I'm Afraid of the Dentist: Can You Help?

I'm Afraid of the Dentist: Can You Help?

Going to the dentist is a natural fear for many people. They’re worried about pain, or they aren’t sure what the dentist will find, or they just don’t like lying down with someone’s hands in their mouth.

Whatever the case, as their regular dental visit approaches, they begin to feel anxious and unnerved. They might even look for excuses to skip the visit.

If this sounds familiar, rest assured that you aren’t alone or out in left field. Dr. Minh Nguyen and the entire team at Portrait Dental understand your fears. Here’s how they can help.

What is oral sedation?

Sedation dentistry uses sedatives to help people who have dental anxiety relax as they visit a dentist’s office for treatment. At Portrait Dental, Dr. Nguyen prescribes a medication you take by mouth about an hour before your visit. It will enter your bloodstream, where its calming, relaxing effects begin to take hold.

You may or may not fall asleep, but you’ll still be able to hear Dr. Nguyen, follow any directions he gives, and communicate with him, if necessary.

How does oral sedation help?

The biggest benefit of oral sedation is just that it allows you to even make it to the dentist. Without the medication, many people would probably not make their appointments, so dental problems could go unchecked for years.

Your experience will also be better because you’ll be comfortable and relaxed. The medicine will loosen up your muscles, ease tension, and prevent you from moving around and fidgeting throughout the procedure.

Because you’re calm and your dentist can work more quickly, oral sedation can also result in fewer appointments if your dentist can accomplish multiple treatments in each visit.

What types of oral sedation are there?

The medicine used in oral sedation is usually part of the benzodiazepine family, which works by reducing the activity in the fear receptors in your brain. Depending on your individual situation and health history, your dentist may recommend a sedative hypnotic to bring about a feeling of calm and relaxation. They may even prescribe anti-anxiety medications to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Oral sedation works well for most patients, but it may not be a good option if you have congestive heart failure, kidney disease, liver disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. You should also tell your dentist if you’re pregnant or have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

If you’re anxious about visiting the dentist, let the team at Portrait Dental know when you schedule your appointment. They’ll ask a few questions and get you set up for oral sedation, so your experience will be as pleasant as possible at every future visit.

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