Emma Jean-Weinstein recounted her experience in getting a dental implant procedure, saying that that one visit to her dentist was quite terrifying. Admittedly, she knew that her fears were just in her head, which was a similar sentiment of most other people with dental phobia. “I have a lot of company. In fact, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disordersestimates (DSM) that almost 4 percent of people are “dental phobics.” According to the DSM, the prevalence rates for dental fears are similar to the rates of people who fear snakes or heights.”
Researchers are convinced that some of the biggest triggers of dental phobia are the sound that some dental tools emit, like drills, and the feeling of claustrophobia that patients experience once they find themselves strapped in a chair. Hence, blocking such stimuli (i.e. sounds and visuals) can effectively make any dental visit much more bearable. Rather than relying on total sensory deprivation, many dentists now turn to sedation dentistry either by dulling the patient’s senses or putting him or her to sleep. Dentists like Dr. Thomas DeFinnis, a renowned sedation dentist from Philadelphia, can employ either of these techniques depending on the needs and circumstances of the patients.
Aside from those who experience dental phobia, sedation is quite useful for people undergoing tedious and normally painful dental procedures like complex tooth extractions. People who suffer from stress, and not necessarily fear, can also benefit from sedatives. On the other hand, those who have a separate, general phobia of drugs shouldn’t force themselves to try out sedation dentistry. Similarly, people with certain heart conditions and other ailments may not also be suitable for sedatives, which is why checkups are a must for people undergoing sleep dentistry in Philadelphia and other places.
In essence, sedation dentistry can be quite useful for dental phobics like Jean-Weinstein. Even so, proper care and consent should still be observed whenever sedatives are used, much like in any other dental procedure.
(Article Information and Image fromDrilling Into Our Fear Of The Dentist — And What To Do About It, CommonHealth, December 28, 2013)