I'm Nervous About My Dental Treatment — What Are My Options?

Mar 06, 2024
I'm Nervous About My Dental Treatment — What Are My Options?
Like millions of others, the idea of getting dental work done raises your anxiety levels, but you still want to keep your teeth and gums healthy — and so do we. Here are some options for easing your next visit.

You know that healthy teeth and gums are great for your smile and essential to your overall health and wellness. You also understand that delaying routine dental care can create more significant problems down the road that require more dental work. Despite this logic, your dental anxiety still stands in the way of your oral health.

You might find some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone — more than one-third of Americans (about 36%) have dentophobia, which is the term we use for dental anxiety or fear.

Here at Pure Smiles, Dr. Leila Shahbazi and our team acknowledge that even though we’re happy to see you, the feeling may not be mutual. So, we want to do what we can to put you at ease while we tend to your dental health.

Here’s how sedation dentistry can make your next visit with us more pleasant.

Taking the edge off with oral sedation

If your anxiety isn’t too severe and you can get someone to drive you to and from your appointment with us, we can try oral sedation. With this approach, we give you an oral medication that you can take an hour or two before your visit, putting you in a more relaxed but conscious state.

Complete relaxation with laughing gas

If your dental anxiety is pretty high, we can turn to nitrous oxide or laughing gas. When you get comfortable in our chair, we place a mask over your face and deliver the gas, putting you in a fully relaxed state. 

The reason it’s called laughing gas is because you can also experience a mild euphoria. You also might feel tingly in your body, and your limbs can feel heavy.

With nitrous oxide, you’re still conscious and responsive.

IV sedation for deeper relaxation

If you want to really check out during your visit, we can try IV sedation. After we insert the IV, we deliver a sedative that goes directly into your bloodstream for maximum effect. We can control how much sedative we provide, which is usually enough to keep you semi-conscious. 

Once we finish our work, we remove the IV, and you re-emerge very quickly, at which point someone can drive you home. 

Entirely unconscious with general anesthesia

If your dental anxiety is severe, we’ve found that IV sedation or laughing gas are usually more than sufficient to relax you. If we need to perform extensive dental work or oral surgery, general anesthesia might be an option, but this need doesn’t arise often.

As you can see, no matter your level of dental anxiety, we have you covered. We also encourage you to try other relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, and listening to music or a podcast during your visit. In fact, we’re happy to work with you until we find the perfect combination of relaxation techniques to make your visits with us more pleasant.

To learn more about how we can address your dental anxiety, please contact our office in Scottsdale, Arizona, to make an appointment.