3 Common Reasons For A Fear Of Anesthetic And How To Control Them
Many people are apprehensive about visiting the dentist. While most fears are general fears of having work carried out, some people suffer from more specific fears that arise due to a bad experience or misunderstanding of the procedures involved. One of the most common fears is a fear of local anesthetic which causes you to "go numb". Below are three root causes of this fear and how to get over it:
Underlying Fear of Suffocating or Choking
While local anesthetic itself will not cause suffocation, many people feel that the physical changes experienced while numb could possibly lead to choking or an inability to breathe. The reason for this is that having local anesthetic administered into the mouth can oftentimes stop people from experiencing the feeling associated with swallowing or breathing. However, this is not dangerous and is merely due to the brain shutting off signals from these regions, rather than shutting off these regions themselves.
Local anesthetic administered at small dosages will not affect your body's ability to carry out simple motor functions such as breathing or swallowing. In particularly high dosages, it is possible that your body's functionality will be affected; however, these dosages should never be administered by medical professionals. Rather, the dosages are kept at a small level so that they only reduce your body's ability to feel pain.
Losing Control of Your Body
One of the common side effects associated with local anesthetic is drooling around the mouth. This occurs because feeling around the area is temporarily shut off, meaning your brain has difficulty in noticing drooling and taking steps to prevent it occurring. As such, many people are worried about going numb, as it relates to a loss of control in particular areas.
It's understandable that people are worried about losing control of their body, as they may be worried about injuring themselves without noticing. For example, some people are worried that they may accidentally burn themselves whilst eating because their mouth is unable to detect the temperature of the food.
For other people, the fear of losing control comes from a sense of embarrassment associated with feeling numb. Slurred conversation and drooling aren't particularly attractive traits, so it's understandable that people would want to retain control of their body to avoid embarrassing themselves.
However, it's important to understand that everyone has to visit the dentist at some point – you're in good company! While it may be embarrassing at first, people will understand that the problems are associated with recent dental work and will not judge you on your behavior. With that said, if you can't seem to get over this sense of embarrassment, then it may be a good idea to schedule your appointments for weekends or a time when you don't have to return to work. This will give you the space you need to fully heal before facing people, allowing you to avoid the embarrassment you may have experienced otherwise.
Misinterpreting Numbness as a Threat
Numbness isn't a natural feeling experienced by humans and your body is wired to interpret numbness as a threat. The feeling of numbness often occurs due to other factors, such as infection, poor supply of blood to the area, or even poisoning. As such, it's understandable that experiencing numbness can trigger panic responses in some people due to the negative connotations associated with the feeling.
Although your logical brain knows that the numbness is caused by local anesthetic and will disappear soon, your body may have an instant reaction to the anesthetic. These are very primitive reactions that don't have an easy fix; however, it's important to remain calm and rational if you are have this feeling. Education is the key; while it may not be possible to completely remove your body's response to the anesthetic, understanding why the medication is required and how it works can help calm you down.
For more information, talk to the dentist at a local clinic like Sidney Harbour Dental Center.