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Dental Anxiety is Real: Sedation May Help

sedation dentist Vancouver WAYoung and old, there are a lot of people out there who experience dental anxiety. Sometimes, even the mere thought of visiting the dentist can lead to feelings of panic or avoidance. Dental anxiety can stem from bad experiences in the past, fear of giving up control, or fear of physical pain.

We’ll readily admit that dental appointments can be difficult. It goes against basic human instincts to allow strangers to poke at your sensitive oral tissues with noisy metal tools. It’s not so odd when you think about it. Some people simply have a harder time ignoring those instincts.

At Creative Smiles, we want every patient to have a comfortable experience getting the care they need. For this reason, we employ several strategies to help our patients overcome their dental anxiety.

Are you looking for a sedation dentist Vancouver WA to help you or your loved one get the oral care you need? Dr. Carl Futenma caters to nervous and phobic patients with his calm, friendly approach and sedation qualifications.

Dental Anxiety? Let’s Talk

No matter what form your dental anxiety takes, Dr. Futenma will sit down with you and discuss your needs prior to treatment. Scheduling an anxiety meet-and-consult before your treatment will help you feel confident that this appointment will be different from the traumas you’ve endured in the past.

Common Dental Anxiety Situations

Dental anxiety can look different for every patient. Some patients have a hard time getting through the door, while other feel panicked during treatment.

Difficulty enduring chair-time?

Nitrous oxide gas has been used safely for more than a hundred years and helps dental patients avoid sensitivity and mental distress during appointments. The gas is administered with oxygen, through a nose mask, to induce analgesic (painkilling) and dissociative effects. When the nose mask is removed, the drug leaves the system quickly and patients can even drive themselves home.

Phobia of dental appointments?

Oral sedation comes in the form of a pill, which means patients can take the medication before the appointment. This helps patients feel more comfortable both prior to and during dental treatments. The medications used in oral sedation are the same types of anti-anxiety drugs frequently prescribed to nervous flyers and people who experience panic attacks, so you can guarantee they will have a notable impact.

Physical discomfort and anxiety at the prospect of a long appointment?

For patients with severe anxiety or multiple concerns, oral sedation and nitrous oxide gas can be combined for a more profoundly calming experience. These two techniques work so well that patients frequently fall asleep naturally during their appointments.

Dental anxiety, but you don’t want to take drugs?

Creative Smiles offers an innovative treatment called NuCalm to induce a more relaxed physical state without the use of sedatives. Safe, non-invasive brainwave stimulation and sensory deprivation work together to “take you away” as efficiently as some medications. Learn more about this treatment option by reading our January post on NuCalm.

Fear of needles and drills?

In our office, we use dental lasers to prepare a tooth for a filling or root canal therapy, instead of drills. This means less trauma, noise, and vibration during your filling and a reduced need for anesthetic injections. (Some deeper cavities will still require a shot of anesthetic, but many surface cavities can be treated without an injection.)

Do you need a sedation dentist Vancouver WA? Call Creative Smiles to make an appointment with a doctor and staff who understand your struggle and are on your side. Call our Vancouver, WA office at 360-574-3061 or contact us online to make an appointment.

NuCalm: Drug-Free Treatment for Dental Anxiety

dental anxietyDental 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.

  1. Establish a trusting relationship with the dentist and staff, so you can communicate your fears and feelings, knowing the dentist will respect your wishes.
  2. 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.

Medication-Free Sedation?

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.