Many people fear going to the dentist. It’s estimated that anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of the adult U.S. population experiences severe dental anxiety or dental fear. Overall, nearly 75 percent of people report feeling anxiety before a dental appointment or procedure. Everyone has a different reason for their fear. Often, resolution is as easy as a patient understanding why they feel this way and addressing those fears.
Sometimes the reason for their fears might be the noise and scary-looking equipment. Other times it’s simply the fear of the unknown. If a particular procedure isn’t explained to a patient in a way they can understand, it’s perfectly natural for them to be anxious. Many folks experience dental fear because of a previously bad experience that has left an indelible impression; an impression so traumatic that it’s hard for them to shake it off.
Besides having a bad dental experience directly, indirect associations can have an effect as well. For instance, a family member or a friend may have had a traumatic dental experience and their fear and anxiety is indirectly transferred to another family member or friend. And of course negative portrayals of dentists and dental procedures in the media can bring about subtle fearful associations. Think Marathon Man and the dentist Dr. Christian Szell, the Nazi war criminal who tortures the protagonist played by Dustin Hoffman.
Break the fear – Break the cycle
The downside to dental fear is that patients often put off their dental appointments. When they do finally see a dentist, their situation has probably gone from bad to worse. For instance, a cavity can easily lead to a painful abscess if not addressed in the early stages. If patients miss their dental cleaning, plaque can accumulate and can develop into gingivitis and worse. If a patient foregoes treatment in the early stages of gingivitis it can lead to advanced gum disease which destroys the bone that holds your teeth in. It’s a domino effect, and the strategy of staying away to avoid an imagined dental nightmare easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Of course, fear sometimes leaves folks very limited choices in the matter of their teeth and ultimately, waiting to correct a problem till it gets worse only reinforces their fear. Very often patients wait until the pain is unbearable and they need emergency treatment. This only reaffirms a patient’s anxiety about a worst case scenario, and the cycle of fear begins all over again.
Break the Cycle of Fear with Sedation Dentistry
To break the cycle of dental anxiety that keeps patients away and results in emergency situations, we offer sedation dentistry. This is an effective and non-invasive method that many people find both comfortable and relaxing. It’s a safe method because it can relax and calm patients without the dangers associated with anesthesia involving loss of consciousness. At our Southfield Dental office, we speak with every patient about their concerns, fears and anxieties before administering any medications. We do a full consult regarding your health status, explain the procedure and then customize your medication to achieve either anxiolysis (anti-anxiety) or conscious sedation (deeper levels of sedation).
Are you a candidate for sedation dentistry?
Oral sedation may be right for you if you experience extreme dental fear or anxiety. Check out our video of recommendations, and find out why many patients choose it as an option. Here we’ve highlighted just a few benefits to oral sedation:
- We discuss the fears and anxieties you may be having prior to prescribing any medication or performing any procedure.
- We customize the dosage to the right level of sedation that’s just right for you.
- No memory of the sights, smells and sounds of your dental visit.
- Improved dental health without fear or anxiety.
- Safe and time-tested method with years of study behind it.
- Receive a sedative for complete relaxation prior to your treatment.
At Dr. Mark Langberg DDS, MAGD, it’s important to us that every patient feels calm and relaxed at every visit. Our team is trained and certified on the latest advancements in dentistry so that you get the best treatment possible without fear and without the drama. Don’t let fear hold you back from getting the dental treatments you need for better health. Call us at 248-356-8790 and discover the difference a great dentist makes!
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790