Dental anxiety is not uncommon. Some studies show that up to 75% of Americans experience some level of dental-related fear, and 20% avoid dental care because of it. If you fear dental work, we want you to know that our first priority is making you feel comfortable and safe at our office. We also provide sedation dentistry methods in our Plano, TX office to ensure your comfort and relaxation during our general dental treatments.
Dental Anxiety vs. Dental Phobia
Dental anxieties and phobias present themselves in various ways, and specific fears vary from person to person. Typically, dental anxiety may be mild to moderate. They often form a general worry and apprehension when considering an upcoming procedure. Dental phobia is a more intense experience, with patients feeling an overwhelming, irrational fear of dental work. This can sometimes cause them to avoid care altogether.
Whatever your individual level of anxiety may be, our office is committed to making sure that your visit is as comfortable, quick, and easy as possible. There are many solutions for dental anxiety, and we are ready to help.
Here are a few popular methods for easing anxiety in the dental office:
Informing us about what you are afraid of is a great place to start. Often we can quell a fear simply by giving you correct or updated information. We will always keep you informed before, during, and after your procedure, ensuring you understand what is happening and why we are doing it.
Many patients find it helpful to practice controlled breathing or to find distractions inside the room.
Watching Television/Listening to Music
We offer noise-canceling headphones and TVs mounted above you for easy watching. Feel free to bring your own music if you’d like! This is a great way to keep calm and pass the time while in the chair.
Depending on the nature of your procedure, various types of sedation may be available, including oral sedation.
Let us know if you want to take a short break by signaling with your left hand during treatment.
Sedation Dentistry in Plano, TX
We offer a variety of dental sedation methods to ensure your comfort in our office:
Laughing Gas for Dentistry: Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas you can breathe. This method has been dentistry’s primary means of sedation for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe; the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide. The patient can breathe independently and remain in control of all bodily functions. Additionally, the patient may experience mild amnesia and fall asleep, not remembering what happened during their appointment.
There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide:
- The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
- There is no after-effect such as a “hangover.”
- Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs.
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
- It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. Its relaxation and pain-killing properties develop in 2-3 minutes.
Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide
You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, MS, a cold, or other difficulties with breathing.
Before proceeding, you may ask your dentist for a “5-minute trial” to see how you feel with this sedation method.
Oral Sedation Options
Do you experience high levels of anxiety when visiting the dentist? You may be a candidate for Sedation Dentistry. Many of our doctors are Board Certified to administer (oral conscious) sedation, commonly called “Sleep Dentistry.”
Advantages to patients include:
- Treatment is completed when you are in a more relaxed mood.
- You will have less difficulty sitting through a lengthy procedure.
- Multiple treatments and full mouth restorations can occur during the same visit.
- Less discomfort after treatment.
The most commonly prescribed dental-related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family. Drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within “fear” receptors in the brain.
There are two different types of Benzodiazepines:
- Sedative-Hypnotics: These drugs induce calm, including drowsiness and even sleep. This sleep state is a form of hypnosis, a form of physiological sleep.
- Anti-Anxiety Drugs: These are drugs that relieve anxiety and induce a state of calm and relaxation.
While benzodiazepines act as sedatives AND anti-anxiety drugs, some are highly targeted at areas within the brain that focus on sleep. Others act more specifically and target fear centers in the brain. Higher doses usually act as sedatives and induce sleep, while lower doses reduce anxiety without sedation.
Benzodiazepines are also Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants (i.e., there can be a decline in blood pressure and breathing). It is important to note that they shouldn’t be mixed with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol. It’s important that you utilize the dose your dentist or doctor recommends. It is possible to overdose, which could lower your breathing to dangerously low levels, resulting in coma or death.
Please note that you shouldn’t travel on your own after you’ve taken any of these drugs. Ensure you have an escort, even if you travel by bus or foot! It’s easy to become disorientated.
When not to take benzodiazepines:
Some of these drugs can affect your liver and heart. It’s important to check with your practitioner and/or pharmacist. You should be sure to inform your doctor or dentist if any of the following apply:
- Known allergy to the drug
- Narrow-angle glaucoma
- Severe respiratory disease (COPD)
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Impaired kidney or liver function
- Depression/bipolar disorder/psychoses
- Chronic bronchitis and some other conditions.
