Say Goodbye to Fear of Dental Visits with Sedation Dentistry
Unfortunately, a significant number of patients experience some degree of dental anxiety that can interfere with their ability to receive treatments needed to preserve their oral health. In some cases, this fear is so severe that patients are unable to even come to the office for minor treatments, such as exams and dental cleanings.
We don’t want your dental anxiety to hold you back from getting the dental care that you need, so our office offers an option for sedation dentistry that helps you achieve a state of deep relaxation so that you can tolerate your dental treatments. There are different options for sedation that are suitable for different types of treatments.
Sedation Dentistry Options
Our practice offers nitrous oxide and oral medications for patients who want to take advantage of sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide is a gas that is administered immediately prior to the patient’s procedure. The patient inhales the gas, which takes effect very quickly and levels can be controlled throughout the appointment. Additionally, the effects of nitrous oxide are reversed in a short amount of time, as well. Nitrous oxide can provide suitable sedation for a variety of dental treatments, including fairly complex procedures. For patients with significant anticipatory anxiety in advance of an appointment, oral sedation can help them to relax before they even arrive at our office.
Preparing For Your Appointment With Sedation
Depending on the type of sedation decided on by you and your dentist, you may need to take steps in advance of the appointment. Nitrous oxide does not require any preliminary preparation. Oral medications, however, must be taken far enough ahead of time to allow the sedatives to take effect. Additionally, while under the influence of these medications, you will not be able to drive safely, so you must arrange for a responsible adult to bring you to your appointment. You should also plan for that person to take you home after the appointment, as there may be some lingering effects from the medication that can compromise your driving ability.
Benefits Of Sedation Dentistry
The primary benefit of sedation dentistry is that it helps fearful patients to relax and access important dental treatments. Your oral health is intricately linked with your overall health, so your entire body can benefit from this treatment option. Patients remain conscious while under sedation, so this option is also considered to be safer than general anesthesia.
Additionally, the sedatives used in this practice have an amnestic effect. The patient will have no recollection of the procedure after the appointment, so we are able to avoid triggering more negative memories that could reinforce an existing dental fear.
The sedatives also affect a person’s perception of the passing of time. That is, patients feel that time is passing more quickly while under the sedative’s effects. This aspect of sedation can benefit patients who don’t have much dental anxiety, as it may be used to reduce the number of appointments needed for those facing complex, time-consuming interventions.
Common Sedation Dentistry Questions
Oral sedation involves taking an anti-anxiety pill prior to your dental appointment. Your dentist will prescribe the medication in advance for you, and you will be instructed to take the pill at least an hour before your scheduled appointment time – but not so far in advance that its effects will start to wear off before your treatment is expected to end. It’s important to note that you will not be able to drive after you take the medication, so you must make arrangements for someone else to bring you to the appointment.
Oral surgeons can rely on a number of different delivery methods for sedation dentistry. Our practice uses nitrous oxide and oral sedation. With nitrous oxide, the patient inhales the gas, and the sedation levels are monitored throughout the appointment. Nitrous oxide’s effects are reversed within minutes, and the patient is able to function normally after the appointment.
Oral sedation requires patients to take a pill about an hour before their scheduled appointment time, and the patient remains under the relaxing effects of the medication for the duration of the treatment. There are some residual sedative effects with oral sedation as well, so the patient must have someone else bring them to and take them home from the appointment.
Sedation helps patients relax enough to overcome any fears that they may have about receiving dental care or to increase the amount of time that patients can tolerate such treatments. It can be used in situations ranging from routine exams and cleanings to more complicated interventions designed to restore teeth, treat gum disease or improve the smile’s appearance.
With conscious sedation, patients remain conscious throughout the appointment although they feel like they are in a sleep-like state. Because they are conscious, they can continue to respond to commands from the dentist. Additionally, with conscious sedation, the patient’s airway is not compromised, unlike with general anesthesia, which requires the airway to be artificially maintained.