Dental work gives more than 60% of people across the world anxiety. There are many reasons getting dental work can make a patient worried. For many, this anxiety stops them from making and keeping their check-up or procedure appointments, which can further agitate dental problems.
But going to the dentist and keeping good oral health is important.
Luckily, patients can take advantage of dental sedations to stay calm and get all of the work done they need. We've compiled a total guide to the three main types of sedation to help you decide what's best for you!
For most family dentists, oral sedation is one of the more common approaches for handling a patient's dental anxiety.
Oral sedation is a medication that the patient consumes orally, either in liquid or pill form. This type of medication will take a little bit of time to kick in (normally no more than an hour), so the patient will need to be in the office for that time as well. Once the medication has taken effect, the patient will feel sleepy and relaxed.
One of the main reasons that dentists often offer this type of sedation is because the dosage and specific type of medication used can be customized to fit the exact needs of the patient.
A higher dose will obviously make the patient more drowsy and the lower more aware of what's going on.
All dosages of oral sedation are considered "conscious sedation" though because even if the patient does fall asleep they can be woken up easily. The patient won't lose consciousness, they won't be totally aware.
Most patients who receive oral sedation can remember the procedure afterward but don't feel the worry or anxiety during. The most common side effect is slurring speech and wobbly balance until the medication wears off.
If you've been to the dentist at least a handful of times, you've heard of nitrous oxide sedation. Though you've probably heard it called laughing gas.
Many dentists like their patients to try getting their dental work done with nitrous oxide before moving onto other sedation types. This is because it doesn't cause as severe drowsiness as some of the other sedation types. Instead, it makes the patient relaxed without the sleepiness.
Some patients can even drive themselves home after using it, though this isn't usually recommended.
When getting nitrous oxide, the patient slips a device over their nose. The device has tubes that connect to the machine which produces the laughing gas. The dentist will control how much the patient receives throughout the procedure.
This constant control over the medication is a major reason why so many dentists, patients, and caregivers prefer this sedation method to others. It's even used on children if they have a problem sitting through dental appointments.
Since this medication is given in a gas, it kicks in and wears off quickly. A few minutes on and the patient will feel nice and calm, ready for their procedure. A few minutes after removing the mask and stopping the flow of gas and the patient will be back to normal.
For the more extreme cases of dental anxiety, dentists may recommend a form of IV sedation. This method is almost a mixture of the other two which makes it a great choice for those patients who are struggling or for difficult procedures.
Obviously, the name implies that the sedative medication is given to the patient through an IV. Doing this allows the medication to kick in much quicker than an oral sedative but still the same (or more) strength. The dentist is also able to control the amount of sedation throughout the procedure.
When a patient receives IV sedation, they aren't fully unconscious like with anesthesia. But they are on the verge of unconsciousness or a very deep sleep.
Most patients don't remember very much about the procedure once the medication has worn off. It's as if they took a nice, long nap instead of sitting in the dental chair for hours!
This type of sedation is used mainly in specialized clinics or for intricate procedures that will take a significant amount of time. It's a great option to get that major work done without any of the mental hardship!
Many people dismiss the importance of getting dental work done because of the added stress it can cause them. It often doesn't feel as urgent as other medical issues. But that is not the case at all.
Staying on top of your oral health can have a major impact on your overall health, especially your mental health.
Our smiles and teeth are often a very important part of the way we feel about ourselves. Problems with our dental health that are visible, like missing or damaged teeth, can make us feel self-conscious and less confident. Taking care of these issues with the help of dental sedation can give you an overall better sense of well-being.
When you know you need to go to the dentist, you can feel the constant burden of the nagging task.
You can let that go and get the work you need to be done completed by talking to your dentist about the dental sedation options available to you. They will work with you to create a treatment plan that will allow you to feel confident and prepared to face the appointment.
Each option has benefits, these professionals will be able to take your medical history, dental needs, and current worries into account to pick the best option for you.
Dental anxiety is such a common worry for many patients. But it doesn't have to stop you from good oral health anymore!
Using dental sedations during your dental appointments will allow you to feel calm and relaxed so the dentist can do their work. It's easy to work with your dentist to customize your treatment plan so you can have the best care possible.
If you're interested in learning more about your options and scheduling appointments, contact us today!