Fear and Anxiety, a Common Problem in Dentistry

It’s estimated that as much as one-half the people who don’t go to the dentist regularly are fearful.

The causes of dental fear are not always easy to determine. Sometimes an individual will point to a bad dental experience that occurred years before, often during their childhood. Sometimes a person may know they have problems with teeth and build up in their mind that dealing with these problems will involve pain. Over time the fear grows and the problem worsens in the person’s mind.

It has been my experience that if you can get a fearful anxious individual to make the first step and go to the dental office for a no treatment examination with x-rays the stage is set to overcome their fear. At our practice, we start the process with a friendly voice on the telephone and we listen to the anxious patient, assuring them that they are not alone in their fears. We make the time to answer their questions in a sympathetic manner and explain our process clearly and calmly.

At Smiles By Design, we have multiple solutions for helping an anxious patient. These include treatments such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral conscious sedation. When a new patient comes in with anxiety, we set them at ease right away, by making their first visit non-threatening. During the first meeting, Dr. Brother and the patient discuss the patient’s dental issues and solutions.

sedation dentistry
Sedation Sleep Dentistry

With oral conscious sedation dentistry, the dental visit is as easy as taking a nap. The patient takes a small pill and we do our work. Using a safe oral medication, a patient can sleep through their treatment. What is more, is that with oral conscious sedation, most patients won’t even remember the visit. They remember arriving and taking the pill, but the actual dental work done during the procedure is a blur or not remembered at all.

Many times, anxious patients only requires the use of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is simply a gas which is inhaled through a small personal mask worn only on the nose. Within minutes the patient experiences a relaxed and euphoric state, hence the term “laughing gas”. Nitrous oxide does not affect any other part of the body but the brain and once breathing nitrous oxide ceases the patient feels normal as 100% of the gas has been exhaled. With the exception of people who have obstructive lung disease or blocked nasal passages, virtually anyone including children can be treated safely with nitrous oxide.

For more information please see:

Dr. David Brother, DMD, FAGD
Lexington Dentist ,  Smiles By Design
57 Bedford Street, Ste 110,
Lexington, MA 02420