How to Deal with Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is a relatively common concern, with reactions ranging from mild stress to outright fear at the thought of visiting the dentist. Potential sources for this phobia include past traumatic experiences at the dentist, noisy instruments, fear of judgment, surgical implications, or other factors. However, postponing or avoiding dental visits can lead to a decline in oral health and an increased risk for a number of serious conditions, including gingivitis, tooth infections, and even tooth loss. 

Thankfully, there have been advancements in the dental industry to help patients with various degrees of dentophobia. Read more below about how sedation dentistry and finding the right dentist can help patients cope with dental anxiety and focus on maintaining optimal oral health.

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry can offer patients who struggle with dental anxiety a more relaxed experience when they visit the dentist. Whether you are receiving routine preventative care or undergoing a more involved procedure like dental implant placement, our dentists are committed to your safety and comfort. Here at Saco River Dentistry, we offer two different sedation techniques:

  • Oral Conscious Sedation (Pill) – This oral medication eases patients into a very relaxed state with the comfort of knowing they will be closely monitored and cared for during treatment. Our own Dr. Nicholas Roy and Dr. Zachary Reagan are certified by the State of Maine Dental Board to administer moderate sedation (a distinction shared by only 3% of dentists in the state), and they can customize a safe sedation medication plan for you. Most patients retain little to no memory of their appointment after oral conscious sedation, making it an ideal choice for those who suffer more severe levels of dentophobia.
  • Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) – During “laughing gas” sedation, a mask is gently placed over the patient’s nose to begin a flow of oxygen and nitrous oxide, creating an immediate calming sensation. Patients remain conscious and responsive throughout their treatment, but the gas keeps them in an enhanced state of relaxation. Once the dental treatment is complete, the mask is removed, causing the effects to wear off. Most patients are able to resume regular activities fairly quickly after their appointment.

Find a Dentist Who is Sympathetic to Dental Anxiety

Choosing a dentist that values a patient’s mental needs as much as their dental needs is vital to ensuring a positive experience. All of our providers understand the importance of providing a compassionate and comfortable experience for our patients, and we aim to help every patient we see develop a healthy and stress-free relationship with oral healthcare. For those suffering from dental anxiety, we recommend finding a practice with a dental care team that is friendly and welcoming, takes the time to discuss your concerns, offers personalized accommodations—such as signaling or planning for breaks during treatment—and assures your comfort and safety throughout your dental visit. 

To learn more about the benefits of sedation dentistry or the compassionate and attentive approach to care provided at Saco River Dentistry, please contact us today.