Dentophobia and conscious sedation
People are afraid of many things such as darkness, spiders, Friday the thirteenth, etc. But did you know that about 15% of people are morbidly afraid of dental treatments, doctors, or even the “smell of the dental clinic”? Dentophobia can affect anyone regardless of gender. It may originate from a bad experience from the past, or simply the misconception that if you go to a dentist, you will surely suffer.
Anyone afraid of spiders will either run away or ask someone to smash the spider, but unfortunately, this is not the case with dentophobia; you cannot send your spouse, neighbours or mother to the dentist in your stead. Everyone has to overcome this fear alone because delay in dental examination and treatment may have serious consequences. It may lead to periodontal disease through tooth decay and eventual tooth loss. The treatment of a neglected dental disease is much more painful than timely dental scaling or minor fillings, not to mention the associated costs.
Typically, a patient will have identified their dentophobia or dental fear a long time before attempting to overcome their fear, but at this point, they will already suffer from excruciating pains, various periodontal infections will have formed and tooth loss will have occurred. This neglected condition, insecurity and fear are both physically and psychologically onerous for the patient. The associated hidden stress impairs the quality of life (deterioration of facial aesthetics, chewing and speech). For those affected by this phobia throughout their lives the idea of a surgical intervention (removal of inflamed tooth or implantation) will probably evoke thoughts like “I can do without this. I’ve been good without a dentist”.
If you recognize yourself in the lines above, do not be discouraged as we have good news: at our clinic, you can request conscious sedation during the dental treatment, administered via a tiny intravenous injection in your hand, as a result of which you will have no bad reminiscence of the dental treatment and will remember no inconvenience, pain, or drill sound.
We should be advised of potential drug allergies and illnesses prior to sedation, which almost anyone can request, regardless of age and gender. It is particularly popular with patients slated for tooth extraction and implantation which are often lengthy and rather uncomfortable interventions, but which will be remembered as painless, owing to conscious sedation.
Below are a couple of notes on conscious sedation:
The patient receives a sedative in the vein of the hand to dissolve their anxiety and induce a state of sedation. The doctor can communicate with the patient throughout the treatment. The patient responds to, and complies with a request (e.g., please open your mouth or rinse, etc.) but will not remember the entire treatment. During your treatment, your vital functions will be monitored with special machinery making sure you feel at ease and experience no pain. At the end of the treatment, you receive a wake-up injection which suspends the effect of the sedative and you “wake up”.
Instructions regarding the intervention:
- no eating and drinking is allowed 4 hours prior to the intervention
- if you take medicines on a regular basis, take it with a little water in the morning
- alcohol consumption on the day of the intervention is not allowed as it may lead to a dangerous state of intoxication
- no driving is allowed on the day of sedation
- it is recommended that you come accompanied by someone and rest in the waiting room for half an hour following treatment
- following treatment and full recovery of consciousness you are discharged
- you will probably have a sound sleep at home following the intervention, do not stay alone.
In case you suffer from dentophobia, have prior unpleasant experience or you simply visit us for a major dental intervention, feel free to request conscious sedation and we will take good care of you.
Anaesthetic materials and devices for local anaesthesia
- Anaesthetic gel: mostly used in children in order to soften the mucosa before the anaesthetic injection, so the shot itself is painless.
- Ubistein: local anaesthetic.
- Septanest: solution for injection with articaine hydrochloride, adrenaline.
- Lidocaine: adrenaline solution for injection with lidocaine hydrochloride, adrenaline.
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