To many people, the mere thought of sitting in a dentist chair is nothing short of terrifying. The fear of dental treatment can be so severe that some may prefer to live with the pain and discomfort of oral inflammation and tooth decay rather than to seek treatment.
The good news for people who never schedule teeth cleaning and other types of dental treatment out of fear is that sedation dentistry can alleviate anxiety. Sedation is not only reserved for extensive procedures such as root canals, but also routine cleaning and inspections.
If you are afraid of going to the dentist, you have several sedation options at your disposal.
Inhaled Minimal Sedation
This is the lightest form of sedation that many people prefer because it allows them to drive themselves home and continue with their day. This form of sedation is administered by placing a mask over your nose that supplies nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” that helps you to relax.
When you are under the influence of inhaled minimal sedation, you are conscious, calm, and in control of your cognitive functions.
For minimal to moderate sedation, oral sedation is often the most effective. Minimal oral sedation has the same effect as inhaling nitrous oxide and can be achieved by taking a pill like Halcion an hour before the procedure.
A larger dosage can result in moderate sedation that can cause you to fall asleep. This is not a deep sleep, however, and the effects will wear off soon after the procedure.
IV Moderate Sedation
Intravenous sedation is also a moderate form of sedation that typically works faster than oral or inhaled methods. Like inhaled sedation, the dentist has control over the sedation level.
Deep sedation with anesthesia will make you partly or entirely unconscious. With this method, it will take some time before the effects of the anesthesia wear off, and you will need someone to drive you home from your appointment.
In combination with sedation, you may also need a local anesthetic to numb the area where the dentist is working to relieve pain.
Is Sedation for Me?
Sedation alleviates the anxiety that people experience when visiting a dentist and help them care for their teeth. Sedation is also a viable option for people who:
– Have sensitive teeth or a low tolerance for pain
– Need to have a lot of work done
– Have a bad gag reflex
If you find that fear of going to the dentist or any of the above conditions keep you away from the dentist and proper dental care, minimal or moderate sedation may be the perfect solution.
If you have to undergo more severe treatments, such as a tooth removal, consult with your dentist about the possibility and benefits of deep anesthesia.
Generally speaking, sedation is a safe solution to remove anxiety and ensure that you are comfortable, especially if your dentist is experienced in administering sedation.
Consult with your dentist to determine the sedation option that is the best for you.