How Sedation Dentistry Helps Anxious Patients Get the Treatment They Need
If you feel anxious about visiting your dentist, you are not alone.
Dental phobia is, obviously, a fear of dentistry. Most patients don’t enjoy dental procedures, but some are so fearful that they may avoid the dentist altogether.
Over time, this avoidance will cause dental problems to develop or worsen. When the patient finally visits the dentist, they may have several severe problems.
But there is no need to avoid the dentist out of fear and anxiety. Sedation dentistry is available to keep patients relaxed and comfortable throughout the appointment.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry uses medication to ease anxiety and prevent discomfort at the dentist. Dentists will recommend sedation for patients:
- With severe dental anxiety or phobia;
- Who are undergoing extensive dental procedures that will take a long time;
- Who have severe gag reflexes; and,
- With sensitivity to dental procedures, such as children, or those suffering from sensitive teeth, or mouth, back, neck, or jaw problems.
The type of sedation used will vary by the dentist, but they all ensure comfort for extended periods of time by preventing fear and pain.
Conscious IV Sedation
Your dentist will administer this medication through an intravenous injection. Although patients remain conscious, they also remain relaxed and don’t feel a thing.
Conscious Oral Sedation
You can take oral sedatives the night before a dental appointment to help you sleep. And take them again one hour before the appointment to ease anxiety. These sedatives also keep you conscious throughout the procedure, but you won’t feel any fear or pain.
Also known as laughing gas, patients inhale this gas. Your dentist will adjust the level of gas based on your comfort and needs. And they will keep track of your vital signs throughout the procedure.
Tips for Patients
Still nervous? Don’t be! We’ve put together a few handy tips to help you relax and stay calm during your treatment. Keep these in mind before, during, and after treatment to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
- Reschedule if Your Health Changes: If you have a cold, you are best to reschedule your dentist appointment for a time when you have optimal health.
- Wear Comfortable Clothes: Wear loose-fitting clothing, and avoid wearing makeup or nail polish.
- Don’t Eat or Drink For At Least Two Hours before Your Appointment: Your dentist will give you an exact time frame for when you should stop eating.
- Arrange for a Ride: You will still feel the effects of the sedation after your appointment. So you should not take public transportation home. You also shouldn’t drive or operate machinery for at least 18 hours following the sedation. Arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home and keep you company until the sedatives wears off.
- Don’t Drink Alcohol While Sedated: For the rest of the day following your appointment, do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can have an adverse reaction with the medication.
If you fear dental procedures, talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry. This will help you receive the dental care you need without the pain or anxiety.