For some people, there is nothing more terrifying than the thought of a trip to the dentist. Even scarier for some is the prospect of replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant. However, as dental implants grow in popularity as a permanent solution to tooth loss, it is time to put nervous minds at ease. A recent survey conducted informally by the American Academy of Periodontology asked periodontal patients what factors stopped them from getting a dental implant. The second most popular answer given by respondents was “fear or anxiety”. However, the same survey also revealed that of those patients who had previously received a
dental implant, more than half reported “very little to no pain or discomfort” experienced during the process and only 33% described the procedure as “somewhat painful or uncomfortable”. These survey results help demonstrate that although
dental implant procedures illicit fear or anxiety in potential patients, the reality is that the actual experience is not something
to be frightened of.
Why is everyone so afraid of procedures such as dental implants? Perhaps fearing the dentist and certain dental procedures
is something that is ingrained in our minds from a young age. Perhaps it is the result of ongoing, perpetuated stereotypes. Regardless of the cause, it is important to find ways to “unlearn” this fear, especially if your dental professional recommends a dental implant
as the best course of treatment.
Seeing a dental professional regularly and trusting his or her advice will help you to best maintain your oral health and minimize expense, time, and discomfort. If you decide to get a dental implant and are feeling anxious or fearful, find ways to feel more in
control of your experience. Sedation dentistry may be your best option to help you relax and comfortable have your implant procedure.
• Ask your periodontist, Drs. Roger D. Craddock and Mitchel S. Godat, to explain the procedure. Knowing exactly what will occur when the dental implant is placed can help put
your mind at ease.
• Have your periodontist, Drs. Craddock and Godat, explain your options for techniques to control pain and stress, such as medications, anesthesia, sedation, or relaxation techniques that can make your treatment virtually painless.
From June 2007 – December 2007, the AAP posted two surveys on www.perio.org that asked questions about dental implants. One survey was geared toward members (practicing periodontists) and one was geared toward consumers (periodontal patients). These surveys solicited a total of 1,414 responses. The above information is based on those results.