Many people have anxiety visiting the dentist. Often it is because of a traumatic childhood experience or the fear of not being in control, and it can be tough to overcome. Sometimes, fears are linked to something specific, like sounds or smells or fear of feeling pain. Other times, it is general fear of being in the dental office.
We take a holistic approach with the cornerstones of trust, kindness, and conscious sedation.
We begin by listening to all patient concerns. We then talk about options and create a plan together so there are no surprises. When everything is clear, we will schedule our first appointment. When possible, we start with a simple and short appointment. The sedation medication is taken in the office 30 min prior to the appointment. It makes people more relaxed and sleepy.
If anything is bothering a patient, we ask them to let us know right away so we can make it better. Even if it is an itchy nose or needing to use the bathroom.
We freeze very gently - it takes time, but going slowly makes it much more comfortable getting numb. We also have TAC20 gel available, which is an extra strong numbing gel that makes freezing even more comfortable.
We have all the technology for getting completely numb: Interligamental and interosseous freezing greatly helps for those who have had a hard time getting numb in the past.
For children and for some adult cases, we have Silver Diamine Fluoride, which can stop decay, and can often allow us to fix cavities without freezing.
TVs and headphones, as well as terribly corny jokes, really help people through their anxiety.
Occasionally, when fears are simply too much to manage, we will refer to an office that can provide deep sedation or general anesthetic. We can continue to provide cleaning appointments and checkups if needed.
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