Keeping You Safe and Comfortable In the Dental Office
March is “National Patient Safety Awareness Week”, which is a perfect opportunity for us to show you all the ways we help keep you safe and comfortable during your dental experience. Up to 15% of Americans have dental phobias that keep them from visiting a dental office. However, our services use top-of-the-line technology designed to make your dental services quicker, safer and more pain-free. Here are a few ways we help our patients love their dental visit!
Do You Visit the Dentist?
Do you see your dentist at least twice a year? If not, you may leave yourself at risk for oral health diseases. The American Dental Association recommends that every person visit the dentist at least twice a year for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings.
Studies show that only about 65% of people are visiting the dentist each year. Many of those are only getting to a dental office once a year instead of the recommended twice a year as well, which raises their risk significantly for cavities and oral issues growing severe. If you do the math, that 35% that doesn’t go to the dentist is about 30-40 million Americans each year that skip this part of taking care of their oral health. Busy schedules is a major culprit from skipping the dental office. However, dental phobias are one of the most common reasons as well.
Do you fear the dentist? Many people do. In fact, in a study by Columbia University College of Dental Medicine—reported by Colgate—they found that 9-15% of people have dental phobias severe enough that they avoid dental offices. That means, they don’t get dental work done that may be crucial for preventing tooth loss and disease. It also means that the routine checkups to find problems while they are small, never happen.
A dental phobia is more than simply being scared of a dental office. It is something that can cause physical illness or health problems when thinking about or being in a dental office. The most common symptoms a person with a dental phobia will get include:
- Feeling like you physically can’t handle being in or near a dental office
- Intense anxiety or fear with dental services, even non-invasive ones
- Physical illness
- Fainting or dizzy spells
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble sleeping before dental visits
- Crying or intense negative feelings towards dental work
Feelings like these are associated with phobias rather than simply not liking something. Many people may feel some anxiety for a root canal or oral surgery, but it won’t affect them physically or mentally to the degree that a phobia will. We know that many patients deal with some level of anxiety in a dental office, which is why we try to make your dental experience one that is comfortable and one that makes you feel safe.
Procedures in a Dental Office
Many dental office visits are straightforward and short. We do several dental cleanings and comprehensive exams for each patient each year. These are not invasive. They consist of examining your mouth by looking at your teeth and gums to see how your oral health is doing. A dental cleaning will be a more thorough brushing and flossing than you would have at home.
The tools used for this are spinning toothbrushes, a metal scraper tool that removes some plaque and food from your teeth, floss, and toothpaste. We also use tools that will suck out water from your mouth or will spray water to rinse your teeth and gums. These are tools used at your biannual visits. Often, there is television, music or other activities you can do while you or your child gets their cleaning done.
If you need procedures for cavities, oral surgery or more invasive procedures, we do all of those in the same office with the same people. To help those with phobias, we have different options you can choose from to get your dental work done while feeling safe.
We want you to feel safe and comfortable in a dental office. For some patients, that means they don’t want to remember much about their dental experience, yet they want to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Some of your options in a dental office to help you feel comfortable include oral sedation, laughing gas and IV sedation. You can choose what you want even for the simplest of procedures:
- Oral sedation. This is a prescribed sedative that you take 30 minutes or less before your dental visit or procedure. Some oral sedatives help you to simply feel calm and secure at the dental office. Others will help you be pain-free during your visit, or you will get a mix. Many oral sedatives can allow you to be awake enough to converse, but you won’t remember the actual dental work.
- Laughing gas. This gas is named because of the happy feeling it can give you, which is great for dental phobias. Laughing gas is nitrous oxide, which is a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. Breathing this through a simple facemask will give you some light sedation and relaxation during your visit. You can even have laughing gas in scented flavors.
- IV Sedation. This is not commonly used for dental cleanings or exams, but for work that would normally involve shots or drills. If you don’t want to be awake at all for your dental visit, you can request IV sedation. All your work is done for you without you remembering the dental work.
We don’t want any of our patients to fear dental work, especially when they have tooth pain or other oral issues that are getting severe. When oral health is bad, it can cause other health problems in the body. To learn what equipment, sedation and tools we use or how we help children feel safe and secure in the dental office, call Dr. Ania’s office today at (303) 872-9940!