Dental appointments are rarely anyone’s favorite activity. Letting another person poke around in your mouth just feels wrong; the light is too bright; it gets a bit boring lying back in the chair; and there’s always the chance you might get bad news. But we stand up straight, lift our head, and go to our appointments anyway, because we know it’s the best way to preserve the health of our teeth.
For the millions of Americans with dental anxiety, however, there’s a lot more to the story. Dental anxiety and phobias can prevent even the toughest personalities from getting the care they need. For these patients, no amount of bravery or coaching is enough, because their reaction to dental situations is not something they can control. They may experience irrational panic and dread so severe that it starts before they even get to the dental office.
Do you know someone who has avoided the dentist due to dental anxiety? Read on to learn how Vancouver, WA dental office Creative Smiles can help you have a more comfortable dental appointment, with or without medication.
Overcoming Dental Anxiety
Dental phobias may have their roots in bad memories from the past, fear of pain, fear of needles, or an instinctive response to the sounds, sights, and smells of a dental office. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what the cause is, because most patients respond favorably to a two-fold approach to combat dental anxiety.
- Establish a trusting relationship with the dentist and staff, so you can communicate your fears and feelings, knowing the dentist will respect your wishes.
- Use mildly sedating medications to induce a more relaxed state of mind.
For many patients, a dose or two of an oral sedative is enough to give patients a worry-free, non-triggered dental appointment. Mild anti-anxiety medications do not induce unconsciousness, but simply take the edge off, and allow the patient to relax. Oral sedatives can safely be used in conjunction with nitrous oxide gas, to help patients tune out their anxiety and stay calm.
Dental sedation can “work miracles” for many anxious patients—but it’s not always the answer. Some patients cannot take sedatives for medical reasons, and some people react badly to sedatives; in some cases, the medication may actually increase anxiety because they feel like they are relinquishing control. For patients who cannot take oral sedatives, we are proud to offer a medication-free option.
NuCalm is an all-natural, patented process for inducing a state of deep relaxation. It uses a combination of sensory blocking tools (earphones and eye mask), calming music, and an FDA-approved cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) device. This device gently stimulates your brainwaves to bring you into an alpha and theta wave state, which occur naturally when you are calm and relaxed. Ordinarily, you would experience your appointment in a beta wave state of alert wakefulness. Click here to read more about brain waves.
NuCalm has been used safely on more than 250,000 patients, and 98 percent report positive experiences. It does not interfere with your brain function, but is simply a way to “hack” yourself into a state of calmness without the use of medication. You can read more about NuCalm on their website; in addition to its application in dental situations, NuCalm is also used as a stress-relief system, and a performance enhancing tool.
If you are averse to the idea of taking drugs, or simply want to be able to drive yourself home after your appointment, ask Dr. Carl Futenma about NuCalm for your next appointment.
If you experience dental anxiety, contact our Vancouver, WA dental office at 360-574-3061 to schedule a consultation. We will meet with to discuss treatment options and help you decide if you want to try NuCalm or oral sedation to get the care you need.