxiety, stress, and fear experienced before or during a dental sitting. It has been associated with specific triggers like needles, drills, dental instruments and sometimes, the whole dental sitting. Some people experience dental anxiety on levels so high that they completely avoid visiting the dentist. Dental anxiety or dental phobia affects your oral health adversely and leads to worsening of oral diseases. You may experience dental anxiety due to any of the following reasons:
- A traumatic dental or medical experience in the past.
- Trauma to the head and neck in the past.
- General traumatic experiences like abuse.
- Generalized anxiety, depression, claustrophobia or stress disorder.
- Feeling of invasion while the dentist is looking into your mouth.
- Fear of losing control.
- General trust issues
However, we at Murray Dental Care provide an array of techniques to decrease pain and control dental anxiety or dental phobia.
What are the symptoms of dental anxiety?
Some of the signs and symptoms associated with dental anxiety are as follows:
- Persistent sweating.
- Racing heartbeat or increased heart palpitation rate.
- Low blood pressure.
- Losing consciousness.
- Crying for no evident reason.
- Panic attacks associated with withdrawal.
- Missing dental appointments purposely or postponing them regardless of the complexity of the situation.
What are the various anti-anxiety options?
- Topical Anesthetics
Topical Anesthetics are applied to the treatment site before injecting any local anesthetics. A swab is used to apply it topically to the mouth or gums in order to numb the surface. Since this is performed without employing any needles, you will feel relaxed and comfortable.
- General Anesthetics
General anesthesia puts the patient to sleep for the entire duration of the dental procedure. You will be treated in a hospital setting to combat risks including irregular heartbeats and sudden fluctuation in blood pressure. General anesthesia is administered using a needle but you won't feel any discomfort due to the prior application of a topical anesthetic.
- Electronically Administered Anesthesia
Electronically delivered anesthesia or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation provides an alternative to injecting local anesthesia. An adhesive pad is placed on the face and electrical impulses are used to numb the treatment area. To make the patient feel more in control, he is provided with a hand-held unit to control the level of stimulation.
Your dentist may also use cranial electrotherapy stimulation to electronically anesthetize the area. This technique passes electricity to the brain for relaxation purposes. Again, the patient controls the intensity of the current. Effects of electronically administered anesthesia are reversed as soon as the device is switched off. You can resume your daily activities immediately and don't have to wait for the anesthetic to wear off.
- Intravenous Sedation
Intravenous sedation provides pain and anxiety control. A sedative is injected into the vein of the patient's arm or hand. This technique is used for patients suffering from extreme dental anxiety. Intravenous sedation provides extreme relaxation and allows the dentist to perform the dental procedures without interruptions.
- Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide or laughing gas helps patients feel relaxed. Patients suffering from dental anxiety are made to inhale this gas through a rubber face mask. It is one of the most common anti-anxiety techniques used in dental offices.
- Laser Drills
Laser drills are used to remove decay and damage from teeth. They cause less pain and help the patients feel relaxed and comfortable.
- Distraction Strategies
You can deal with your dental anxiety by distracting yourself with something pleasant. Some dental clinics also provide virtual reality goggles to engage you in visually pleasant images. Your dentist may also use guided imagery with extreme detail to take your mind off the procedure.
- Systematic Desensitization
With systematic desensitization, your dentist slowly exposes you to the things that incite fear in you. Instead of exposing you to all the dental equipment at once, he will gradually drag your attention to the equipment one-by-one.
Please communicate with your dentist regarding anxiety issues and your dentist will choose the best anti-anxiety option for you. At Murray Dental Care of Cupertino, our entire team of dentists and hygienists is committed to providing supreme quality dental care to our patients and their families. If you are inclined towards taking the first steps to improve your dental health and hygiene, call us at (408) 253-5277 to book an appointment.