Scared of Going to the Dentist? How Sedation Dentistry Helps You Overcome Dental Anxiety

Scared of Going to the Dentist? How Sedation Dentistry Helps You Overcome Dental Anxiety
Posted on 03/04/2020


Does the idea of sitting down in a dental chair make your heart race? Afraid you might suddenly start panicking during an appointment? For many people, the fear is so great they just can’t bring themselves to make an appointment even if they’re in pain.

First of all, we want you to know that at our office, we never want you to feel embarrassed about dental anxiety. In fact, being open about how you’re feeling will help your dentist figure out how to give you the care you need with minimal discomfort.

One of the easiest ways to do that is with sedation dentistry. Whether you’re nervous about a complicated dental procedure, or you’ve been suffering from extreme dental phobia for years, sedation dentistry can help you relax and feel more comfortable at the dentist.

Why do so many people have dental anxiety?


You might be able to pinpoint exactly when your fear of the dentist began. Maybe you had a bad experience in the past, or you’ve been afraid of the dentist for as long as you can remember. It’s also possible for dental anxiety to show up seemingly out of nowhere.

The potential causes are complex, but they often involve previous negative or traumatic experiences. Fear of the dentist is also often connected to other fears, such as the fear of pain and the fear of not being in control.

Common signs of dental anxiety and dental phobia include:

  • Physical feelings of panic, which could include sweating, racing heartbeat, lightheadedness, shaking, shallow breathing, upset stomach, and other symptoms

  • Persistent negative thoughts and fears related to dental treatment

  • Avoiding the dentist until you have a dental emergency

  • Trouble sleeping before an appointment

Sedation dentistry can help


Sedation dentistry is safe and very effective. It works by putting you in a calm, relaxed state to make you feel less anxious and more comfortable during your appointment.

Keep in mind that sedation dentistry is different than the general anesthetic used during major surgeries. With sedation dentistry, you won’t be completely unconscious the way you would with a general anesthetic, though you might drift into a gentle sleep, depending on which sedation option you choose.

Types of sedation dentistry

Most people have heard of “laughing gas,” but there are actually a few different sedation options that work in different ways:

  • Nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) is inhaled through a mask and makes you feel relaxed, but still alert. You’ll be awake and able to communicate with your dentist the whole time, and it wears off quickly. You can even drive yourself home. Nitrous oxide is a great choice for people with mild dental anxiety.

  • Oral sedation is a pill taken before your appointment to make you feel calm and drowsy. Some patients actually fall asleep and don’t remember much of the appointment. But don’t worry — if you do doze off, it’s easy for us to gently wake you up at any point.

How to get sedation dentistry for your next appointment

The first step is to find a great dentist who offers sedation dentistry. Talk to them about your concerns and fears. You and your dentist can discuss your options together and decide which type of sedation is best for you depending on your level of anxiety and the treatment you need.

At Towson Smile Care, we provide sedation dentistry options for a wide variety of procedures, and we’d be happy to talk about your options with you. Together, we’ll decide which type of sedation is right for you based on the treatment you need, your anxiety level, and your health and medical history.

Overcoming dental anxiety


While sedation is extremely effective, the best way to truly overcome dental anxiety is with a comprehensive approach. We have lots of experience helping patients with dental anxiety get the treatment they need by combining sedation dentistry with other strategies, like these:

  • High-tech treatment options: Technological advances in dentistry have made it possible to provide higher quality treatment with minimal discomfort. Many procedures that used to be painful are now quick, easy, and minimally invasive.

  • Personalized care: Each person is unique, not only physically but mentally and emotionally too. We work with you to come up with an individualized treatment plan that addresses your concerns and makes you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

  • Building trust: We’re happy to talk with you and answer all your questions before you even schedule a procedure. We won’t rush you to proceed with any treatments until you feel ready, and if you need to stop and take breaks during your appointment, that’s OK too. Just let us know what you need.

  • A friendly, relaxed office environment: We understand dental anxiety can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve done everything we can to create a welcoming environment where your comfort and health are our top priorities.

Is sedation dentistry expensive?

Many people have questions about the cost of adding sedation to their treatment plan. We can work with you to make it affordable. Towson Smile Care is a preferred provider for most PPO insurance plans, so if you have dental insurance, there’s a good chance we accept it.

Even if you don’t have insurance, we still offer financing options, and we can help you find a payment plan that works for you. We also have a new patient special for people who don’t have insurance.

It’s also worth considering the potential costs and risks of delaying your treatment. If sedation helps you overcome your anxiety enough to get the treatment you need now, you’re actually likely to save money in the long run. That’s because untreated dental problems almost always get worse over time and end up requiring more invasive and costly procedures to fix.

At the end of the day, nothing is worth more than your health!

Looking for a dentist near you who offers sedation dentistry?

We’re based in Towson, MD. If you’re dealing with dental anxiety and wondering if sedation dentistry is right for you, we can help. Let’s go over your options together and get you on the road to a brighter, healthier smile. Call our office or schedule an appointment online to get started.