How Not to Fear Going to the Dentist 101: The Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
A lot of kids grow up fearing going to the dentist, but even adults can feel scared and anxious about their dental appointments.
Stress, anxiety, and fear of the dentist all pose a challenge to dental care. When these come first, it can be hard for patients to get the treatments they need. In some cases, patients skip out on appointments entirely to avoid facing their fears.
The good news is that dentists are equipped with a solution to help put patients at ease. Sedation dentistry is designed to keep patients relaxed during dental work. Find out if sedation dentistry is right for you!
The Basics of Sedation Dentistry
As the name suggests, sedation dentistry involves administering a sedative to help patients relax before a dental procedure. It’s often confused with general anesthesia, but the latter is the only option that renders patients completely unconscious; sedatives are designed to help patients relax without knocking them out completely. These include:
- Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”: this popular sedative is a gas that has relaxant properties. Plus, it has the added benefit wearing off quickly, so patients are usually able to drive themselves home after. That said, it is always recommended to get a lift or take public transit, just as an added precaution. Everyone reacts differently.
- Oral sedatives: diazepam, a popular oral sedative, is taken an hour before the procedure. When it takes effect, patients are still fully awake but much less anxious, even to the point of a little drowsiness until it wears off.
- IV sedatives: depending on the type of intravenous or IV sedative, patients can find themselves in varying levels of consciousness. Most popularly, IV sedatives are general anesthesia, which put patients in deep sleep throughout the course of the procedure. In some cases, a lighter type is used, which only makes patients feel sleepy, but also less receptive of their surroundings until it wears off.
Depending on your procedure and medical history, your dentist will decide what the best sedative option is for you. Things to consider include allergic reactions and comfort level, so try to be as open as possible with your dentist, as this will allow them to make the safest decision for your dental care.
How Sedation Dentistry Works
Sedatives are administered differently depending on the type and the dental procedure. For instance, dentists provide a prescription for oral sedatives, as these need to be taken prior to the procedure; once you feel a bit drowsy and visibly relaxed, then your dentist will know that it is safe to proceed.
On the other hand, nitrous oxide is supplied by your dentist at the clinic and you won’t need a prescription for it. As for IV sedation, you may need to fast or abstain from eating and drinking for several hours prior to the procedure. IV sedatives are often administered for extensive dental work, so make sure to pay attention to your dentist’s aftercare instructions, such as the safest way to get home and ease back into your daily routine.
What is sedation used for?
Sedatives are designed for extensive and invasive procedures. Unlike your regular dental cleaning and other routine care, procedures like root canals, tooth extractions, and dental implantation can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort—and the mere thought alone can be enough to scare patients. But with sedation dentistry, patients won’t have to keep suffering from oral health complications like dental caries and loose or broken teeth. The result? No more pain, complications, or anxiety.
Do I need sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry has helped countless patients get the dental care they need. The question is: do you need it?
Electing to undergo sedation dentistry isn’t just for comfort reasons; it’s designed to help ease the stress felt by patients who have had bad experiences with dental work in the past and those who have particularly sensitive oral nerves which make it difficult for dentists to administer proper care.
Outside of stress and pain sensitivity, dentists recommend sedation dentistry to patients who have a small mouth which can make it hard for patients to keep their mouth open for extended periods of time. Similarly, some patients are allergic or show resistance to local anesthetics, so sedatives provide a great alternative.
If you experience general anxiety disorder on top of phobia of dental work or have had a bad experience in the past, don’t hesitate to explore your options. Dentists are here to advocate for your dental care, so you can get the treatment you need without being held back by fear.
Don’t let your anxiety prevent you from getting the dental care you need. Whether it’s putting you to sleep or giving you just enough laughing gas to put you at ease, our dentists are here to ensure that you feel comfortable in the dental chair. Call Dawson Dental at 1-877-308-8105 or contact us here to book an appointment with one of our dentists.