Afraid of the Dentist? Let Dr. Hawks Help!
Your West Des Moines dentist, Dr. James Hawks, understands that some of our patients are apprehensive about dental treatment. We do not want that apprehension to prevent you from achieving optimal oral health. That’s why we offer our patients a number of comfort amenities, including blankets and pillows, and focus on creating a friendly, positive environment where our patients can relax. In addition, we offer inhalation sedation, or nitrous oxide, to our patients. Nitrous oxide has safely been in use as a dental sedative for over 100 years and is an effective anesthetic and analgesic medication.
Benefiting from Nitrous Oxide
Used in concert with a local anesthetic, nitrous oxide eases the nerves and imparts additional analgesic benefits. The onset period is almost immediate; within a few breaths, you will begin to feel relaxed and at ease with the treatment ahead of you. One of the primary benefits of nitrous oxide is minimal recovery. Most of our patients report that their head clears and they feel normal within minutes after the nitrous mask is removed. A patient who receives dental treatment under nitrous oxide should be able to drive themselves home afterward without issue.
Understanding Dental Fear and Dental Anxiety
Experts estimate that between 30-40 million Americans suffer from some degree of dental fear or dental anxiety. Although these two terms are used interchangeably, they refer to two different psychological disorders. Dental anxiety is considered a milder condition. Patients with dental anxiety often experience feelings of unease, apprehension, and intense nervousness when they visit the dentist. Patients with dental fear experience much more intense feelings of panic, worry, and distress when confronted with the idea of visiting the dentist. They will often avoid seeking out professional dental care until an oral health problem has become so painful that emergency procedures are needed. Modern dentists understand the negative feelings many patients have about dentistry and take measures, such as offering soft blankets and pillows or decorating their office in soothing colors, to make the dentist’s office a pleasant place.