Many people are afraid of the pain that comes with dental work. They worry about feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable, not just during but after their appointment as well. Sedation dentistry can help ease your fears by allowing you to be more relaxed during dental procedures.
Sedation dentistry will require that the dentist administer a drug before or during your dental procedure. Only general anesthesia will leave you completely unconscious. The other forms of sedation will help you relax you but won’t knock you out totally. The most common types of sedation dentistry options include:
- Intravenous or IV sedatives can put patients in various stages of consciousness. General anesthesia, as mentioned earlier, will put you into a deep state of sleep. However, other types of IV drugs can put patients in some kind of “twilight sleep.” In a similar state, you become less aware of your surroundings. You might also feel very sleepy and won’t remember much of the procedure.
- Oral sedatives can help patients relax during dental procedures. They are typically taken an hour or so before your scheduled dental appointment. You will be fully awake during the procedure but you are less anxious. You might also feel sleepy until the effect of the medication wears off.
- Nitrous oxide is a gas that can help you relax during your dental procedure. It wears off quickly so it is possible for you to drive yourself home after your appointment.
Some patients have the misconception that general anesthesia is always the best option. However, since it also comes with more potential side effects, options for milder forms of sedation is considered ideal.
Ideal Sedation Dentistry Candidates
Patients who consider sedation dentistry often have issues with the following:
- Phobia that is related to dental procedures
- Bad experience in the past that’s related to dental work
- Highly sensitive oral nerves
- Small mouth that can easily become sore during dental procedures
- General anxiety disorder
- Resistance to local anesthetic
If you can relate to any of the problem areas mentioned above, consider asking your dentist about sedation dentistry and if you are a good candidate. Dental sedation has been proven to help countless patients get through different types of dental work such as tooth extractions, dental implantations, root canals, and more.
However, sedation dentistry is typically not offered for X-rays, dental cleanings, and other routine dental care. In extreme cases of anxiety, sedation dentistry is one option that will be explored. Before getting dental sedation, think about the procedure you will undergo and your general response to dental care.
For example, ask yourself if you are afraid of needles. If so, IV sedation might make you anxious more than the dental procedure itself. In the same manner, if you worry about being vulnerable in the dental chair, you might want to stay awake and opt for a local anesthetic.
If you constantly put off dental work because you are afraid of the pain or other aspects of the dental work, sleep dentistry might be an option you can look into. Keep in mind that when you put off issues like broken or loose teeth, dental caries, etc., you are putting your oral health at risk.
Also, when left unattended, the problem can become even more complex as time passes. This can mean you will be needing more complex and costly dental work done in the future. If you worry about any upcoming dental work, discuss dental sedation with your dentist.
If it is an option for you, don’t hesitate to discuss your questions and concerns with your dentist. Knowing what you are getting yourself into can help you feel more confident about the state you will be in during your procedure.