While we're on the phone with new patients, we commonly hear remarks like: I hate…
Going to the dentist regularly is essential for maintaining a beautiful smile, but some folks have a hard time mustering up the courage to book an appointment. We get it. The sounds, sights, and smells can make you feel outside of your element. Even though you know that going to the dentist is good for you, it doesn’t always negate the stress.
Unfortunately, dental phobia is a very real factor in preventing Canadians from getting the dental treatment they need. What’s more, the nervousness only mounts the longer an appointment is postponed. Patients used to have to endure dental treatment despite their anxiety or suffer from poor oral health.
Today, there’s an alternative: oral sedation dentistry. In the past, sedation was only used for extensive procedures that required the patient to be asleep for a long time. Now, people are turning to oral sedation as a way to get through minor procedures as well.
There have been significant advances in oral sedation, giving patients the time to rest only for the duration of the appointment. There are also levels to anesthesia, depending on how conscious the patient would like to be. Generally, dentists recommend three types of oral sedation dentistry:
- Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Laughing gas provides the patient with a sense of relaxation and euphoria, hence its name. It’s one of the most popular types of sedation as the patient isn’t fully asleep for their procedure, so recovery time is minimal.
- Oral (pill) sedatives. These are taken prior to the appointment and induce deep relaxation.
- Intravenous Anesthesia. This is administered via an IV drip, delivering sedation straight to the patient’s bloodstream. Intravenous anesthesia takes effect faster and it is easier to control the dosage. IV sedation is typically only used for more severe cases of dental anxiety. It’s also a good sedative option for a patient undergoing extensive or multiple dental procedures.
Do you worry about going to the dentist days before your appointment? Do you loath booking appointments for fear of pain, discomfort or mental anxiety? Going to the dentist is on very few people’s lists of “fun things to do”, so don’t feel shame in communicating any nervousness to your dentist. Dentists are becoming more open-minded to the benefits of sedation dentistry, and are receiving further education to become certified in administering anesthesia. If you feel like you’re a possible candidate for oral sedation dentistry, have a conversation with your dentist about the best options for you.
Not sure if you’re a good candidate? See if any of the following points ring true for you, and follow up with an individualized consultation:
- You have a sensitive gag reflex and it makes going to the dentist miserable. It’s super normal to feel awkward when someone else’s hands are inside your mouth, poking and prodding away. For some people, this discomfort results in a very sensitive gag reflex, or an overactive tongue that just can’t remain still while in the dentist’s chair. A bit of oral sedation can help you relax and allows your dentist to do their job without triggering your gag reflex.
- You’re afraid of needles. Even some of the toughest patients cringe at the thought of needles. When it comes to needles in the mouth, that fear can be amplified. If you’re dreading an upcoming procedure where you know you’ll need some anesthetic delivered via needle, oral sedation can help you get through it.
- The dentist’s office environment scares you. It’s not unusual to feel put-off by clinical settings. Even our pets can be afraid of going to the vet! It’s natural. If the sight of dental equipment, the smell of antiseptic, and hearing the whirring of machinery makes your heart beat faster, you might enjoy the visit to the dentist a little more with some light sedation.
- You need multiple procedures in the same visit. Having several procedures done at once can be tiring since you need to keep your mouth open for long periods of time. While it might save time and money, it can be nerve-wracking leading up to the appointment. A bit of sedation can help the process go much more smoothly.
- You’re happy to forget your appointment! Often time when people oral sedation dentistry, they remember very little of their appointment. If you’re okay with this, you could be a strong candidate for oral sedation dentistry.
The most important thing to consider, if you’re looking to try oral sedation dentistry, is finding the right clinic where best practices are standard. Dentists are given some training in their foundational education on how to administer light anesthesia, but further training is required if they want to offer a broader range of options. Do your research online, or ask friends and family who they recommend. Make sure you bring all your questions to the clinic when consulting on oral sedation dentistry. If you feel like you’re in good hands and want to experience dentistry without anxiety, give oral sedation dentistry a try.
For the top dentists in Rosedale, downtown Toronto and the GTA, contact Dawson Dental at 1-877-542-2043. You can also contact us here. We’re a full-service dental practice offering a broad spectrum of care. We have locations across Ontario to serve you best.