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Afraid of the Dentist? Solutions for Dental Anxiety in Atlanta Atlanta, GA

Sedation Dentistry Explained

It’s perfectly normal to feel a little nervous about visiting the dentist. Many patients experience that familiar “butterflies in the stomach” sensation as they walk in to their appointment. The key difference between a run-of-the-mill case of nerves and true dental fear or dental anxiety arises when a person feels so uncomfortable with the dentist’s office that they avoid going altogether. As many as 40 million American adults experience dental anxiety so strong that they do not receive the dental care they need until a painful dental emergency forces their hand. To help anxious and fearful patients receive the dental care they need, many dentists offer a variety of sedation options. Dr. David Zelby, a licensed doctor of conscious sedation (DOCS) in Atlanta, talks today about dental fear and anxiety and discusses safe, reliable oral sedation dentistry.

Understanding Dental Fear and Dental Anxiety

While many use these terms interchangeably, dental fear and dental anxiety describe two different psychological conditions. Dental anxiety, the milder of the two, describes mild-to-moderate feelings of unease or apprehension when a person contemplates a dental visit. A person with dental anxiety may make dentist appointments but will miss them or find excuses to avoid them. Dental fear, also called dental phobia, causes the sufferer to experience intense dread, unease, and even nausea at the thought of entering a dentist’s office. Dr. Zelby explains that mental health experts attribute the causes of dental fear and anxiety to a diverse range of factors, including negative or painful experiences in the past, a general fear of clinical spaces, and even off-putting representations of dentists and dentistry in the media.

The Dangers of Avoiding the Dentist

According to Dr. Zelby, the progression of tooth decay offers a good example of how avoiding regular dental care can cause significant problems. Tooth decay begins as a patch of demineralized enamel. During a regular checkup, your dentist will identify the demineralized area and suggest a simple, conservative treatment such as a fluoride rinse. However, if you skip your regular checkup – or never make the appointment at all – the demineralization will deepen and form a cavity. Even at this point, if you see a dentist, he can remove the decay and repair the tooth using a composite filling. Unfortunately, by avoiding the dentist entirely, the cavity will continue to deepen into the dentin and pulp layers of the tooth, causing extreme pain and requiring invasive treatment such as a crown, root canal, or even total extraction.

All About Oral Sedation

Oral sedation provides a simple solution for people who want to take better care of their teeth and gums but who must contend with dental fear and anxiety. Dr. Zelby, a certified doctor of conscious sedation in Atlanta, describes the process:

  1. The dentist prescribes a single dose of an anti-anxiety medication, such as Halcyon or Valium.
  2. The patient takes the medication about an hour before their appointment.
  3. During the appointment, the patient feels profoundly relaxed and detached from the procedure at hand but can still answer the dentist’s questions if necessary.
  4. After the appointment, a trusted friend or relative escorts the patient home and waits with them while the medication wears off.
  5. Most patients report having no memory of their procedure.

When administered by a dentist who is licensed and trained in oral sedation, patients can feel comfortable that they are receiving the dental care they need in an extremely safe environment. An assistant will monitor your vital signs and perform manual checks to make sure you remain secure and relaxed throughout the entire procedure.

Oral Sedation Dentistry in Atlanta

If you have avoided visiting the dentist because of dental fear or anxiety, call Dr. David Zelby at (770) 955-0550. Dr. Zelby and the expert team at Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta can help you feel at ease while we return your smile to optimal health, function, and beauty. Our Atlanta dentist office proudly serves patients in Marietta, Smyrna, East Cobb, Buckhead, Vinings, and Metro Atlanta.

Posted on behalf of Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta

200 Galleria Pkwy SE, Suite 1830
Atlanta, GA 30339

Phone: (770) 955-0550

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What Our Patients Says
Aesthetic and Implant Dentistry of Atlanta

4.9 / 5

Based on 136 reviews

Dr. Zelby was recommended to me by both my dentist and periodontist. I could not agree more. the kindness, caring, and professionalism that I experienced at Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta is above and beyond. I highly recommend Dr. Zelby, his assistants, and the staff. I couldn't be happier with my new teeth and wish I had done this years ago! five stars to you guys

Catherine W.

Everything about my experience was enjoyable. I felt like the practice used all of the most advanced and best technology out there which gave me a wonderful feeling of confidence. They were very professional and straight forward and I have never had a better dentistry experience. I'd highly recommend checking them out if you're looking for a new dentist. They're friendly and efficient and they really do know what they're doing there.

Meghan D.

Dr Zelby has been my dentist now for almost 17 years. Not only is he a really nice person, his dentistry is completely top notch. If you need any restorations, I don't think that there is another place to even consider. You'll be amazed with his work!

Brian S.

Dr. Levine was great, and Dr. Zelby stopped by and answered some questions I had about sheering forces on enamel. They were both very friendly, and the hygenist (whose name I forget, unfortunately) gave one of the most thorough cleanings I've ever had. The office was clean, the devices all seem shiny and well maintained, and overall it was a great experience

Benjamin S.

After going to another dentist, doctor Zelby was able to fix my front two teeth so that the front two teeth were back to the same length and color. I'm so thankful he was able to make them look normal again. Dr. Zelby and his staff are so pleasant to be around as well. I highly recommend this office if you have a major problem with your teeth that need to be fixed. He can get it done and he will make sure you are happy.

Carrie G.

I had been going to the same dentist for many years and switched to Aesthetic and Implant recently. My experience with Dr Levine was incredible. I cannot be happier with the decision I made. The cleaning and other services I received were well above and beyond any other I have ever had. Highly recommend this practice to everyone!

Matthew G.

Couldn't be happier! Absolutely worth the travel time. Dr Zelby is without doubt the best - caring, knowledgeable, reassuring and very professional. Couldn't ask for better dentistry. Staff also very competent and professional. Beautiful, clean environment

Diane W.

Megan is the best dental hygienist I’ve ever had. She does a phenomenal job keeping your teeth clean, is super nice, and makes you feel right at home. The whole staff is very friendly and I couldn’t recommend this place enough!

Vincent C.

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Visit Our Office
Cobb Galleria Office Complex, Building 200, Suite 1830


200 Galleria Pkwy SE, Suite 1830
Atlanta, GA 30339

Phone: (770) 955-0550

Opening Hours

Monday 9AM – 5PM
Tuesday 9AM – 5PM
Wednesday 9AM – 3PM
Thursday 9AM – 5PM
Friday 9AM – 4PM

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