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If you feel nervous before you visit the dentist, you’re not alone. People of all ages around the world experience some form of dental anxiety. In some cases, the dental anxiety is so intense that patients avoid seeking the care and treatment they need for their teeth. Unfortunately, this can make dental problems worse and end up perpetuating a cycle of unhealthy teeth. There are a number of reasons why patients experience anxiety. Luckily, there are ways that your dentist can address this anxiety and help you work through it. At Mill Dam Dental Care in Virginia Beach, we offer sedation dentistry solutions to help you feel more comfortable at the office. Here are some of the most common reasons why patients experience dental anxiety and how sedation can help you conquer it.

Negative Past Experiences

One of the biggest reasons why patients avoid the dentist is because they have had a negative experience with dental care in the past. If you’ve had an appointment where you felt pain or where the dentist made you feel uncomfortable, it can be difficult to move past that. Looking for a dentist that is sensitive to your needs and your feelings can help you move on from these negative experiences and get the care that you need.

Fear of Pain and Discomfort

Another huge reason why so many people avoid the dentist is because they have a fear of pain. There are many stereotypes in media about dental care being painful, and you might have heard negative stories from others about their dental care. 

While some dental treatments are uncomfortable, a good dentist will do everything they can to minimize this discomfort and keep you relaxed. Your dentist should also create an environment where you feel comfortable enough to ask for pain medicine. In many cases, the fear of pain is far worse than what actually happens during your dental treatment.

Lack of Control

Many people don’t enjoy the dentist because it requires you to put a lot of trust in your dental professionals. During your dental appointment, you won’t have much control over what is happening, which can feel overwhelming to many people. Your dentist will also need to get close enough to you to put instruments in your mouth. Having someone else so close to your personal space makes some patients feel uncomfortable. 

Although this lack of control can feel overwhelming, there are things your dentist can do to help you feel more comfortable. Before any treatment starts, your dentist should have an in-depth conversation with you about what to expect during the procedure. This will also give you a chance to ask any questions you have. Ideally, this can help you feel more in control of what is happening during the procedure.

Existing Dental Problems

Many people who have existing dental issues also have anxiety about going to the dentist. They may feel embarrassed about their dental health or feel uncomfortable discussing their dental issues. However, dentists are trained to help with any type of dental issue and are here to help you fix the problem, rather than judge you. This is why it’s so important to find a dentist that you trust and feel comfortable talking to about your oral health.

Previous Head & Neck Trauma

Some patients who have experienced head and neck trauma in the past struggle with visiting the dentist. Injury to the head and neck can leave this area of your body sensitive, and you may experience a negative reaction to dental treatment. If you struggle with head and neck trauma, sedation can be very helpful for dental treatment.

Existing Anxiety Disorders or PTSD

Dental anxiety can also serve as a side effect of many different mental health conditions. If you struggle with an anxiety disorder, PTSD, or even depression, situations like going to the dentist can feel very overwhelming. This can happen even if you haven’t had negative dental experiences in the past. Informing your dentist about your mental health can help them provide better and more compassionate care during your treatment.

How Sedation Dentistry Can Help You Manage Dental Anxiety

There are many reasons why patients experience anxiety, but dentists have many tools available to help their clients feel more comfortable. One solution we offer at Mill Dam Dental are sedation dentistry procedures. We offer varying levels of sedation to help our clients feel both physically and mentally more comfortable during treatment. 

We offer three different types of sedation dentistry to suit patient comfort levels. For patients with mild to moderate dental anxiety, we offer either inhaled minimal sedation or oral conscious sedation. With inhaled minimal sedation, patients inhale a small amount of nitrous oxide gas, which helps them relax while staying awake. Inhaled minimal sedation wears off very quic

Oral conscious sedation is slightly more intense – patients take a sedative in tablet or liquid form. In addition to helping patients relax, it also can make them feel slightly drowsy. For patients with severe dental anxiety, we offer IV sedation. This puts patients completely to sleep. This means they will not be aware of anything happening during the procedure. Both oral conscious sedation and IV sedation require patients to have someone else drive them home.

Sedation helps minimize pain and anxiety during dental procedures. It is especially helpful for intensive procedures like root canals or extractions. However, we can also use sedation dentistry for cleanings and other routine procedures for patients that have severe dental anxiety. Sedation provides peace of mind for anxious patients, as they know they will be relaxed during the procedure.

Additionally, sedation dentistry can be very helpful to the dentist as well. Working on a patient who has a strong gag reflex or strong muscle tension can be very difficult. Sedation dentistry helps the patient to relax so that the dentist can work more quickly and efficiently.

These are several reasons why patients experience anxiety and you are informed as to how sedation helps. Dental anxiety is very common and is nothing to be embarrassed of. If you struggle with dental anxiety, sedation dentistry can help you get the care you need in a more comfortable environment. If you’re looking for sedation dentistry in a comfortable and welcoming environment in Virginia Beach, contact us today to schedule an appointment.