Spiders, planes, and public speaking. There are many objects and situations that provide mild, moderate, to severe fear. But there is something about visiting the dentist that seems to trigger dental anxiety in a sizable portion of Santa Cruz. In fact, there are estimates that state that as many as 75% of the adult population live with dentophobia (fear of the dentist).
It’s unclear why 3 out of 4 people seem to fear the dentist:
- Maybe it’s sitting with an open mouth.
- Maybe it’s the tooth discomfort.
- Maybe it’s the fear of bad news.
- Maybe it’s the gloves or the drool.
- Maybe it’s a bad experience in the past.
One of our commitments at Peabody Dental Care is to reduce your anxiety as best we can, because dental fear is more than an anxiety problem – for many patients, that fear can keep you from visiting the dentist every 6 months as recommended by the American Dental Association. The best way to get the care you need is to reduce your fear of the dentist, and that means delivering outstanding support here at our Santa Cruz dental office.
For Severe Anxiety: Oral Sedation
Although a significant percentage of people have dental anxiety, most can still visit the dentist in times of need. But some people struggle with severe dental anxiety. At that level of fear, it’s difficult for people to get the treatment they need even when struggling with tooth pain.
We know that there are patients that simply cannot get the dental care they need because of their fear. Which is why Dr. Peabody is very pleased to offer oral sedation, also know as “sedation dentistry.”
Oral sedation dentistry is an approach to reducing dental anxiety, where the patient is sedated but conscious through their procedure. By using the medical tools at our disposal to reduce fear, you get the treatment you need and – while you’re awake and alert – it’s going to feel almost like you “woke up” to the procedure getting completed. There are two options that we use:
Types of Oral Sedation
There are different approaches to oral sedation depending on the level of anxiety:
- Medicinal Sedation – For anxiety so severe that you may struggle to get into the dental office, we often recommend medicinal options. These are anxiolytics, benzodiazepines, or other medications that are safe, non-addictive, and help you feel calm and relaxed so that you’re able to come to the office. Note that we recommend scheduling a ride from a trusted friend or loved one.
- Inhaled Sedation – Though technically considered a separate form of sedation, it does enter through the mouth and nose. For those that are able to come to the office without issue, but still experience anxiety while here, we may consider using an option like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to relax the body while here so that your procedure goes smoothly.
Oral conscious sedation requires additional education, and not every dentist in Santa Cruz is able to provide it. But Dr. Peabody has undergone considerable training to make sure that you’re only given safe, effective oral sedation options for your health and your anxiety needs.
If you struggle with moderate to severe dental anxiety, it’s still important to get the dental care you need. Contact our office today to learn more about not only our oral sedation options, but also the way that we’ll make sure you’re relaxed and comfortable your entire time with us.