It’s also important to let us know if you are taking other medications. There could be possible drug interactions.
Our office offers our patients the option of Intravenous Sedation, also called Dental Intravenous Anesthesia, for their dental treatment.
Intravenous Sedation helps you to be comfortable and calm when undergoing dental procedures. Your treatment can be completed under intravenous sedation if you so desire. Intravenous sedation, or “IV sedation,” is designed to enable you better to undergo dental procedures while very relaxed. It will enable you to tolerate and not remember those procedures that may be very uncomfortable for you.
IV sedation will essentially help alleviate the anxiety associated with your treatment. You may not always be asleep, but you will be comfortable, calm, and relaxed, drifting in and out of sleep.
If you choose the option of intravenous sedation, your IV sedation/anesthesia is administered and monitored by a licensed anesthesiologist. This eliminates the costly expense of having your treatment in an operating room or same-day surgical facility.
How is the IV Sedation Administered?
A thin needle will be introduced into your arm or hand vein. The needle will be attached to an intravenous tube through which medication will be given to help you relax and feel comfortable. At times a patient’s vein may not sustain a needle for the length of the procedure.
In this case, the medications will be administered and the needle retrieved. Both scenarios will achieve the same desired level of conscious sedation. Once again, some patients may be asleep while others will slip in and out of sleep. Some patients with medical conditions and/or on specific drug regimens may only be lightly sedated and not sleep.
The goal of IV sedation is to use as little medication as possible to complete the treatment. With IV sedation, a constant “drip” is maintained via the intravenous tube. At any time, an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary. IV sedation is very safe!
Different “levels” of sedation are available in our office along with IV sedation. There is nitrous oxide analgesia and oral sedation or nitrous oxide in combination with oral sedation – basically, we can tailor the anesthesia to your need or desire. Once again, all modalities are administered and monitored by an anesthesiologist in the safety and comfort of our office environment.
Sedation dentistry is also a great option for the elderly, the disabled, or simply- the fearful!
Sedation Dentistry for the Elderly
As we age, our oral health becomes more important than ever. Periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss, which affects nearly every part of our daily lives. To lead full and active lives, we need our teeth and gums. They allow us to enjoy food, support speech, and good conversation, and facilitate digestion. Dr. Lazaris, Dr. Lo, Dr. Moore, Dr. Morrison, Dr. Yazhari, and Dr. Pepper are dedicated to treating elderly patients with care and commitment to comfort and health.
Elderly patients tend to avoid dental visits for various reasons, including more pressing medical concerns, anxiety about treatment, the hardship of transportation, or fixed incomes. Once their oral health has reached an unmanageable point, fear and embarrassment keep these patients away from the dentist.
For elderly patients embarrassed or fearful of their current oral state, sedation dentistry allows our doctors to treat these conditions. In contrast, the patient remains relaxed and unaware until “awaking” to an improved oral state!
Sedation Dentistry for the Disabled
It may be especially difficult for people with disabilities to obtain access to proper dental care. They must find a skilled and compassionate dentist who can provide services for which some dentists may not be qualified. At Texas Dental, we provide the expertise, state-of-the-art-equipment, and dedication to assisting special-needs patients necessary to ensure great oral care for our patients.
Disabled patients may face added challenges in maintaining their oral health. Their disability may make it difficult to brush or floss regularly; they may also suffer a severe gag reflex or dry mouth due to medication. The doctors can meet these challenges with sedation dentistry and are skilled at easing the patient’s fear. Using sedation, we can combine visits into one, making everything easier to manage.
Sedation Dentistry for the Fearful
Dental phobia is a real, often overwhelming reality for thousands of people. Negative previous dental experiences, fear of needles or drills, and severe gag reflexes are some reasons people feel extreme anxiety when considering visiting the dentist.
If you suffer from dental phobia- fear no more! At Texas Dental, we are committed to understanding the very real nature of your fears. Not only will our staff treat you with delicacy and care, but IV sedation will allow you to experience dentistry in a whole new way. While engaging in a pleasant sleep-like experience, the doctors will be hard at work to ensure you “wake up” with the desired results.
Receive Comfortable Dental Care
Oral health is important for the health of your whole body. Don’t let fear stand in the way of good dental care! We can help you get the care that you need. Call 972-636-4522 or request a dental appointment online.