A fear of the dentist or of certain dental procedures is very common, affecting approximately 20 – 25% of the population. Unfortunately, fear of the dentist leads to avoidance, which means that preventative care is often skipped. Without regular visits to the dentist, minor issues can turn into more complex ones, resulting in the need for more invasive treatments.
Surprisingly, the number of people afraid of the dentist does not seem to have decreased, despite advances in dental technology. If you have a tendency to avoid dental treatments, or if there are certain procedures that make you feel uneasy, the best thing to do is to speak to your family dentist about gentle treatment options, including laser dentistry and sedation. Your family dentist can also help you create a preventative treatment plan to avoid serious issues.
At our North Vancouver office we use dental lasers for many treatments instead of a traditional scalpel. Dental lasers require little to no anesthesia because they are much gentler, and minimize bleeding and swelling. Lasers can be used for things like exposing partially erupted wisdom teeth, removing overgrowth gum tissue, and treating early gum disease by killing bacteria below the gum line, removing infected tissue, and stimulating tissue repair.
For more complex dental work, patients who are nervous about treatment may qualify for in-office sedation rather than anesthesia. During treatments with sedation, a pulse oximetry unit is used to monitor vital signs, including respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure. Speak to your local dentist for more information or to find out if you qualify for dental laser treatment or sedation for your next procedure.