dental anxiety patient

Does your heart rate increase at the thought of visiting the dentist? Even if your schedule permits, do you frequently cancel dental appointments out of fear? While it may seem abnormal, having a fear of the dentist is quite common and there is actually a term used to describe it: dental anxiety. This medical condition affects roughly 15 percent of the population (about 40 million people) and can cause otherwise calm individuals to act irrationally. At its most severe, dental anxiety can even keep people who are experiencing ongoing pain from seeking necessary treatment.

Do you think you may have dental anxiety? Read on to learn more about dental anxiety and the sleep dentistry methods we provide at Walnut Pond Dental to make care more comfortable and relaxing. You can also schedule an initial consultation with one of our dentists to discuss your dental anxiety in detail so we know how to customize treatment to your individualized needs. Please contact our Clinton, NJ practice today online or by calling (908) 200-7007.

Do You Have Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety looks different from patient to patient and varies in its severity. If you can relate to any of the following questions, it is highly possible you have dental anxiety:

  • Do you get nervous and nauseous when thinking about visiting the dentist?
  • Does your heart rate increase when driving by a dental office or seeing someone in a white coat?
  • Do you continually cancel dental appointments?
  • Do you get nervous the night before and morning of your appointment?
  • Do you have trouble relaxing in a dental chair?
  • Do you have a fear of shots, needles, or dental instruments?
  • Have you gotten ill or started to cry when sitting in a waiting room?
  • Do you have a low pain tolerance?
  • Are you afraid of pain?
  • Do you have difficulty numbing
  • Do you have a hypertensive gag reflex?
  • Do you hate having your teeth cleaned?
  • Are you afraid of what the dentist may think of your teeth?
  • Do you get uncomfortable when someone invades your personal space?

Common Causes of Dental Anxiety

While some people develop dental anxiety after undergoing a bad dental experience, others have no real cause for their fear – they just know it’s there. You may ask yourself when it was that this fear developed. Did you hear a parent talk about a dentist negatively and it unknowingly impacted your view of dentists and other medical professionals?

Dental anxiety can also be caused if you feel helpless or out of control when placed in uncomfortable situations, or struggle from anxiety on a day-to-day basis. Although anti-anxiety medications can help to a degree, sometimes stronger sedation is required in order to receive the care you need.

Sleep Dentistry

At Walnut Pond Dental, we offer both nitrous oxide and IV sedation administered by a skilled anesthesiologist as part of our sleep dentistry techniques. The type of sleep dentistry method will depend on the level of your fear and the treatment you are undergoing. Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is administered via a nose mask and can help you achieve a relaxed and comfortable state. While under nitrous oxide, you will be sedated but able to respond to commands by the dentist. Most patients are unaware of what’s going on around them. Once the nose mask is removed, you will awaken and can drive yourself home.

For those who have severe dental anxiety or need extensive amounts of dental work done, they can be heavily sedated with IV sedation. With this form, anti-anxiety medication will be administered intravenously throughout your entire dental treatment. Although you will not be completely asleep, you will achieve a sleep-like state and be completely relaxed throughout the entire procedure. It is beneficial for those with extreme dental anxiety or a hypersensitive gag reflex.

Dental Care Made Comfortable and Stress-Free

If you have avoided going to the dentist for years out of fear, let us help. We want to make your dental experience a positive one with sleep dentistry. Please contact our Clinton, NJ office today online or give us call at (908) 200-7007 to book your consultation.