Around 15% of Americans have such severe dental phobia that they avoid even the most basic preventive dental care. Ironically, this puts them at higher risk of severe tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues that require more invasive treatments than a standard checkup and cleaning.
At Vallejo Oral Surgery, the surgeons know that their patients are apprehensive or even frightened by some of the procedures they offer. However, the team of oral and maxillofacial surgeons have extensive training in anesthesia and sedation and can make even the most invasive treatment painless.
What is dental phobia?
Dental phobia is a specific type of anxiety that centers around negative thoughts and feelings about the dentist. It’s estimated that as many as three-quarters of all Americans have some degree of fear of the dentist. While up to 10% of those people have severe enough anxiety about the dentist that it can be classified as a phobia, that’s still millions of people who have unnecessary fears about safe, standard procedures that can protect their oral and overall health.
Why are so many people afraid of the dentist?
Advances in dental and oral surgery technologies and practices have significantly decreased the amount of pain involved in most procedures. Additionally, oral surgeons and dentists have extensive training in anesthesia and sedation, which not only reduces any discomfort but also helps you relax during your treatment.
How does anesthesia help?
Anesthesia and sedation work in two ways — the medicine both prevents physical pain and helps you relax or sleep through a procedure. The surgeons at Vallejo Oral Surgery offer a variety of types of surgery as well as preoperative consultations to determine the best kind of anesthesia to ensure you have a comfortable experience.
Local anesthesia is a topical treatment or an injection that numbs the tissue in your mouth before a procedure. The surgeons at Vallejo Oral Surgery use a local anesthetic before a tooth extraction or in combination with another type of sedation for more advanced surgery.
If laughing gas, which is also known as nitrous oxide, is right for you, you wear a small mask over your nose during your procedure. You don’t lose consciousness, but you become very relaxed. The gas also has an analgesic effect, which reduces the amount of physical discomfort you experience. The results of laughing gas wear off soon after your mask is removed and you stop breathing the gas.
IV sedation puts you into an extremely relaxed, twilight state. You’re not quite conscious or unconscious but floating comfortably in between. Your surgeon customizes the strength of intravenous sedation to meet your needs. Your surgeon also combines IV sedation with a local anesthetic as IV sedation doesn’t block pain.
General anesthesia is the strongest type of anesthesia available. It allows you to sleep through your procedure. The medication is usually delivered in a combination of intravenous and gaseous forms. General anesthesia also blocks pain signals in your brain, ensuring your comfort.
Am I a good candidate for anesthesia and sedation?
With so many types of anesthesia available, your surgeon should be able to identify the best medicine to keep you comfortable and relaxed during your treatment. Make sure to tell your surgeon about any allergies, health conditions, or other drugs, vitamins, or supplements that you take regularly. You should also find out if any of your family members have reacted to anesthesia.
As always, make sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions on eating, drinking, and preparing for surgery. Many of the instructions are in place to ensure your safety.
If you need an expert oral surgeon with experience in anesthesia, call Vallejo Oral Surgery or schedule a consultation online today.