Tips for Relieving Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety is a serious problem for many patients, but it doesn’t need to stand between you and the care you need from your dentist in order to maintain a healthy smile. Sedation dentistry can calm patients’ jittery nerves and help them get treatments ranging from routine checkups to restorations and root canals and beyond.
Sedation dentistry relaxes patients using anti-anxiety medications that put patients in a sleep-like state. Although patients feel that they are sleeping, they actually remain conscious throughout the appointment and are able to respond to commands from the dentist. For this reason, sedation dentistry is usually considered a safer alternative to general anesthesia.
Additionally, the sedative drugs used to help patients achieve this state also have an amnestic effect. That is, patients have no recollection of the procedure after the fact, so they won’t have negative memories to reinforce their dental anxiety.
Your dentist may offer different options for delivery of the sedation dentistry medications. They can be administered intravenously or orally. Patients may also inhale gaseous nitrous oxide for a similar effect.
The type of sedation dentistry you choose will influence your preparations for the appointment. For example, patients who get IV sedation will need to fast for a specified period of time in advance of the appointment. Those who choose the oral sedation option will need to have the prescription filled ahead of time and take the pill far enough in advance (usually just an hour or two) for it to take effect. Oral sedation also requires the patient find someone to escort them to the appointment.
Most patients who take advantage of sedation dentistry will also need to plan for a responsible adult to drive them home from the appointment as well, as the sedative effects will not be completely reversed by the time you leave our office. The exception to this is nitrous oxide, which wears off rather quickly.
Are you interested in sedation dentistry and how it might help you to get dental care and preserve your beautiful, healthy smile? Call our office and speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members to ask any questions you have about this treatment option.