Do you suffer from dental anxiety? Does the idea of going to the dentist for a routine cleaning or a dental procedure cause you to feel nervous, fearful, or stressed? If so, you can rest assured that what you experience is very common. As much as 36% of the population in the United States has some level of dental anxiety.
This is a disturbing statistic to dentists whose passion is to provide quality dental care for patients. As dentists we want our patients to feel comfortable and relaxed while getting the care they need. How can this happen? With the help of a medical technique called sedation dentistry.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry refers to medically induced relaxation techniques used during dental procedures. There are a few different types of sedation that can be used to help patients relax and feel more comfortable receiving dental care. Some provide a minor level of sedation while others provide a deeper level of sedation. The type of sedation used depends on the invasiveness of the procedure and the preference of the patient.
Types of Sedation Dentistry
There are a few different types of sedation used in dentistry:
- Nitrous oxide. More commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a mixture of gasses you breathe through a mask placed over your nose. You are fully conscious, but you will feel more relaxed. Patients under nitrous oxide often describe feeling light headed with heaviness in their arms and legs and tingling in their fingers and toes. Nitrous oxide takes effect quickly and wears off quickly, allowing you to drive to and from your appointment and resume your regular daily activities afterwards in most cases.
- Oral sedation. An oral sedative can be prescribed in pill or liquid form for you. You may feel sleepy or groggy, but you will be conscious for the entire procedure. It is common not to remember much from the time you were under the influence of the sedative. You’ll need someone you trust to drive you to and from your appointment in this case.
- IV sedation. A sedative can be administered intravenously that will make you feel as if you are asleep. Although you are still responsive, you most likely will not remember anything from the procedure afterwards. You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.
- General anesthesia. General anesthesia is the deepest form of sedation available and it is most often administered in a hospital setting because you will require breathing assistance while under. This type is only used for invasive surgical procedures.
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
There are many benefits of having sedation for your dental procedure:
- Feel more relaxed. Overall, sedation will help you relax and feel less stressed about going to the dentist.
- Get the dental care you need. Sedation dentistry can help you get the dental care you need but have been avoiding due to your anxiety or fear.
- Procedures seem shorter. Under sedation time seems to pass more quickly because you are less aware of what is going on around you.
- No memory of the procedure. In deeper levels of sedation you may have no memory of the procedure at all.
- Less local anesthesia needed. In some cases sedation can mean you will need less local anesthesia, meaning the numb feeling will wear off more quickly afterwards.
How Effective is Sedation Dentistry?
Many patients have found that sedation dentistry allowed them to get some much needed dental work done. Some patients have found complete relief of their dental anxiety due to the availability of sedation options. The success of sedation dentistry varies from one patient to another, but overall it is considered to be a highly effective tool.
Sedation Dentistry in Periodontics
Periodontics is a specialization within the field of dentistry. It focuses on the support structures for the teeth, including the gums and jaw. The periodontal specialty also encompasses implant therapy for teeth replacement when teeth are missing or severely compromised from cavities or gum disease. Sedation is highly effective when used for periodontal procedures, especially the placement of dental implants and other more invasive procedures.
Many patients suffer from gum disease and related oral health issues because they are afraid to go to the dentist to get their teeth professionally cleaned and receive other restorative procedures. Progressive Periodontics & Implant Dentistry offers a variety of sedation options to help you improve your dental and oral health.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.