Experts estimate that about 36% of people have mild dental anxiety, and 12% of people have extreme dental anxiety. Concerns include fear of the unknown, fear of needles, and fear of pain, but few dental procedures can trigger anxious thoughts quicker than a root canal.
The team at Dr. Darj Dental knows that root canals have an unfair number of myths surrounding them that can make dental anxiety even worse. That’s why Mehrnoosh Darj, DDS, is here to debunk a few myths and highlight other options for easing your anxiety before your upcoming root canal.
Debunk the myths
The first step in overcoming anxious thoughts about your upcoming procedure is to squash any false misconceptions about root canals. Myths can perpetuate wrong information that feeds into your anxieties.
The following statements are all myths:
- Root canals hurt more than fillings
- Root canals cause illnesses
- It’s always better to pull your tooth
Modern dental techniques and local anesthetics mean that root canal procedures feel similar to getting a filling. In fact, root canals don’t cause pain 一 they take away the pain of an infected or damaged tooth.
Root canals don’t cause cancer. This myth was founded on poorly devised studies and has since been debunked by the American Association of Endodontists.
And saving your natural tooth is always the best option when possible. Avoiding extraction — keeping your tooth in place — prevents jawbone atrophy, which can happen when your tooth roots don’t stimulate the bone. Repairing and preserving your tooth with a root canal also prevents the need for tooth replacement.
Explore calming strategies
Once you’ve separated the facts from fiction, it’s understandable if you still feel a little jittery. There are many strategies you can try to ease your nerves while you’re in the dentist’s chair. Common calming strategies include:
- Listening to your favorite music
- Wearing noise-canceling headphones if you’re sensitive to the sounds of a dentist’s office
- Wearing a weighted blanket
- Listening to an audiobook
You can also practice deep breathing throughout your appointment. Deep breathing helps to shift your mind out of flight-or-fight mode and into a more relaxed state.
Is sedation dentistry right for you?
Even if you try a few calming strategies, you might need help relaxing fully. Dr. Darj Dental offers sedation dentistry to help your mind and body relax so you can receive the dental care you need. Two of the most popular forms of sedation dentistry are:
- Nitrous oxide (laughing gas), which is a quick-acting gas you breathe in through a mask
- Oral sedation, which is a pill you swallow before your procedure
Neither laughing gas nor oral sedation is meant to make you unconscious. You will, however, relax to the point where you may giggle or feel drowsy. Dr. Darj suggests the right form of sedation for you depending on the severity of your anxiety.
Regardless of whether you choose sedation dentistry, you still receive a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable during your root canal.
Do you have questions about your upcoming root canal? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call for a consultation with Dr. Darj at 915-213-4097. You can also request an appointment at our El Paso, Texas, office through our online portal.