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Dental Anxiety and Pain Management

Pain free dentistry

Are you afraid of visiting the dentist?
Are you afraid of needles?
Are you filled with dread just picking up the phone to make the appointment?

These might be irrational feelings – but they are very real.

Studies have found that patients are afraid of three things at the dental office — fear of loss of control, fear of embarrassment, or fear of pain.

Loss of Control:

If you’re afraid of not being able to see what’s going on in your mouth, or can’t anticipate what the doctor is going to do, please ask. Ask the doctor about the procedure. Ask him exactly what is going to happen, and what you can expect. Most dentists are happy to explain the procedure and answer your questions. Participating in your dental care is important. You are not being irrational – you’re being responsible.

Fear of Embarrassment:

Yes, we’ve all been there. We haven’t flossed like we were supposed to (if we have at all), or our mouth is so bad that the teeth are falling out. Don’t worry. The doctor deals with these issues all the time and is happy that you’ve come in – whether it’s for a checkup or to change your life by fixing your teeth.

Fear of Pain:

A University of Toronto study gathered information about patients’ pain expectation when they’re having dental treatment. The report showed that the fear of pain is probably the most common issue that keeps people from the dental office. The sensation of pain was more likely to be reported by people who had painful dental experiences or who experienced anxiety about their treatment, expected pain, or felt they had little control over the treatment process. Pain is a perceived and emotional experience as much as a physical experience.

Pain Control:

We have many pain control medications and offer anesthesia and partial or complete sedation at iSmile Costa Rica,” says Dr. Francisco Dittel, lead dental surgeon at iSmile.  “But pain management really begins before you even step into the clinic. If you are anxious about you dental care and the pain you will feel, let’s discuss it before your appointment.  We’ll make sure to reduce or even eliminate any pain during your care.”

Before you come in for a visit, we like to discuss your particular dental needs to determine what pain management protocols may be required. Do you have any health issues that might interfere with your comfort, such as pregnancy or certain medications? Please be open and honest with your dentist in order to receive the highest quality care.

The iSmile Costa Rica team is here to offer the best in pain management and pain control. A few options that we can discuss with you include:

  • Topical Anesthetics: Topical anesthetics are used to numb the mouth or gums where the dental work will be done. The topical anesthetic like Lidocaine is given before the injection with a local anesthetic.
  • Nitrous Oxide (or laughing gas): The patient inhales the gas through a rubber face mask and is one of the most common forms of sedation used in the dental office. Effects wear off quickly after the gas is turned off.
  • Intravenous Sedation: This form of pain and anxiety control involves injecting a sedative into a vein of a patient’s arm or hand. This approach is usually reserved for extensive dental procedures or for an anxious patient. Dentists monitor the oxygen level of patients receiving IV sedation and may need to give such patients additional oxygen during the procedure. With IV sedation, the patient is awake but very relaxed.
  • Oral Sedation: An oral medication, like Halcion, helps patients relax by working on the central nervous system. Oral sedatives take about 30 minutes before their effects are felt and can cause drowsiness that may last for a few hours.
  • General Anesthesia: With this technique, the patient “sleeps” for the duration of the procedure. Patients requiring general anesthesia are usually treated in a hospital setting. This type of anesthesia has risks, which include a sudden drop in blood pressure and irregular heartbeats, so the patient needs to be closely monitored. General anesthesia is typically only used if extensive dental work is needed and when other forms of sedation or pain control are not sufficient to conquer fear.

If you are interested in discussing any of the Pain Management options above,
please call or email us today!