If anxiety or fear when visiting the dentist prevents you from visiting your dentist, please contact our office to find out what solutions can be offered to reduce those feelings so you maintain the health of your mouth. Patient comfort and relaxation of our patients during dental visits is of our top priority.
Some common dental fears include:
- Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth.
- Fear of gagging.
- Fear of injections.
- Fear of loss of control.
- Fear of not becoming numb when injected with local anesthetic.
- Fear of pain.
- Fear of the dentist as a person.
- Fear of the hand piece (or the drill).
Tips for reducing fear or anxiety:
Open Communication with our staff – Though it can be hard to talk about fears with a stranger, our dental staff is extremely understanding and can take extra precautions during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.
Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment. The easiest way to resolve this is to agree on a “stop” signal such as raising the left hand. Treatment will immediately stop and the issue addressed.
Bring a portable music player – Bringing your own music to relax you and take your mind off of dental treatment can significantly reduce anxiety. It will also help to drown out certain sounds of dental equipment that bother patients.
Sedation – If there is no other way to cope, oral sedation or IV sedation offers an excellent option for many people. Such options will reduce or eliminate anxiety and make time go much faster in the dental chair.
Oral sedation is administered one hour before the dental procedure. Patients much come to the dental office to take the sedation and not leave the office while waiting for it to take effect.
The oral sedative will take the edge off of someone’s anxiety but will not put you under completely. This means that you are still able to communicate with us any concerns or problems you may experience during the dental procedure.
The two main oral sedatives used in dental practices are Ativan or Triazolam. The drugs can have an amnesiac effect which is an added benefit to this type of sedation.
An adult must pick you up after the dental procedure and ideally stay with you for the rest of the day. This is for safety and liability reasons.
It is important to make sure you and your dentist are on the same page for the treatment to be done before taking the sedation. Often times, unexpected findings can occur during dental treatment that can change a dentist’s recommendation. If you have not confirmed these possibilities and consented to one over the other your dentist may choose to the stop the treatment altogether and discuss it again when you are not sedated.
Oral Sedation Q&A
What are the contra-indications to oral sedation?
- Any known drug allergies
- Narrow-angle glaucoma
- Severe respiratory disease (COPD)
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Impaired kidney or liver function
- Depression/bipolar disorder/psychoses
- Chronic bronchitis
Can I eat before my procedure?
What instructions should I be prepared to follow after having oral sedation?
Do not perform any hazardous or strenuous activities or operate motorized equipment until the next day
Do not ingest alcohol or take any medications for the day unless otherwise approved by your dentist
The whole team at Cowichan Valley Dental is amazing, and I have never trusted a dental office more. They are professional while still being fun, and my teeth have never looked better 🙂
- Maaike Aarsen