CONTROL OF ANXIETY AND FEAR WITH IV SEDATION
The primary indication for use of sedation is the presence of fear and anxiety. Fear of dentistry is real, it is palpable, and it is a problem.
Many adults in North America still avoid visits to the dentist out of fear. In North America, it is estimated that somewhere between 6% – 14% of the population voluntarily avoid seeking dental care because of their fear of dentistry. These individuals delay treatment until they are in such pain that home remedies are no longer effective.
Fear of pain keeps the patient from seeking needed dental care until the pain, which is exacerbated by this fear, ultimately forces the patient to the dental office. Such patients present the dentist with a significant problem.
Attempts to treat these patients without addressing their fear usually leads to frustration and increased stress for the dentist and an increased level of fear for the patient. A large part of the problem can be assumed to be a carry-over from the recent past when many dental patients were severely traumatized both physically and psychologically in the process of receiving routine dental care.
Many techniques to control anxiety are available to the health care provider. Which ones, if any are used, is a very personal choice. Some dentists are comfortable using a technique that others might be uncomfortable using. Having several techniques available at his or her disposal, enables the dentist to tailor the appropriate sedation technique to a given patient. To rely solely on one technique for moderate sedation is to invite the occasional failure. We have an answer for anxiety and fear produced by dentists: SEDATION PLEASE!