Nearly everyone has some dental anxiety that makes them feel nervous or makes their stomach churn in the hours before their dentist appointment. However, recent studies show that 19% of Americans struggle with moderate to high dental anxiety and that 9%-15% have such severe anxiety they avoid getting dental care as long as possible.
Some patients have a more severe form of anxiety called dental phobia, which can cause physical symptoms such as a racing heart and shortness of breath. People with a dental phobia won’t see the dentist even when they’re in severe pain.
Many patients who fear having dental work done seek the help of Tricia Mockler, DDS, in Cupertino, California. Dr. Mockler goes above and beyond to make sure each patient is comfortable, helping them overcome their anxiety by combining personal attention with sedation dentistry.
We’re dedicated to supporting anxious patients so they get routine dental care to promote good oral health and prevent serious health problems.
Dental anxiety affects your overall health
When you skip routine dental care due to anxiety, you put your dental health and overall health at risk. When dental decay goes untreated, the infection spreads to the tooth pulp and eventually erodes the bones that support your teeth.
Untreated gum disease allows inflammation and bacteria to spread through your body, potentially causing severe problems such as heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, and stroke. If you’re pregnant, bacteria that get into your bloodstream from gum disease can affect your baby.
The health of your mouth also influences the state of your immune system. Good dental health translates into a stronger immune system.
Personal attention helps you overcome anxiety
Dr. Mockler spends more time with each patient than dentists at other practices. She aims to put you at ease and makes sure you never feel rushed. You are in control of your treatment, and you can determine the pace at which we move forward.
We help relieve anxiety by making sure you know what to expect. We use digital X-rays so you can see the problems we need to repair, we explain the procedure, and we show you the instruments we use so you’re fully prepared every step of the way.
We’re always aware that every visit to the office, and especially a new patient’s first dental visit, has the potential to either prevent or trigger anxiety. When introducing new patients to dental care, we take it slow and easy, by having a detailed conversation about all their fears first and coming up with a plan together to ease their anxiety before even examining their teeth.
Dr. Mockler’s caring approach and demeanor are often all our patients need to overcome their dental anxiety. When you need more support, we offer sedation to help you relax.
Dental sedation relieves anxiety
Sedation dentistry eliminates pain and allows you to overcome your anxiety and the fear of dental instruments, as well as any hypersensitivities to smells, sounds, and tastes.
As an expert in dental sedation, Dr. Mockler offers several levels of sedation that do an exceptional job of calming anxious patients so they get the dental care they need. These options include:
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
You inhale nitrous oxide through a mask, then it dissolves in your bloodstream and reaches your brain in seconds. Nitrous oxide effectively reduces anxiety and works together with a local anesthetic that completely alleviates any pain associated with your procedure.
Nitrous oxide is very useful for dental anxiety because it tends to give you the sensation that you’re removed from the dental activity happening in your mouth, making it easier to tolerate.
You don’t need to worry about recovery, either. As soon as we remove the mask, the effect wears off without any side effects.
Oral sedation (conscious sedation)
This type of sedation consists of a medication in the form of a pill or fluid you take before your appointment. Oral sedation significantly reduces your anxiety and eliminates pain — you feel relaxed and drowsy.
Depending on your dose, you may fall asleep while undergoing dental procedures, but you can easily wake up because you’re not under general anesthesia.
Full sedation (general anesthesia)
With her compassion and patience, Dr. Mockler rarely needs to use full sedation. However, she offers this option for patients who experience severe anxiety, who have a dental phobia, or who need to undergo a complex procedure.
When you’re fully sedated, you receive medication intravenously, and a qualified medical professional monitors your health throughout the procedure.
If you struggle with dental anxiety or dental phobia, call Tricia Mockler, DDS, or book an appointment online. We take every possible step to help you overcome anxiety so you can receive the dental care you need to protect your dental health and overall health.