For people who have less-than-stellar teeth, the development of dental implants is an exciting advancement in dental technology. When the technology was first developed, some people were not good candidates for the procedure. Nowadays, dentists can help just about everyone with dental implants. Unfortunately, some of the people who need dental implants the most may still not be a good candidate. Why? Fear. Here is what you should know about addressing your dentophobia before scheduling your appointment.
What Is Dentophobia?
Dentophobia, sometimes called odontophobia, is a fear of going to the dentist. It is an incredibly common phobia. This anxiety usually starts in childhood. It isn't even necessarily caused by a bad experience; some people are just fearful of someone poking around in their mouth and are anxious they will experience pain. Many people who have bad teeth got there because of their fear and avoiding cleanings, checkups, and dental care.
Can Dentophobia Be Cured?
Like any phobia, it's more a matter of managing your fears effectively rather than "curing" them. Some people find a few visits with a therapist can help them develop relaxation skills. Listening to music can be calming. There are also medicinal options that can help the dentophobia sufferer, but not all options will be right for everyone.
Local anesthetic—A local anesthetic is not much help to most people with dentophobia as it involves the dentist using a needle to inject lidocaine or another similar drug into your mouth and gums. This usually requires multiple injections. While it's not excruciatingly painful and your mouth will soon go numb, it's also not exactly pleasant, especially for someone who is afraid to begin with.
Nitrous oxide—This is a gas that you will breathe in through your nose. Many people call it laughing gas as it can make you feel lightheaded and relaxed. For the anxiety-ridden person, however, this can also work the other way, further intensifying the fear. One benefit of nitrous oxide is the effect stops almost immediately after the gas is removed. Nitrous oxide is often used in conjunction with a local anesthetic, and the combination is sufficient for many people undergoing an implant procedure.
Intravenous anesthesia—This is an anesthesia that is given via an IV in your arm. It is usually done in an office setting. The medications used can vary, but opiates and benzodiazepines are the usual choices. This can potentially be problematic if you have struggled with drug addiction previously, but otherwise, intravenous anesthesia is a good choice for dental implant procedures. Like general anesthesia, you will be completely out, but the respiratory risks are less.
Sedatives—Some dentists specialize in sedation dentistry, which usually refers to intravenous anesthesia. But it also isn't uncommon for the dentist to prescribe a mild oral sedative for the patients to take one half-hour before their appointment.
General anesthesia—General anesthesia is usually done in a hospital setting and is reserved for extreme dental procedures, such as impacted wisdom tooth surgery.
Prospective patients who are interested in dental implant services should choose a dentist who specifically deals with dentophobia. This will help to reassure your pre-appointment jitters. When you are at your appointment, the dentist will be sure to schedule extra time with you to thoroughly explain everything and answer all your questions before scheduling the procedure.Share