Girl looking up into sky with dental instruments causing anxiety

Dental Phobias

At Blue Water Dental, we routinely perform dental work on patients with dental anxiety or dental phobia and help them cope with their fear of the dentist. When you visit our Langley office, we take extra steps to ensure that you’re comfortable and relaxed before your appointment so you can get the help you need with your teeth. We also take the time to discuss every treatment and walk you through each step so that you can make informed decisions about your treatment.

If you struggle with dental anxiety, you’re not alone. Up to 22% of dental patients in Canada also have a fear of the dentist.

Cartoon woman scared of ental treatment

Easing Your Fears About Dental Care

At Blue Water Dental, we understand that while dental anxiety is common, every patient is unique. There are several ways that we can deal with stress, including:

  • Playing soothing music on headphones
  • Prescribing medication to ease anxiety
  • Sleepy dentistry

It’s important to remember that you are in control of your treatment. If we can accommodate your needs and desires, we are happy to do so if it eases your anxiety.

What should I Do Before Dental Sedation to Prepare for an Appointment

Many of our patients find that meeting our team and preparing for their appointment helps ease their fears and makes them feel more comfortable in the chair. You are welcome to come in for a consultation.

During your consultation, you can tour our office, sit down in the dentist’s chair and speak with our team. We can discuss the procedure, what you can expect, the tools that will be used, what recovery will be like and any other details you’d like to know. Sometimes, becoming familiar with the environment and the people working on your teeth can help put your mind at ease.

When you come back in for your cleaning or procedure, you will know what to expect and be surrounded by familiar faces.

Sedation Dentistry at Our Langley Dental Office

At Blue Water Dental, we understand that anxiety can get in the way of coming in for appointments and procedures for some patients. Patients who are struggling with severe dental anxiety may be considering sedation dentistry.

We do practice oral sedation dentistry at our Langley office and here’s what you need to know.

Are you awake during sedation dentistry

Sedation dentistry is different from sleep dentistry. Sleep dentistry is typically reserved for lengthy procedures and oral surgery.

Sedation will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable. You may feel a bit drowsy, but you’ll still be in control of your body. Most patients doze off, but for the most part, you’ll still be awake when we need you to be.

Sedation Isn’t for Everyone

Most patients are healthy enough for sedation, but we’ll need you to come in for an appointment at our Langley office just to make sure. During your visit, we’ll talk about the types of sedation we offer, which one may be best for your procedure and your level of dental anxiety.

Sedation dentistry may also be an excellent option for patients with:

  • Very sensitive teeth
  • Low pain tolerance
  • A large amount of dental work that needs to be done
  • A bad gag reflex

How Sedation Dentistry Works

The most common way to administer sedation is with a pill taken the night before and an hour before the procedure. Taking a straight forward pill can help you feel relaxed throughout the entire process.

With oral sedation dentistry, many patients find that they do not require additional pain medication during routine procedures like teeth cleanings and fillings. However, if you prefer, we can administer pain medication as well.

When the medication kicks in, you will still be able to move around and hold a conversation. However, your movement and speech may be delayed. Your mind may also feel a little foggy. For these reasons, we ask that you bring someone with you to your appointment to drive you home.

The sedative typically wears off a few hours after the procedure is complete. If you were put to sleep or heavily sedated, it might take a little longer for the effects to wear off. We use the least amount of sedative possible to help you feel comfortable and relaxed without staying in your system for too long.

Children Can Also Benefit from Sedation Dentistry

Some children may need to be sedated if an extensive amount of dental work needs to be done. Sedation helps kids stay still long enough for us to complete the procedure. We generally offer small doses of sedation for children, but we typically refer kids to the pediatric dentist if more extensive work is required.

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

People can develop dental phobias for a variety of reasons. However, some common causes of dental anxiety include:

  • A painful past experience at the dentist’s office. The mouth is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. A negative experience at the dental office can lead to anxiety in the future.
  • Childhood experience. The experience you have during your formative years visiting the dentist can have lasting effects.
  • Poor dental self-esteem. Some people are afraid to visit the dentist because they are embarrassed about their oral health. They may be worried about having a gag reflex, bad breath or poor teeth.

Some people are also afraid that their treatment will be painful. Modern day dentistry has come a long way, and treatments are far less invasive than they once were. We make our patients’ visits as comfortable as possible and do everything we can to make your visit a positive one.

Dental phobias can form at any time in your life, but they commonly stem from early experiences as a child.

Symptoms of dental anxiety can include:

  • Racing heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty sleeping before your appointment
  • Feeling overwhelmed

If you experience any of these symptoms before an appointment with us, call us to discuss your fears. We will work with you to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your visit.

The Risk of Avoiding the Dentist Because of Dental Anxiety

Many people who struggle with dental phobias avoid visiting the dentist, but putting off your appointments can lead to adverse outcomes, such as:

  • Gum disease
  • Stains and discolouration
  • Gum recession
  • Tooth loss or pain
  • Tooth decay or cavities
  • Cracked, chipped or broken teeth
  • Routine exams and cleanings play an essential role in your oral health.

When you regularly visit our dental office, we can also check for signs of sleep apnea, TMJ, or even oral cancer. If you skip these routine visits, it increases the risk that these issues (and other dental issues) will go untreated or undetected.

Dental anxiety is common, and we understand that it’s difficult to overcome your fears. We regularly work with patients who struggle with anxiety relating to dental procedures.

It takes courage to overcome your fear of seeing the dentist, but we are here to help you every step of the way. Our kind and compassionate staff will help you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. We also offer the option of sedation dentistry to help you further overcome your anxiety. So don’t let your dental anxiety get in the way of maintaining your oral health.

Call our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help with dental anxiety.

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Dr. Gurpreet Sidhu - Dentist at Lighthouse Dental Centre and Blue Water Dental
Dr. Gurpreet Sidhu

With nearly two decades of experience, Dr. Sidhu enjoys helping his patients learn about dentistry. Knowledge is meant to be improved, challenged and shared.

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