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Options for anxious patients

Do you feel nervous about visiting the dentist?

At Ocean Reef Dental Surgery, we understand that people of all ages can have anxiety about dental treatments. When you visit our clinic, our caring team will do everything we can to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed, so you can get the important care you need.

What is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety is quite common, with as many as one in six Australians saying they have some fear of visiting the dentist.[1]

While most people can still keep up with their regular check-ups, more severe dental phobia can sometimes lead to people delaying or skipping their appointments. This can make oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease more likely to develop.

How can we help?

If you have dental anxiety, our dentists in the Northern Perth suburbs will take the time to listen to your concerns and help you find ways to get the important dental care you need.

We want you to feel at ease during your visit, which is why we've designed our dental clinic to be a comfortable environment. You dentist can discuss a range of options that can help ease your anxiety, help you feel more confident about your treatment, and talk through any concerns you have. Our friendly team will make sure you know all the options and have all the information you need to make an informed decision about your treatments.

If you decide to go ahead with a treatment but you still feel nervous, sedation may be an option to help you feel more calm.

Dental sedation

Conscious sedation involves administering drugs that affect the central nervous system, which may help reduce fear and anxiety. This can help you to feel more calm and to numb pain responses, without causing loss of consciousness.[2]

You will still be able to respond to your dentist's instructions as they carry out your treatment, but you'll normally have little memory of the experience afterwards.

Conscious sedation in dentistry has been safely used in Australia for many years, although as with any treatment there can sometimes be risks and side-effects. Your dentist will make sure you are aware of these so you can decide whether sedation is the right choice for you. Sedatives may only be administered by a qualified dentist who is endorsed by the Dental Board of Australia.[2]

Types of sedation

If you think sedation dentistry could help you, we'll first check your medical history to find out if you have any allergies or other conditions that could make you unsuitable. We'll explain what each sedation option involves, including how it will affect your recovery period, so you can make an informed decision.

At Ocean Reef Dental Surgery, we offer two types of sedation: oral sedation and intravenous (IV) sedation.

Oral sedation

Oral sedatives are pills provided by your dentist that can be swallowed about one hour before your appointment. This can be a good alternative to IV sedation for patients who have a fear of needles, although there is less control over the sedation level used.

The effects of oral sedation last for several hours, so you must not drive to or from the dental clinic and should have someone accompany you to your appointment.

IV sedation

Intravenous sedation involves the direct injection of sedatives into the bloodstream. This offers an immediate and deeper sedation and gives your dentist more precise control over the sedation level throughout the treatment.

You may not be eligible for IV sedation if you have certain medical conditions. As the effects of sedation can last for up to 24 hours, you should arrange to have someone take you home and avoid driving until the sedatives have left your system.

For more information about the sedation dentistry options we offer, call our friendly team today on (08) 9307 6700 or contact us online.

References

[1] Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health. Dental fear and anxiety: Information for Dental Practitioners [Online] 2016 [Accessed September 2018] Available from: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/arcpoh/dperu/special/dfa/Dental_Fear_Professional.pdf

[2] Australian Dental Association. Policy Statement 6.17 – Conscious Sedation in Dentistry [Online] 2016 [Accessed September 2018] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Professionals/Policies/Dental-Practice/6-17-Conscious-Sedation-in-Dentistry/ADAPolicies_6-17_ConsciousSedationinDentistry_V1.aspx

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