10 reasons to overcome dental anxiety of tooth extractions
About the Author
Drs. Dan Martin and Rachel Appelblatt at Tahoe Oral Surgery and Implant Center are your local dental implant and oral surgery specialists. They are experienced and board certified oral surgeons who specialize in customer care using state-of-the art equipment and techniques. If you have any questions or concerns about oral surgery or dental implants, please don’t hesitate to contact them at TahoeOralSurgery.com.
An estimated 75 percent of U.S. adults avoid seeing the dentist or oral surgeon because of dental fear and anxiety. As oral surgeons, we are in the unique position to see patients each day who present varying degrees of anxiety after being told they need a tooth extracted.
In many ways we are the experts on dental phobias. A rather common approach is to ignore problems. Unfortunately, putting off a dental appointment can lead to worsening problems and ultimately cause more discomfort in the long run. If you suffer from dental anxiety, combating your dental fear may be one of the best actions you can take in stopping and preventing dental pain and maintaining your overall dental health.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety, also called odontophobia, is the fear of dentistry and of receiving dental care. Though not all people with dental anxiety have an extreme phobia, patients who suffer from dental anxiety are often extremely nervous to go to the dentist or oral surgeon for surgical procedures, or even routine care and check-ups. This can cause people to put off treatment until they are in pain — making invasive procedures mandatory, which ultimately reinforces their fear of dentistry.
Extractions of teeth are performed when the tooth in question is not fixable due to cavities, fracture, overcrowded, or impacted (such as wisdom teeth). These are the most common procedure an oral surgeon does and typically can be completed in an efficient and safe manner. Additionally, Oral Surgeons have extensive training in hospital operating rooms focused on safe administration of sedation anesthesia.
Ways to Brave Extractions
Choosing to address your dental fears of having necessary teeth extractions can help your overall oral care. Below are 10 things to help reassure patients to help overcome dental anxiety of teeth extractions:
Common Procedure: Extractions are the most common procedure oral surgeons perform.
Visualizing Success: As simple as it sounds, relaxing and visualizing a successful procedure even before you come into the office can help put your mind at ease.
Avoidance Can Worsen Your Health: NOT tending to routine tooth extractions can lead to worsening situations, such as decay and infection, which may lead to more involved procedures and longer healing times. If you are already not a fan of dental care, might as well act sooner and have minimal time healing than avoid it until the situation worsens.
Minimal Intraoperative Discomfort: Dentists generally strive to deliver (near) painless local anesthesia, and speaking for the local oral surgeons, we pride ourselves in delivering the numbing shots without our patients knowing it.
Availability of Sedation: For patients who need more than just local anesthesia, oral surgeons have extensive hospital-based training to safely deliver oral sedation and IV sedation to truly make the experience of dental extractions easy and comfortable.
Quicker Appointments: An oral surgery procedure, such as an extraction, is usually a much quicker appointment then a dental appointment for a filling or crown. Most patients are pleasantly surprised that their procedure is over so quickly.
Making appointments: Unlike a general dental office who may be scheduling patients several weeks out, many of our patients are seen on an “urgent basis.” We set aside appointments to get someone in discomfort scheduled as soon as possible.
Successful Post-Op Tips: Knowing the well trodden path of tooth extractions allows oral surgeons to share tips for a quick and smooth recovery.
Swift Recovery Time: Our mouths heal remarkably fast. A typical recovery after a tooth extraction is 1-3 days. Quite often, removing an infected tooth offers immediate relief of pain.
Temporary Discomfort from Fear is Less Painful Than Long-Term Tooth Pain: Dental fear causing delayed appointments often leads patients to suffer through dental pain rather than seek treatment. The actual tooth extraction appointment and healing time after will hopefully be shorter than the time spent worrying about the procedure prior to it.
Dental fear causes many to avoid simple tooth extractions and prolong their dental pain.
However, since dental anxiety is common, so are the ways to manage it. Remember, oral surgeons and dentists care about their patients and their healing success. If you are experiencing dental fear about oral surgery procedures or dental extractions, please let us know during your consultation so they can help you to ease your concerns.
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