Kids around the world have something in common: fear of the dentist. Various studies show that up to 29% of children from preschool- to high school-age have some degree of dental anxiety. And the problem doesn’t go away when they grow up. It worsens: Over 75% of adults steer clear of their dentists due to fear and anxiety.
Skipping regular dental visits puts your oral health in danger, so if your teen refuses to go, they may be headed for gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay.
At Dental Art of South Bay in Torrance, California, we understand this age-old battle and can help you win the war peacefully. We offer sedation dentistry to calm your teen’s fears and enable them to undergo dental procedures calmly — no coaxing required.
Dental anxiety is real
It’s easy to assume your teen’s dentist avoidance is a typical teen tactic to get out of doing something they don’t want to do, but don’t be too quick to dismiss their concerns. Dental anxiety is so prevalent that psychiatrists label it as an anxiety disorder: dentophobia. Ironically, about 30% of dental students admit to dental anxiety.
The underlying reasons for dentophobia vary from person to person. Some of the most common culprits are:
- Negative experiences
- Fear of pain
- Lack of control
- Fear of choking
- Fear of needles
- Unpleasant sounds and smells
Depending on the severity of your teen’s dental anxiety, they may experience various symptoms, such as excessive sweating, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea, trembling, and a racing heart.
Addressing dental anxiety in teens
Dental anxiety can stem from a variety of sources, such as fear of pain, needles, or the unknown. Teenagers, in particular, may feel self-conscious about their oral health or worry about not being in control during a procedure. Sedation dentistry can help alleviate these fears by providing a more relaxed, less stressful experience.
Our experienced dentists and orthodontists, Dr. Dana Samet, Dr. Alyssa Nowlen, and Dr. Bethany Jung, offer three types of sedation:
- Oral sedation in liquid or pill form
- Inhalation sedation, aka laughing gas
- Intravenous sedation for deep relaxation
Dr. Samet chooses the right type of sedation based on your teen’s level of anxiety.
Preparing your teen for sedation dentistry
Before the procedure, it's important to have a thorough discussion with Dr. Samet about your teen's medical history, any medications they take, and their overall level of anxiety. This helps us determine the most appropriate form of sedation. Be sure to follow any pre-procedure instructions, such as fasting guidelines.
What to expect during and after the procedure
During the procedure, we monitor your teen to ensure they are feeling relaxed. They will be awake during the entire dental visit but may feel drowsy and not remember the procedure.
Afterward, your teen may feel groggy or sleepy. It’s important for your teen to rest and recover at home, and they should not return to school or participate in physical activities until the next day.
The benefits of sedation dentistry
Sedation dentistry can transform a nerve-wracking experience into a calm and manageable one. It allows your teen to get necessary dental care without the stress and fear that can often accompany these procedures. Furthermore, it often allows for more work to be done in fewer appointments since patients are more cooperative under sedation, reducing the overall time required for treatment.
As a parent, understanding sedation dentistry can help you ensure your teen's oral health care. With sedation dentistry, dental visits don't have to be a source of anxiety for your teen but rather a step toward maintaining their overall health and well-being.
Call Dental Art of South Bay to learn more about sedation dentistry or schedule an appointment.