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I'm Terrified of Going to the Dentist: Can You Help?

Oct 01, 2023

I'm Terrified of Going to the Dentist: Can You Help?

Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be terrifying. There are options available to make your experience feel safe and comfortable, including sedation provided at the time of your procedure.

If you’re afraid to go to the dentist, you’re not alone. In fact, fear of the dentist is the fifth most common cause of anxiety. And while many people may avoid the dentist — choosing to care for their teeth at home instead — this isn’t an effective, long-term solution. 

At Ueno Center Dental Specialists, we offer a number of options for dental anxiety, including sedation. Our founder, Jeremy K. Ueno, DMD, as well as our other providers, know how debilitating this anxiety can be, and we want to help you get the best care on your terms.

Avoiding the dentist and other options that don’t work 

Some people will do anything to avoid having to visit a dentist. They might take very good care of their teeth at home, agonizing over their oral health and hoping to ensure they never need to go. But this isn’t an effective option. 

There are many ways you can take care of your teeth at home, but a six-month dental checkup is still the best option for most children and adults. This is because you can’t take care of certain issues — like tartar buildup — with home oral care. 

Other patients might ignore problems altogether, gritting through dental pain, bad breath, and other signs something could be wrong. This is also dangerous, as it allows for problems to worsen and even spread to the other parts of your body. 

Finally, some patients try to push through, forcing themselves to visit the dentist even though they’re terrified. Don’t leave us in the dark. We need to know your needs so we can treat you accordingly. 

Instead of avoiding the dentist, visit us at least every six months to a year. But what happens if you need help because of moderate or severe dental anxiety? 

Sedation dentistry: How we can help 

Sedation dentistry helps people who struggle with going to a dentist. Each patient is different, so we have different options based on your needs, how intensive the treatment is, and how severe your anxiety is. 

The first of these options is local anesthetic. Most people who need to be numbed during a dental procedure receive this.

Nitrous oxide is the second type of sedation we use in dentistry. It keeps you calm during a more intensive procedure, but it could also be helpful if you have trouble staying still and relaxed due to dental anxiety. You’re awake but tranquil with this option.

IV sedation is also called twilight sedation. We administer it intravenously, and it allows you to feel sleepy but responsive during the procedure. It can be helpful if you don’t want to be as aware as nitrous oxide allows.

The last of these options is general anesthesia. This allows you to be asleep during your procedure with no memory of it. It’s best used when a patient has severe dental anxiety and requires a more intensive treatment. We bring in an outside medical doctor for general anesthesia.

What you can do to manage dental anxiety 

The best thing you can do to manage your anxiety is to be honest with us. Let us know what makes you nervous and how we can help. We can offer soft music and other calming methods. 

On your end, you might want to have a friend or family member come with you for your procedure. You can also practice mindfulness exercises to help you manage your nerves, and you might even consider talking to a therapist about your fears. 

We want to help you conquer your fears

Dental anxiety is no picnic, and you deserve all the help you require to move through your treatment as calmly as possible. That’s why we offer sedation dentistry as part of our treatment options. 

To learn more, just give us a call at our Campbell, California, office, or make an appointment online. We’re here for you.