Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?
Going to the dentist makes many people fearful. They become anxious, worrying about how much pain they might feel. Others feel a sense of powerlessness in the dental chair and struggle with not knowing what is happening during the visit. If you experience any of this stress, sedation dentistry can help. But how do you know if it is the right option for you?
What is sedation dentistry?
Using sedatives provided to you before or during your dental visit, you can relax and feel more comfortable receiving treatment. There are multiple levels of sedation used in dental care, including:
- Nitrous oxide
- Oral sedation
- IV sedation
- Local anesthetics
Nitrous oxide is "laughing gas," a gas you breathe through a mask that quickly relaxes you. This type of sedation wears off very quickly. You can typically drive yourself home after receiving this type of sedative.
Oral sedatives like diazepam help you feel calm before your dental appointment, as well as while you receive care. You typically receive a prescription from your dentist, for a pill you take about an hour before your scheduled appointment. This medication enables you to stay awake, although you can feel a little sleepy.
The dental staff provides IV sedatives during your visit. Depending on the type and amount used, you can go into a "twilight sleep" or a deep sleep. During a twilight sleep, you are less aware of the procedure and your surroundings. You may feel sleepy and will forget much of your treatment and the events that take place during your visit.
Although going into a complete sleep through general anesthesia sounds like the easiest way to get through your procedure, it can cause some side effects. This is why most dentists prefer to use other sedation methods over IV sedation. It is also important to discuss potential side effects before undergoing sleep dentistry. Make the dental staff aware of any allergic reactions you have had in the past.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from general anesthesia through IV sedation, local anesthetics numb only specific areas of your mouth where administered. These injections along your gum line ensure you do not feel pain during your procedure. But you do not experience any sleepiness. You can immediately return to your regular daily routine after your appointment.
Who needs sedation dentistry?
Sedation for dental care works well for a wide variety of people. In fact, this type of dental care offers something for almost every patient, regardless of age or treatment plan. But the best reasons for choosing sedation during dental care include:
- Dental treatment-related phobias
- Bad past experience as part of dental care
- Highly sensitive oral nerves
- Small mouth easily made sore during examinations
- Local anesthesia resistance
- General anxiety disorder
- Mental or developmental conditions making dental treatment difficult
Will sedation work well for me?
Dental sedation is something you should discuss with your dentist. Its use depends on which procedures you require and how you respond to care. Sedation is a particularly good solution if you put off receiving treatment you need because of your fears or anxiety. Having a range of options means you can receive the right method of anesthesia to fit your unique needs. It can make the difference between getting the care you need or ignoring issues like cavities, loose teeth, broken teeth or extractions.
Ask your dentist about sedation and which methods the office uses. This simple addition to your oral healthcare can help you feel better about your treatment plan. You can stop worrying about ongoing dental problems, pain and other issues.