Does the thought of going to the dentist make your entire body tense with fear? You are not alone. According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS Education), a professional dental organization dedicated to ensuring that patients receive safe, comfortable and anxiety-free dental care, 30 percent of the population avoids the dentist due to fear. This all-too-common “dental phobia” prevents people from receiving necessary routine dental care, potentially compromising the health and functionality of their mouth and smile.
There are many reasons for being fearful of the dentist. Most derive from a bad experience as a child. It is a memory that is very hard to forget. Many of these adults try to hide and mask their fear during their dental experience due to feeling ashamed and embarrassed. Approximately 10% of these adults experience a severe degree of fear which is referred to as dental phobia.
Patients with dental phobia go to extreme measures to avoid going to the dentist. Some examples include enduring dental infections, pain, inability to chew food, avoid smiling or showing their teeth and even compromising overall health.
Fortunately, with the advanced technology that we now have in the dental industry we can provide many services to make clients comfortable. One of those options includes sedation dentistry.
What is sedation dentistry? Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during their dental procedure. There are many levels of sedation from Nitrous Oxide to General Anesthesia.
Nitrous Oxide is a gas that you inhale through your nose. It is sometimes referred to as “laughing gas”. The dentist controls the amount of sedation that you receive. The gas helps you relax. With this form of sedation you are able to drive yourself home after your procedure.
Oral Sedation is administered with a pill. Typically the pill is Halcion, which is in the same drug family as Valium. It is usually taken one hour before your procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you will still be awake. A larger dose would be considered moderate sedation, which in some cases is enough to actually go to sleep during your procedure. With Oral Sedation you need someone to drive you to your appointment and home.
IV sedation is administered through a vein. This allows the medication to work more quickly, which allows the dentist to adjust the level continually through the dental appointment. Throughout the appointment the patient’s vital signs are monitored closely. Dentists that are administering IV Sedation have gone through advanced life support training to ensure the patients safety during their appointment. Patients that have IV Sedation must have a friend or family member drive them to the dental office and return them home. IV sedation is an excellent method of treatment for patients with dental anxiety, difficulty getting numb, very sensitive teeth or extensive dental needs.
General Anesethia is typically used in a hospital setting for major surgeries.
For more information regarding sedation dentistry please feel free to call the office to have all your questions answered.