Afraid of the Dentist? You Are Not Alone
It's common to be afraid of the dentist. Over 70% of patients suffer from dental anxiety. Continue reading to find out how we make the uncomfortable comfortable.
Afraid of the Dentist? You Are Not Alone
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Admin
post date
May 2023
post autor
Admin
post date
May 2023

Afraid of the Dentist? You Are Not Alone

Many patients are daunted by the idea of seeing a dentist. Around 36% of adults in the United States fear dental treatment, with 12% reporting extreme anxiety. 3% of all people in industrialized countries avoid dentists altogether out of fear (“dentophobia”). 

If we told any of those 36% of people that dental anxiety is a thing of the past at The Florida Dental Implant Institute, they might not believe it without seeing some proof. We can’t promise a cure for dental anxiety, but we can promise modern methodologies that combine empathy with technology to give patients the calmest experience possible when they come in for their implants.

Understanding Dental Anxiety

There are many causes of dental anxiety, but they often relate to a patient’s past experiences. In the first published article that included the term “dental anxiety,” the author described the phenomenon as a form of “anticipatory anxiety,” which is a fear of anxiety.

This is significant because it explains why so many dental patients are still anxious even when they don’t have to receive significant procedures. These patients may not be afraid of pain, or even of having their teeth worked on – they’re afraid of the anxiety-inducing situation itself. This is something that a lot of dental practitioners fail to understand when they try to help patients overcome this fear.

Certain smells, such as those created by dental molding materials or anesthesia tubes, can set off the fear. For some patients, even lying back in the chair can lead to feelings of dread, which some researchers have linked to a history of sexual abuse.

Every patient’s experience is unique. Our approach to mitigating dental anxiety involves a combination of patient education, empathetic care, and advanced sedation methods. We believe that understanding the procedure can significantly reduce anxiety. Therefore, we ensure that our patients are well-informed about their treatment plan and that all their questions and concerns are addressed.

Sedation Dentistry at The Florida Dental Implant Institute

One of the most effective ways we help our patients manage their dental anxiety is through sedation dentistry. We offer two main types of sedation methods: oral sedation and IV sedation.

  • Oral Sedation: This method involves taking a prescribed medication before your appointment. The medication helps you relax during the procedure. You'll be awake and able to respond to any directions the dentist may give, but you'll feel significantly less anxious.
  • IV Sedation: For patients with higher levels of anxiety, we offer IV sedation. This method allows for a deeper level of sedation, and the effects are almost immediate. You'll be in a state of deep relaxation but still responsive.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation as an anxiety-relieving practice has become well-known for its benefits to both the patient and the surgeon. In addition to relieving anxiety, conscious sedation can provide other helpful effects that not only encourage patients to relax during their treatment but may even make it easier for them to see dental professionals in the future.

  • Pain relief: In addition to relieving anxiety, both oral sedation and IV sedation have proven pain-relieving effects on patients since our brains cannot register pain when under the influence of sedatives.
  • Less gag reflex: Conscious patients may have involuntary reflux during treatment, which can be dangerous during certain procedures and uncomfortable no matter what the oral surgeon is doing. This gag reflex is turned off by sedation.
  • Less anticipatory anxiety: Since so much dental anxiety is a fear of fear, sedation dentistry can help patients convince their brains to feel safer during future treatments. The more that patients can replace unpleasant childhood experiences with relaxed adult ones, the better they will be equipped to start undoing their phobia rather than reinforcing it.
  • Better treatment outcomes: Your oral surgeon can work faster and more effectively when you are under the influence of sedatives since any movement can cause issues. You’ll be in and out of treatment much more quickly. 

Making the Uncomfortable Comfortable

We understand that there’s no way to remove 100% of the anxiety that people feel toward dental procedures. Patients who receive dental work are placed in vulnerable positions that often feel reminiscent of stressful childhood experiences.

Our goal at The Florida Dental Implant Institute is to listen to our patient’s needs and accommodate them without causing additional stress. We always take the time to educate our patients on the treatment options available to them, including sedation, and what they can expect from the outcome. Dr. Eberle uses his experience performing over 40,000 successful dental surgeries to educate new patients about their unique situation, ensuring that even if there’s still going to be some anxiety, our patients always feel heard.