No More Fear! Sedation Dentistry
Dental anxiety and Dental phobia are more common than you might think. For many the fear of dental work can cause them to delay needed dental care until it is an emergency. Unfortunately, avoiding routine dental care can lead to poor oral health and a need for more extensive procedures. Thankfully sedation dentistry offers options to reduce anxiety and can be used for anything from a simple teeth cleaning to more involved procedures.
Sedation dentistry has made it possible for those who are fearful of the dentist to get the important dental care they need. Medication is administered to alleviate stress, anxiety, and fear. Sedation dentistry has become an essential tool for many dentists.
Sedation Dentistry: An Overview
For many people, inhaled sedation is enough to get them through a dental procedure. Inhaled sedation or “Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Sedation”, is more commonly and inappropriately known as “laughing gas”. This gas is administered through a nasal hood and is an effective pain reliever. Your dentist will be able to control the amount of sedation you receive. The effects of inhaled sedation wear off quickly and most people are able to drive home after the procedure.
With oral sedation, however, you take a relaxation-inducing pill roughly an hour before the procedure. This pill, which is usually a type of benzodiazepines, helps you relax and stay calm during the procedure. In most cases, a local anesthetic will be used in conjunction with oral medication to minimize discomfort. You will need someone to drive you to and from the dental office.
Two Levels of Oral Sedation
In many cases, minimal oral sedation is required. This will simply make you drowsy, but you will still be awake and responsive during the dental procedure. While minimal oral sedation dentistry helps you relax, you’ll still retain your ability to move independently and respond to communication and instructions from dentists and staff. Cognitive function, balance, and hand-eye coordination may be impaired.
If you experience significant anxiety during dental procedures, the dentist may prescribe moderate sedation. When moderate sedation is used, you won’t remember a majority of the procedure. You may slur your words and become very groggy. It’s not uncommon for patients to fall asleep, although they can usually be woken with slight stimulation, such as a gentle shake of the shoulder.
Common Medications Used in Oral Sedation
As we mentioned above, most medications used during oral sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines. These medications are prescribed to mitigate and alleviate anxiety and agitation. You’ve likely heard of Valium®, but other medications that can be used in oral sedation dentistry include, Ativan®, Halcion®, Sonata®, Versed® and Vistaril®.
When is Oral Sedation Dentistry Needed?
How can you be certain that oral sedation dentistry is right for you? It’s essential that you talk with your dentist before deciding, but it could be right for you if you have any of the following issues:
- Low pain threshold: Commonly experience pain above and beyond normal levels
- Squirming and fidgeting: Have difficulty sitting still and relaxing in the dental chair
- Sensitive gag reflex: Feel the urge to gag whenever dental instruments enter your mouth
- Need a large amount of dental work: If a lengthy amount of time will be needed to complete one or more procedures, oral sedation may help you through the process.
Marco Island Dentists
Meet with Dr. Schulze or Dr. Perez today for a dental evaluation. Their expertise has been instrumental in helping hundreds of patients feel comfortable and calm during dental visits.