You may feel nauseous as you drive to your dental appointment, or the sound of the dental drill may put you on the edge of a panic attack. Fear of dental work covers a spectrum ranging from moderate but controllable fear to intense phobia.
Whether your fear is mild or severe, you’re not alone.
More than half of adults have some anxiety about going to the dentist. At least 1 in 5 adults has such severe anxiety they don’t schedule regular checkups. And 9%-15% never visit a dentist because of their extreme anxiety.
It goes without saying that kids also struggle with dental anxiety, with estimates suggesting that 9% of children fear going to the dentist.
They’re all at risk for dental decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.
The experts at Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS understand your challenges. They know it’s not easy, but they’ve helped many patients overcome dental anxiety, offering comfort items and ensuring a pain-free experience with relaxation dentistry (sedation dentistry).
The first step toward overcoming your anxiety is simple: Talk with us. Tell us about your anxiety, and we work with you, suggesting steps we can take to help you get past the issues. Many of our patients struggle with:
When children have anxiety, it often helps to take things slowly, introduce them to the staff, and explain what to expect as we go along.
We also provide items that make it easier to relax and take your mind off your dental work. For example, we have warm blankets, scenic videos, headphones, and neck pillows. But for people of all ages, the best tool for easing anxiety is sedation.
Sedation eases pain, relieves anxiety, and even helps you overcome issues like a fear of dental instruments. As experts in dental sedation, we often recommend one of two types:
You inhale nitrous oxide through a mask covering your nose. The gas rapidly dissolves in your bloodstream and quickly helps you feel calm and relaxed, but you won’t go to sleep.
Nitrous oxide causes a euphoric feeling that helps you disconnect from the dental work, making it easier to tolerate. It also tends to make things seem funny, which is why it’s called laughing gas.
This type of sedation is safe for children and adults and works well to reduce anxiety. Combining nitrous oxide’s anti-anxiety effect with a local anesthetic to eliminate pain is often all you need to handle dental procedures.
The effect of nitrous oxide wears off just as quickly as it takes effect because you eliminate some of the gas every time you exhale. After we remove the mask, it’s out of your system in a few minutes.
Oral sedation is a medication you take an hour before your dental work. Adults take a pill or capsule, but we may offer it to children in liquid form.
The medication significantly reduces anxiety, dulls pain, and makes you less aware of your surroundings. Though oral sedation doesn’t put you to sleep, you may feel drowsy and relaxed enough to doze off. We can adjust the dose based on your level of anxiety.
Oral sedation takes hours to wear off. As a result, you need someone else to drive you home from the office.
If you have questions about relaxation dentistry, want to discuss your anxiety, or need to schedule an appointment, call Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS in La Grange, Illinois, or book online today.