- Dental Anxiety Management
Our approach to dentistry takes patient comfort beyond the scope of the treatments at hand, and extends our concerns to the tranquility of every patients’ experience in our dental chair.
Dental Anxiety Management
Reducing Dental Anxiety
To ensure tranquility, we offer sedatives, distractions, and a dental staff trained to ensure end to end patient comfort.
At Beautiful Dentistry we have a 3 Step Approach to reducing Dental Anxiety.
Step 1: Open Communication
We encourage our patients to tell us about their fears, and ask us questions:
- If it was your tooth, what would you do?
- How will this treatment feel while it is being performed, and how will it feel after it is complete?
- What are the risks of this treatment, and what are the risks of not taking the treatment?
All questions do not have to be asked verbally, many patients find it easier to write about their fears or jot down their questions on paper.
We make patients fully aware of the procedures through explanations and demonstrations, through our Tell-Show-Do Approach. Patients are also provided the pros and cons of treatment, treatment alternatives, and their levels of comfort during and after treatment.
Step 2: Taking it Slow
Structuring the treatments to address the small and easy things first allows our patients time to reflect upon their experience at our office. We build trust with our patients based on the quality of our work.
Step 3: Stopping & Taking a Break
It is easier for both the dentist and the patient to stop and take a break in fixed intervals, particularly for lengthy dental treatments. Discuss with your dentist and their assistants how long you will need to be in the dental chair for your treatment, and how many breaks they recommend in between. Decide upon a stop signal, which can let the dentist and the assistants know when you need a break. A signal can be as simple as raising a leg or hand, or using a clicker such as a snapple bottlecap or dog clicker.
Sedation to Reduce Dental Anxiety
Sedative drugs can be requested by the patient during dental visits if they feel any anxiety or suffer from dental phobia. Although sedation is not required for periodontal procedures, sedation, in addition to anesthetics, allows the dentist to manage patient comfort and alleviates the patient’s pain and anxiety.
At Beautiful Dentistry, in addition to providing a range of sedation options depending upon the procedure, from conscious to unconcious sedation, we offer sedation alternatives such as movies and music.
Patients can choose from the following options when undergoing dental treatment:
Patients may choose to maintain full awareness during the procedure with local anesthetic.
Commonly called “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide provides relaxation but the patient is still generally aware and able to respond.
Oral Conscious Sedation
A drug-induced state of reduced awareness and decreased ability to respond. Medications are taken orally. If you choose conscious sedation, you will be able to respond during the procedure. Your ability to respond normally returns when the effects of the sedative wear off.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
A drug-induced state of reduced awareness and decreased ability to respond. Medications are administered directly into the blood stream. You will be able to respond during the procedure. Your ability to respond normally returns when the effects of the sedative wear off.
If the patient chooses sedation, the patient is required to arrive with a companion who can drive the patient home after the procedure. At the completion of the dental procedures, the patient will be allowed to recover from the effects of the sedation before being allowed to go home with the companion. The patient should not drive or operate machinery while taking sedatives for 24 hours after the procedure.
Sedation dentistry is ideal for people who have:
- A high level of fear or anxiety
- Suffered past traumatic dental experiences
- Difficulty in getting numb
- An overactive gag reflex
- Very sensitive teeth
- Complex dental problems
- Time only to squeeze several procedures into a limited time period
- A fear of needles and shots
- A strong dislike of the noises, smells and taste associated with dental care
- TMJ related difficulties where it is uncomfortable to open their mouth for extended periods
General Anesthesia: When Conscious Sedation Isn’t Enough
Though the techniques of conscious sedation described above effectively manage more than 90% of all fearful dental patients, some may require general anesthesia in order to relieve their dental anxiety during their dental treatment. When general anesthesia is used, the sedation dentist will employ a person who is trained and certified in general anesthesia to manage the patient while the dentist carries out the dental treatment. At Beautiful Dentistry these procedures are typically performed in the hospital.
The dental procedure is performed in the presence of an Anesthesiologist, whose sole responsibility is to ensure the safety of the sleeping (unconscious) patient while the dentistry is being done.
Sleep dentists using general anesthesia have received a minimum of two years of specialized advanced training and have been certified by their state Board of Dental Examiners. Monitors will be employed to help ensure the safety of the procedure.
It is important for patients to voice concerns and dental fears with their dentist so arrangements can be made to perform dental procedures at the patient’s maximum level of comfort.
At Beautiful Dentistry it is our modus operandi to work out a treatment plan that will best accommodate the patient’s needs.