- December 24, 2015
If you care about your family, then you care about their oral health. Because you care about their oral health, you know they should visit the dentist regularly.
If you or someone in your family is afraid of the dentist, however, that can make trips to the dentist office a problem for everyone. If you are afraid of seeing the family dentist, how do you think your kids will feel when they sit down in the chair? If your kids are afraid to go to the dentist now, what will happen when they become adults and start their own families?
Family dentistry is as gentle as it can be at Shorewood Family Dental Care. Our dentists have incorporated the latest techniques, such as sedation dentistry, to help you and your children feel calm, comfortable, and relaxed.
Sedation dentistry may be the key to getting you and your family the preventive dental care that everyone needs.
Understanding Dental Anxiety
Dental fear is more common than you may realize. An estimated 20 percent of Americans have some level of anxiety about going to the dentist, and many of them avoid going to the dentist completely because of this fear. That only makes it more likely they will need a procedure that increases their anxiety at some point in their lives.
To better understand your or your family member’s fear of the dentist, it’s helpful to know your level of fear and the things that cause your fear. Dr. Norman Corah developed a scale to measure dental anxiety. The questionnaire (which you can find here) is just two pages.
These questions ask how you would feel if you had to go to the dentist tomorrow, how you feel when you are waiting for your turn in the dentist’s chair, and how you feel when the dentist or hygienist is getting certain tools ready. The second page lists a variety of factors that may affect your or your child’s (or your spouse’s) fear of the dentist.
Knowing the your level of anxiety and the source of those fears can help you when you are scheduling your appointment. By sharing your concerns, we are better able to explain what type of sedation dentistry can work for you or someone else in your family.
Dealing With Your Dental Fear
Dental fear can come from a lot of places. If you are an adult, you may have had a bad experience with a dentist when you were younger. Some people are afraid of needles, even though we don’t use them during a standing cleaning and exam. For children, the dentist office can be scary because its unfamiliar and so are the tools that dentists and hygienists use.
Other people are afraid to ask questions. At Shorewood Family Dental Care, we welcome your questions. Asking questions can help you understand why we do what we do, and that may make it easier for you to receive the treatment you need.
By avoiding the dentist, you are risking your teeth. Even if you brush and floss daily, you may not recognize the early warning signs of tooth decay, enamel erosion, and gum disease. If you let those issues go untreated, you could wake up one morning with a dental emergency. That’s exactly the kind of situation where needles or drills might be required to save or remove your teeth.
We would much rather see you and your family every six month for gentle cleanings and exams. Preventive care is an essential part of our family practice, and that’s why we offer sedation dentistry for our patients of all ages.
Sedation Makes It Better
Sedation dentistry is about helping you, your child, or your spouse feel as comfortable as possible. Fear of the dentist does not happen overnight in most cases, so you should not expect to overcome your anxiety in one trip.
We know coming to the dentist will never be like going to an amusement park. We are hopeful visits to the dentists will become an acceptable part of your life with time and patience.
Depending on your anxiety level, we may recommend a specific form of sedation dentistry.
For people with moderate anxiety, nitrous oxide is usually effective. This fast-acting gas is safe for children and adults. It will ease your anxiety and allow your hygienist to give you a routine cleaning. When it’s over, we turn off the gas, and within a few minutes, you’ll be ready to drive home.
Patients with high anxiety may prefer oral conscious sedation. Before you come to our office, you will take a pill. It’s important to have someone else bring you because they will need to take you home as well. The effects of this type of sedation dentistry last for hours.
With oral conscious sedation, you may not remember anything about your procedure, although you will receive all the benefits of having it done.
Patients with severe anxiety or patients who are undergoing more complex procedures may receive IV sedation. This form of sedation must be administered by a licensed professional, and our own Dr. Funk has been licensed for more than 10 years.
As with oral conscious sedation, you most likely won’t remember your procedure, and you will definitely need a ride home.
Call To Learn More
Like we said, we don’t expect your dental fear to disappear with one visit, and you shouldn’t either. Working together, we will do everything we can to make each trip a little easier. Call Shorewood Family Dental Care to find out more about how sedation dentistry can help your family receive gentle preventive care.
Contact us by calling 815-768-1615 or using our online form.