Wisconsin Dental Association

Tongue ‘n’ Cheek... and Teeth, too! In this issue: Easing dental anxiety Straighten your smile Eating disorders and oral health Protect your lips this summer Happy 70th anniversary, community water fluoridation! Sign up for FREE, quarterly Tongue ‘n’ Cheek…and Teeth, too! patient e-newsletter, so you don’t miss important oral health news and dental tips! Easing dental anxiety There are varying degrees of dental anxiety and phobia. At the extreme, a person with dental phobia may never see a dentist. Others may force themselves to go, but they may not sleep the night before. Dental anxiety and phobia is common among children and adults. In fact, an estimated 92 million dental patients avoid the dentist because of fear, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. There are varying degrees of dental anxiety and phobia. At the extreme, a person with dental phobia may never see a dentist. Others may force themselves to go, but they may not sleep the night before. It’s not uncommon for people to feel sick or, in some cases, to actually get sick while in the waiting room. People develop dental anxieties and phobias for different reasons. “Many of my fearful patients have been avoiding the dental office for 30 years. The fear is so real that it is easier to avoid the dental care and live with the pain associated with dental disease. However, these diseases don’t go away and only worsen over time. Once the fearful patient becomes motivated to see the dentist to relieve the pain, the solution normally is significantly more invasive, painful and costly due to the amount of time the disease has had to cause damage. This only increases the anxiety and increases future avoidance. We call this the cycle of fear.” Dr. Barrett Straub, a general dentist in Port Washington, said. Establish a signal, such as raising your hands when you need a break. “You can help calm jitters by avoiding drinking coffee and eating sugar at least six hours before your dental visit. I also recommend my patients concentrate on breathing naturally in the chair, since holding your breath increases anxiety,” Dr. Straub said. Sedation dentistry Using medication may be recommended by your dentist to help relax during dental procedures. Overcoming ‘cycle of fear’ The prospect of dental work does not need to make one feel fearful or anxious. If it does, here are several strategies to help ease your nerves: • Communicate with your dentist - Share your fears and concerns so your dentist can adapt the treatment to your needs. • distracted - Watch TV or Get listen to music if allowed. • Talk with your hands - Sedation dentistry includes: Inhaled minimal sedation The patient breathes nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” combined with oxygen through a mask. Oral sedation - Depending on the dose, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. The process begins by taking a sedative pill like Halcion, which is similar to Valium, about an hour before treatment. The pill makes patients feel drowsy, although they will still be awake. IV moderate sedation - Sedative drug is received through a Continued on page 2... SPRING/SUMMER 2015 1