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I have always been very anxious about having dental treatment. I would rather have a baby than go to the dentist but am concerned because I have a number of broken teeth in my mouth. What can I do?

added on: January 20, 2012

Dental anxiety affects patients of all ages. It may have arisen from a previous bad dental experience, even if it was years ago. Sometimes, it comes from unknown cues related to previous experiences. Regardless of its origin, it can negatively impact on a appearance and health. Thankfully, a number of things can be done to counteract this. First of all, start off with a dental team you feel comfortable with. An interview with the dentist and the staff before your first visit might be helpful. Getting past the sights, sounds and smells that may accompany a dental office may be a good thing before committing to a treatment appointment. Get to know the doctor. Bring a list of questions. Don’t be embarrassed! The dental team will appreciate your upfront approach and help you to work past your negative feelings.

Common methods of dealing with the anxiety are avoiding appointments late in the day and don’t have any caffeine before the appointment. Conscious sedation in the form of nitrous oxide or sweet air works wonders in many cases. Many dental offices have this form of sedation- even for dental cleanings! Nitrous oxide can provide profound relaxation without being asleep and is completely reversible before leaving the office. In instances where the patient feels that sweet air may not suffice, oral sedation can be provided to make the patient completely comfortable. Taking these medications will necessitate an escort to and from the dental office as they take time to wear off and make driving dangerous.

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