Does the thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair fill you with dread?
Would you rather swim in a pool of sharks than step foot in a dental office?
If so, you can count yourself among millions of terrified patients. Dentists have received a bad reputation over the years, largely due to television shows and movies that portray them as evil doctors who enjoy causing pain.
This stigma could not be further from the truth. Dentists care very much about the comfort of their patients and at Lifesmiles Dental Care located in Scottsdale on Shea Blvd one block west of Tatum Blvd, our amazing doctors and caring staff provide gentle treatment and sedation options to help our patients feel calm and comfortable while they undergo dental implant procedures.
Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from receiving the care you deserve. Come visit our comfortable office, and we will do everything we can to allay your fears.
To learn more about our methods of sedation, or to schedule a consultation, call our Scottsdale, AZ dental office today.
What Causes Dental Anxiety?
Dr. Paul Nielson and his colleagues here at Life Smiles Dental Care understand that many patients may stress out over a dental appointment.
Others, however, feel downright terrified. Their fear may keep them from visiting the dentist for years, which only makes things worse. By the time they finally make it to a dental office, usually because they experience a very painful toothache, they generally need a lot of work done. Patients have provided many reasons for their fear of going to the dentist. A few of the most common include:
- Pain – The most common reason given by patients for their fear of the dentist, fear of pain can keep people from visiting the dentist for years. Much of this fear results from watching television shows and movies that portray dentists as enjoying the pain they inflict on their patients. For older patients, the fear may stem from memories of visits they attended as children, before many of the advancements we have experienced in dental pain management. Dr. Nielson uses a gentle touch when working on your teeth, and tries to make his procedures as minimally invasive and pain-free as possible.
- Past Experience – Many patients’ fear comes as a direct result of a terrible experience they had with another dentist in the past. They may have visited a doctor who performed work on a tooth without ensuring he numbed correctly first. A patient may have undergone a painful procedure, then found out later that he did not need it.
- These patients live in fear that they will experience the same thing the next time they go to the dentist. At Life Smiles Dental Care, our doctors will include you in all treatment planning, and will talk you through every step of the procedure, explaining why we need to perform it, and we will never perform a procedure until you sign off on it.
- Loss of Control – Many patients feel that they will lose all control of their situation once they sit in the dental chair. These patients may have seen a dentist who took advantage of their stress and anxiety pressuring them into treatments or procedures they did not want.
- They often feel as though they must do what the dentist says. When you visit our office, you are the “boss” and have the final say on all treatment options. Dr. Nielson will recommend treatment options, but will never pressure you into any treatments you do not want.
- Embarrassment – Patients who stay away from the dentist for a long period of time due to their anxiety worry that when they finally come in for an appointment the doctor or staff will lecture them or treat them badly due to the condition of their teeth and gums after so much time.
- Dr. Nielson and the staff at Life Smiles Dental Care assure you that you will never experience this kind of behavior in our office. We understand your fears, and we will not judge you. The fact that you have overcome your fears enough to take the first step of visiting the office to receive the treatment you need deserves praise, not judgement.
While dental anxiety keeps people away from the dentist’s office for a long time, most patients will overcome their feelings of stress and fear when they experience pain and realize they can’t stay away any longer.
Some people suffer from dental phobia, however, which can cripple them with fear. Many of these patients feel so much anxiety about the dentist that they cannot even call the office to make an appointment.
Just thinking about an impending appointment may cause them to lose sleep the night before. As they sit in the waiting room, these patients become increasingly nervous, to the point of sometimes becoming physically ill. Occasionally, these patients experience such intense terror that they require coaxing to walk back to the exam room, and some may even break down and cry as they sit in the chair.
Our staff recognizes the level of fear experienced by patients with dental phobia, and we encourage them to take their time walking to the exam room, even offering emotional and physical support along the way, if needed. For many, just having someone hold their hand as they walk back provides the support they need.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Our compassionate doctors offer sedation dentistry to our patients who fear going to the dentist or find it hard to relax in the dentist’s chair. Some patients with very low pain tolerance or sensitive gag reflex may require sedation, as will those who suffer from dental phobia.
When you come in for a consultation, the doctor will talk with you about your anxiety and recommend one of our sedative options to help you feel calm and relaxed while in the chair. We offer sedation for all procedures from simple cleanings and filling cavities to more complicated procedures like root canal therapy or placing dental implants.
The doctors can even complete several treatments, that would normally require multiple visits, in just one day with you under sedation. Sedatives work by reducing your brain’s ability to recognize pain and discomfort while easing feelings of stress and fear. By the time the sedative wears off, most patients find they have little or no memory of the procedure.
Forms of Sedation We Offer
At Lifesmiles Dental Care we offer a couple of different forms of sedation. The doctor will discuss your anxiety with you and help you decide which option is right for you during your consultation, based on the procedure being performed and your level of stress and anxiety. Our sedation options include:
- Nitrous Oxide – Sometimes called “laughing gas” due to the feeling of euphoria it can induce, nitrous oxide is a gas that you inhale through a mask. The gas will leave you feeling calm and relaxed while the doctor works. The effects of the gas will begin to diminish as soon as we remove the mask, leaving you free to return to work or any other activities.
- Oral Sedation – If the doctor recommends oral sedation, you will take a sedative in pill form prior to your appointment. The sedative will begin to relax you almost immediately, and wears off slowly, so you will need a responsible driver to bring you for your appointment and take you home after.
- As the doctor works, you will find yourself in a state of complete mental and physical relaxation. While under sedation, you can converse with the doctor, but you will be unaware of any details of your treatment, and may not have any memory of the doctor working on your teeth. Most patients who use oral sedation can resume normal activities by evening.
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Many patients feel that the biggest benefit of sedation dentistry is that the doctor can perform several procedures in one visit that would normally take several visits to complete.
So, if your anxiety has kept you from attending regular checkups, and you now need to have several cavities filled and a couple of root canals, the doctor can complete it all in one visit.
Some of our patients may spend five or six hours undergoing a very long procedure or several short ones, and when the doctor finishes and the sedation wears off, they will swear they were in the chair no more than ten minutes.
The fact that most patients, when the sedative wears off, have little or no memory of the procedure at all is another amazing benefit of sedation dentistry. This means that patients who previously avoided the dental office as they would a wrestling match with a rattlesnake can now enjoy a relaxed, comfortable experience at Lifesmiles Dental Care.
Call Us for a Consultation
If you suffer from dental anxiety, and would like to visit a dental office where the staff strives to make patients as comfortable as possible, contact Lifesmiles Dental Care In Scottsdale Of Shea And Tatum Blvd Today and schedule a consultation with one of our gentle dentists.