Dealing with Dental Anxiety: How Can Sedation Dentistry Help

If you long for a relaxing visit to your dentist that is free from anxiety, you are not alone. While a little anxiety is normal before your dental visit, it can become a big problem if it keeps you out of the chair altogether. It can put you in the situation where, after finally visiting the dentist after years of avoidance, you learn that tooth decay and gum disease has created damage that could be irreversible. Luckily, there is a solution for you!

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

In sedation dentistry, sedatives are administered to the patient that will help them remain calm and relaxed through a dental procedure. These can be administered in a variety of ways including tranquilizers, depressants, anti-anxiety medications or nitrous oxide.  Dentists are doctors who have training and experience administering medications like these.

Help with Minor Anxiety

Nitrous oxide is an excellent choice for most patients. Sometimes referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide can be regulated to provide you with the amount of sedation you need. When used before a local anesthetic, the injection will not be uncomfortable and you should not notice any pain during your procedure.

If you plan to use nitrous oxide, you can drive yourself to your appointment. In most cases, you will be fine to drive after your treatment because the sedation wears off quickly. Nitrous oxide can also be used along with other sedation techniques to produce a higher level of sedation.

Another option is oral sedatives, available in a liquid or pill form. If you experience moderate anxiety levels, you can be given a tablet to take before your appointment. This type of sedation is beneficial in relieving the anxiety that can build before your procedure. However, if you choose this method, you cannot drive yourself to your appointment.

Help with major dental anxiety

If you experience extreme levels of stress and anxiety about dental treatment, you may wish to discuss deep sedation or general anesthesia. With these techniques, you will be barely conscious or unconscious during your procedure. You will not feel discomfort or pain. Once you have experienced dentistry with a sedation technique, your anxiety level may decrease on its own.

Because the effects of sedation can significantly impair the patient’s senses, a patient undergoing sedation dentistry must be accompanied by someone as the patient will not be able to safely drive after the procedure, and someone should stay with the patient for 2 to 4 hours afterwards.

According to some experts, nearly 30 percent of adults in the United States experience fear and anxiety over dental services, and this fear keeps many people from voluntarily visiting the dentist. Regular dentist visits for cleanings and dental exams help prevent serious dental health issues. The avoidance of dental care is detrimental not only to dental health but also to overall health and wellness.

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