If you have dental anxiety or a fear of going to the dentist, you're not alone. Avoiding the dentist, however, means that you miss out on professional oral health care, and put yourself at risk for serious health problems.
At Dentistry for Life in Philadelphia sedation dentistry is offered to our anxious patients so you can get the dental work you need when you need it and maintain healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime.
If the thought of picking up the phone to schedule a dental appointment puts you on edge, you are in good company. A fear of the dentist prevents many people from receiving the oral healthcare they need. In fact, dental anxiety is the leading reason many Americans refuse to go to the dentist in the first place.
Patients who are scared of the dentist can have one or more reasons to justify their fears. Some factors that can dial up anxiety about going to the dentist may include:
Regardless of the reason for your dental anxiety, Dentistry for Life will ensure your appointment is completely stress-free.
We offer modern sedation dentistry in a peaceful, relaxed setting to put your nerves at ease.
Additionally, our staff and dentists understand not all patients enjoy going to the dentist. Therefore, they will treat you with the utmost care to ensure your visit is a pleasant one. So, when you come to Dentistry for Life, you will finally be able to put any negative associations you have of the dentist behind you for good.
Our advanced sedation dentistry in Philadelphia is capable of calming your nerves so you can sit back, relax, and receive the best-in-class dental care you deserve. We offer two options to reduce dental anxiety during your visit.
Nitrous oxide sedation, also known as laughing gas, is a sedative that your dentist can administer to promote relaxation during your dental visit. They will place a mask on your mouth through which the gas flows to quell your anxiety without putting you to sleep. Patients typically report feelings of mild euphoria and deep relaxation.
Oral conscious sedation provides deeper relaxation compared to laughing gas. It is usually reserved for patients with more severe anxiety. Instead of having a mask placed over your mouth, you will take a pill to induce sedation. While you may feel extremely drowsy or even fall asleep, you will be able to respond to questions. Feelings of grogginess can last up to 24 hours, so someone will need to drive you home afterward.
Many patients with dental anxiety find it is easier to avoid going to the dentist and spare themselves a stressful experience. While procrastination has a short-term benefit, it is not a wise decision in the long run for several reasons.
Dental problems rarely go away on their own. It does not take long for a small issue to turn into a major one. That may set you up for an emergency dental visit and possibly trips to a primary care provider, urgent care facility, or hospital. This can be a panic-inducing experience for people who have anxiety surrounding routine dental examinations. If you have dental anxiety, it is a good idea to speak to a qualified Philadelphia dentist who specializes in sedation dentistry. Receiving the dental care you need now can save you an unanticipated panic attack and costly procedures later on.
With sedation dentistry, you can reap the following benefits:
Patients that benefit from sedation dentistry may resist going to the dentist due to:
At Dentistry for Life, our dentists administer the ideal amount of laughing gas or oral sedation to ensure you will not feel any anxiety during your procedure. This eliminates the need for other types of sedation dentistry, such as:
The most commonly prescribed dental related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the "benzodiazepine" family. Drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within "fear" receptors in the brain.
While intravenous sedation can lessen your nerves, many patients prefer to avoid needles. This is especially true for individuals who have a fear of injections and those who have had an adverse reaction to IV sedation in the past. Many of our patients prefer laughing gas or oral sedation because they have a similar relaxing effect and fewer after effects.
Once the effects of sedation dentistry kick in, you can have any necessary dental work done free of worry or fear. Afterward, you can take comfort knowing your dental health has improved as a result of taking charge of your oral health.
The side effects of laughing gas wear off in approximately five minutes. Some patients experience a bit of nausea, fatigue, shivering, sweating, or dizziness, but these effects are generally short-lived and nothing to worry about. After nitrous oxide, most patients feel comfortable enough to drive themselves home and go about their day as usual.
Oral sedation provides a deeper level of relaxation, so a trusted friend, family member, or aid should be present to drive you home. The side effects are similar to laughing gas but tend to be more pronounced. Therefore, you should plan to take the rest of the day off from work and social activities.
Good dental care is essential. You can be diligent about brushing and flossing your teeth at home, but the bottom line is that your cleaning tools can't do the work of a dentist's tools.
If dental anxiety keeps you away from the dentist, you can develop dental complications that will, eventually, require major dental intervention. Instead of spending half an hour getting your teeth cleaned, you'll spend significantly more time and expense getting necessary repairs to restore your oral health.
At Dentistry For Life we strive to provide you with the best sedation dentistry Philadelphia has to offer. We offer both mild and moderate types of sedation dentistry:
Laughing gas is a mild sedation that completely relaxes patients but still allows them to respond to the dentist. A small mask is placed over the nose so the gas - the calming effects of which kick in very quickly - can be inhaled the entire time we are taking care of your teeth. Laughing gas creates a euphoric feeling while also minimizing discomfort. When the mask is removed, the laughing gas wears off quickly.
Oral sedation usually comes in the form of a pill that is taken prior to your appointment or administered during the appointment. Oral sedation is often recommended to the most anxious patients, especially those who are undergoing multiple or lengthy procedures. The sedation can make you feel like the procedure is completed quickly and puts you into a completely relaxed state, but you are still conscious enough to respond to the dentist. You will need someone to accompany you home from the dentist after oral sedation because it takes several hours for the effects of the sedation to wear off.
Sedation dentistry makes it possible for you to endure all your dental appointments, especially if you have several oral health issues that need to be addressed or an invasive restoration.
Our Philadelphia dental office is designed to make our patients feel welcomed, relaxed, and at home. We pride ourselves on providing gentle dentistry to all patients, especially those who are particularly anxious about being in the dentist's chair.
We understand that your anxiety or phobia can have various causes - perhaps you had a bad experience at the dentist as a child, you're embarrassed about the condition of your teeth, you have a severe gag reflex, you don't like the idea of the dentist's hands being in your mouth, or you are worried about pain. Pinpointing the source of your fear is important, but the most important thing is to manage the negative feelings you're having about being at the dentist.
Along with sedation dentistry, we encourage our patients to bring along any creature comforts that will help them relax, like noise-cancelling headphones, music, a stuffed animal, or a good luck charm.
Whatever helps you calm down at home can help you reach that same state of relaxation at the dentist. At Dentistry for Life, we do everything in our power to give you a good dental experience. We will not judge your apprehension, or the state of your teeth and gums. Our goal is to simply help you have good oral health and develop a positive and safe feeling about visiting our dental office. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn more about sedation dentistry and our practice.
Will oral sedation put me to sleep?
No, you will remain conscious. Some patients fall asleep, but it does not induce unconsciousness like full anesthesia.
Philadelphia dentist offers saturday and sunday appointments.
Our office is located at 1601 Walnut Street #1217 in Philadelphia. We offer appointments seven days a week to make dental care convenient for you and your schedule: