Unfortunately, too many people avoid the dentist out of fear of discomfort. With the advances in technology and techniques in modern dentistry, that is no longer necessary. Now, patients with excessive dental fear can take advantage of sedation dentistry for a more comfortable experience.
The medications used in sedation dentistry help patients achieve a state of deep relaxation. However, patients remain conscious throughout the appointment. They are still able to respond to the dentist’s commands, and the airway stays open throughout the session. That is not the case with general anesthesia, which requires that the airway be maintained artificially.
Our office actually has a physician who specializes in anesthesiology who is able to monitor your vital signs while you are under sedation. Sedation dentistry is generally safe, so this is just an added measure for your protection.
Patients can choose from a variety of delivery methods for the sedatives. Intravenous sedation takes effect most quickly, but it may be unappealing to patients who are uneasy with needles. Oral medication is an alternative, but it does require the patient to take the pill at least an hour before the appointment. Inhaled nitrous oxide is another option that helps patients achieve the desired sedative effect.Fearful patients aren’t the only ones who can benefit from sedation dentistry, either. Anyone who is facing a lengthy, complex cosmetic dental treatment can often complete the treatment in fewer sessions with sedation dentistry, which allows patients to tolerate longer treatment sessions.
If you do choose sedation dentistry, be prepared to have a responsible adult take you home following the appointment. Patients who opt for IV sedation may need to fast in advance of the appointment, so be sure to ask your dentist about any preparations you should take.
Don’t let anxiety keep you from getting the dental care that you need to stay healthy. Speak with one of our dental professionals to get more information on sedation dentistry, which may help you overcome your fear.