Dental Anxiety Treatment in NYC
Dental anxiety is common and keeps many patients from seeking the care they need. Often, anxious patients wait until they’re having an emergency, which results in more extensive treatment. Our goal is to help anxious patients get the routine care they need in a relaxed and comfortable setting.
At Gallery57Dental we are sensitive to the anxiety many patients experience. Our spacious modern office and friendly compassionate staff help patients relax and feel confident about their needs being met.
How common is dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety is anything but rare. Although there aren’t a ton of statistics out there, it’s estimated that from 10 to 20 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear.
The extreme level on this scale would be a dental phobia. If a person has dental phobia, they will do everything possible to NOT go to the dentist. For those with this unfortunate situation, the only time they will usually go to the dentist is if they are in extreme pain. In the dental world, that means the person’s dental health has gone south. Pain is usually tied to decay entering the interior pulp chamber of a tooth where it is impacting the nerve fibers in the pulp. Now the tooth will need a root canal just to save it from extraction.
Dental anxiety and fear keep patients from receiving the preventive care they need, and that’s truly unfortunate because most dental problems never need to really take hold if they are addressed early on.
Dental Sedation Options
At Gallery 57, we offer both oral sedation and nitrous oxide (laughing gas). You can add these to any treatment or procedure we offer, anything from routine cleaning and exam to placing a filling or a bridge. There are no restrictions when it comes to sedation and treatment. We don’t use general (sleep) anesthesia, so you’re sedated but able to communicate and respond to our requests. Our sedation options have the side benefit of having an amnesiac affect, so anxious patients don’t have much if any, recollection of their visit to our offices.
For patients who are anxious about injections, we offer the Solea Laser which can be used for most small to medium fillings and doesn’t require a shot!
What medications are used for oral sedation?
Anti-anxiety medications are typically used for oral dental sedation. These include Valium, Ativan, Halcion, Ambien, and others.
What are the signs that I have dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety and dental phobia are related. The difference is simply the degree of anxiety the person feels at the thought of an upcoming dental appointment. These are some signs that you have at least some amount of anxiety:
- You have trouble sleeping the night before your appointment.
- You have feelings of nervousness that seem to build as you’re in the waiting room.
- You have some physical feelings or sensations as your appointment approaches.
- You have feelings of uneasiness at the thought of having items such as a dental pick placed in your mouth.
What do I need to tell Gallery 57 when I make my appointment?
If you have dental anxiety, we want you to tell us about it. There isn’t any need to be shy or reticent about this — as mentioned above, about one in five people have some level of dental anxiety, so you are in good company.
Once we know of your situation, we can plan for it. If you want an oral sedative, that will take some time to fully take effect, so we need to plan for that with your appointment. If you want a combination of oral sedation and nitrous oxide, we need to plan to have that available, as well.
The key is for you to be comfortable while here at Gallery 57 Dental. That way you can receive the treatment you need without feeling anxious about it.
How long does oral sedation last?
For most patients, the effects of oral sedation last from two to four hours after their appointment. You need a ride to and from your appointment, plus shouldn’t drive for an additional 12 hours. That’s not usually a problem in New York, but at least that’s the commonsense rule.
How long does nitrous oxide last?
One of the cool aspects of nitrous oxide is that as soon as the mask is taken away the effect almost instantly goes away. That’s helpful, as patients can add nitrous oxide to their appointment, but they can still drive themselves home afterward (or comfortably get on the subway).
What Our Patients Have to Say
Can I have sedation with any dental procedure or only surgery?
We can provide sedation for any procedure. If you’re anxious about having something as simple as your teeth cleaned, there is no reason for that. Simply ask for sedation, and you’ll feel relaxed and without worry.
Can you feel any pain during sedation dentistry?
There is a little misconception here. Sedation is not anesthesia. Sedation has the goal of helping the patient overcome his or her anxiety or fear that they associate with the dentist. Sedation has the pleasant side benefit of usually also creating an amnesia-like effect, so the patient has little or no memory of their appointment.
Anesthesia is what keeps you comfortable and pain-free. Modern dental anesthesia ensures our patients at Gallery 57 Dental don’t feel anything during any of our treatments.
We also work with mental health professionals who can help patients overcome severe anxiety.