Dental anxiety is a condition that causes fear of visiting the dentist. It’s far more common than most people realize, estimated to prevent between 9 to 20% of Americans from getting the dental care they need.
For patients who suffer from dental anxiety, sedation is a convenient solution that can help them keep their smile healthy without having to feel uncomfortable. Explore our guide to learn about the three primary types of dental sedation and how they work.
The Benefits of Sedation
Sedation can offer many benefits for patients who are nervous in the dental chair. Some of these include:
- Helps you feel calm and comfortable
- Allows the dentist to complete long and complex procedures in one visit
- Leaves you with little to no memory of your treatment
- Can help reduce or eliminate your anxiety over time
Nitrous oxide is the most common form of dental sedation. It’s often called laughing gas due to its effects, which often makes patients smile or laugh after ingesting it. The gas is administered through a small mask that’s placed over your nose and you’ll feel the effects within seconds of breathing it in.
After ingesting nitrous oxide, you’ll feel a wave of euphoria spread through your body. This helps you feel happy and relaxed throughout your appointment. You won’t actually lose consciousness at any point, but you’re unlikely to remember the procedure later. This can actually help reduce your fear of the dentist over time.
Another advantage of nitrous oxide is that the effects can be reversed immediately. This separates it from other sedation methods which often take longer to wear off. As a result, you can drive yourself to and from your appointment for maximum convenience.
If you’re interested in nitrous oxide sedation, look for a dentist who offers it such as Dr. John Poovey in Grand Junction, CO.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is a great option for patients who want to avoid wearing a mask or getting an injection. For this method, you’ll take a small pill roughly an hour before your appointment and the effects will kick in by the time your procedure begins.
The medication will provide a calming sensation that will help you feel comfortable in our office. You’ll remain awake and responsive but your fear and anxiety will dissipate, allowing you to feel confident going into your treatment. By the time the effects wear off, you’ll have little to no memory of the experience.
If you choose oral conscious sedation, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need a ride to and from your appointment. This is because you take the medication before you arrive and the effects often linger after treatment.
To take advantage of this option, find a dentist who offers oral conscious sedation such as Dr. David Blaustein in the Chelsea ara of New York City.
If you choose IV sedation, your dentist will administer the medication directly to your bloodstream through an IV tube. The effects will kick in almost immediately, immersing you in a state of deep relaxation. You won’t actually lose consciousness, but you’ll have minimal awareness during the procedure and you won’t remember it later. As a result, this state is often referred to as “twilight sleep.”
Your dentist will carefully control your sedation level and monitor your vital signs throughout the treatment. Many dentists prefer IV sedation because it allows them to control the timing and concentration of your medication more precisely than other methods.
Since you don’t take any medication in advance, you can drive to your appointment if you prefer. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to arrange for a ride home, as the effects may take a couple of hours to wear off.
If you’re interested in IV sedation, visit a dentist who offers it such as Dr. Roman Shlafer in Farmington Hills, MI. Though he doesn’t perform IV sedation himself, he has a licensed anesthesiologist on call to assist patients.
Discover the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation has helped many patients get the dental care they need to maintain a healthy smile. Whether you suffer from anxiety or you’re just undergoing a long and complex procedure, sedation can help you relax and feel comfortable through the duration of your visit.
In some cases, sedation can even change your perception of going to the dentist and help you view it as a positive experience. No matter which option you choose, you can enjoy stress-free appointments that will help you maintain the healthy smile you deserve.