Dental Phobias and the Role of Anesthesia

Dentist standing above patient with tools - Dental Anesthesia Vallejo, CAIn the United States, it is estimated that nearly three in four adults experience some amount of fear when it comes to visiting the dentist. Some have such severe dental phobia that they do not even maintain a routine a basic preventative dental care. Unfortunately, these ones are actually at a higher risk of gum disease, tooth decay and other dental issues that could require more invasive interventions. 

What is a dental phobia?

A dental phobia is a feeling of anxiety that is centred around negative feelings about the dentist and dental procedures. There are many terms used interchangeably to refer to fear of the dentist. These include dental anxiety, odontophobia, dentophobia and dentist phobia. Often, the cause of a dental phobia is a past traumatic experience at the dentist. Other causes include the negative way dentistry can be portrayed in the media or negative interaction with a dentist or even general doctor. 

Besides increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, dental phobia can also carry the emotional costs of having discoloured or damaged teeth. As a result, people may be less inclined to smile and be so embarrassed of the appearance of their teeth, that other aspects of their life begin to suffer. 

How Can Anesthesia Help?

Anesthesia and sedation have dual roles. They both mitigate physical pain as well as help you feel relaxed or actually sleep through a procedure. There are various types of anesthesia that may be utilized. During your preoperative consultation here at Rotary Way Oral Surgery, you can discuss with the surgeon which option would be the best for you. 

Local Anesthesia 

This is an option that is applied by injection. It then causes your tissue to feel numb prior to the surgery. It can be used on its own or in combination with another form of sedation, depending on the type of procedure being performed. 

Nitric Oxide

This is also known as laughing gas. It is applied via a small mask that is put over your nose during the procedure. When nitric oxide is applied, you do not lose consciousness, but instead become very relaxed. It also has the effect of decreasing the physical discomfort that may come along with the procedure. Soon after removing the mask, you can expect the effects of the nitric oxide to subside. 

IV sedation 

This is a sedative drug that you receive directly into your veins. For this reason, it takes effect more quickly. With this method, the dentist has the ability to adjust the level of sedation as needed. At times, IV sedation is paired with local anesthesia, as IV sedation does not diminish pain.

General Anesthesia

This is the strongest variety available. When this is administered, you will sleep throughout the procedure. It can be administered through IV or gaseous form, and a combination of the two is often used. This also works to block pain and ensure you are comfortable.

Am I a Good Candidate for Anesthesia and Sedation?

There are many types of sedation available, and one may be more appropriate for you than another. Your dentist can help you identify the best option for your needs. If you’re looking for an expert opinion on your upcoming procedure, you need look no further than the team here at Rotary Way Oral Surgery.

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