One of the reasons you avoid seeing the dentist could be your fear of pain. You should consider opting for procedures that can eliminate your fear and control your anxiety. Anxiety in severe cases leads to the development of a dental phobia. Controlling anxiety is important as it will prevent you from developing chronic pain. Therefore, your anxiety must be dealt with. Due to medical advancement, pain and anxiety management in dentistry have become fairly easy. Certain procedures have emerged which can help you tackle your dental fear. Stating below are some procedures in which you can opt for the management of anxiety and pain.
- Topical anesthetics- These are anesthetics that are applied with a pad to numb the areas where dental work might be undertaken. It is to opt before the shot of local anesthetics injection.
- Laser drills- Laser treatments have advanced in the dental field too. Here, lasers are used to extract tooth decays. And also to set up the surrounding enamel for the cementing to be done. They cause less pain and sometimes the pain is negligible so the need for anesthesia is reduced.
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)- This is the most common form of sedation used in the dental field. It can help you feel relaxed within seconds and the effect wears off instantly as well. A person can drive and resume other activities within a 2-hour frame. There is no eating restriction before this procedure or even after. In cases of general or oral anesthesia, this is not the case.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)- This is an alternative to local anesthesia and is delivered electronically. The area is numbed by the electrically sent impulses. You could also opt for another procedure called cranial electrotherapy stimulation. In this process, the passage of electricity to your brain causes relaxation. This could drastically lower your anxiety as well. The intensity of the current can be adjusted by the patient in both these cases. The after-effects of these procedures are none. You could easily drive back to your home or resume with any other activity.
- Intravenous sedation- In this procedure, a sedative would be injected through your veins of arm or hand. This is a procedure that is reserved for patients with an incredibly high level of anxiety. It is also used on those undergoing extensive treatments. Additional oxygen is supplied to the patient to make him feel as comfortable as possible. If your dentist is licensed to administer intravenous sedatives, you may opt for them. The procedure is a very relaxed one and you will be conscious throughout it. On the other hand, oral sedation is generally not prescribed. It is so because it causes the patient to be lethargic and the sedative effects take time to work.
- General anesthesia- This procedure is more appropriate in a hospital where the patient is put to slumber throughout the procedure. You will be closely monitored if you are administered this anesthesia. The effects of general anesthesia include an abrupt drop in blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. This process is used only when the patient is undergoing extensive dental treatment. This is usually the last resort when the patient appears to be very anxious about the dental procedure.
Other than these administering sedatives, there are techniques to curb anxiety and pain. They include distraction strategies like listening to music or wearing virtual reality headsets. Anything that can take your mind off the dentist working on your teeth! Other relaxation techniques involve making the environment more conducive or meditating. Sometimes, even breathing exercises help in reducing muscular tension. Biofeedbacks are also an option that involves psychiatrists. You learn to alter your behavior and approach the stress with a calm mind. Other processes involve acupuncture, support groups, mental health therapy, and hypnosis. Dentophobia clinics are also available to cater to your specific anxiety needs.
Your overall health is taken into account by your dentist before prescribing any of the procedure to you. You must also be aware and list down all your health conditions and medications you are on. Determination of anxiety and choosing an approach to tackle your fear is personalized. The benefits of good oral care even for patients with high anxiety levels outweigh the risk of sedation. For pain and anxiety management in Houston, contact Greenway Pediatric Dentistry. They specialize in the management of anxiety, especially of children. They are known for handling their patients with gentle care.