Severe dental phobia can cause people to completely avoid dental examinations and treatments. Anxiety about dental treatment can develop for many reasons, including fear of pain, the feeling of not having control, fear of needles, a strong gag reflex, or a history of bad dental experiences. If you suffer from extreme dental fears causing you to neglect necessary oral care, sedation dentistry may be the answer to your problem.
A trained sedation dentist can offer a variety of options to address your situation:
- Minimal sedation in the form of nitrous oxide allows you to be awake but relaxed during dental treatment and may be a good option for cleanings, routine examinations, or minor procedures. Your dentist is able to control the amount of sedation you receive.
- Oral conscious sedation also allows you to remain awake during procedures, but may cause you to feel drowsy and will keep you from having much memory of the treatment. A stronger dose can be given to produce more moderate sedation, in which case you may fall asleep but can easily be awakened.
- IV sedation is when a sedative drug is administered through a vein. This type of sedation works rapidly and also allows your dental professional to adjust the level of sedation during treatment.
- General anesthesia provides deep sedation through medications administered that cause nearly complete or total unconsciousness. With general anesthesia you cannot be awakened until the effects of the drugs have dissipated.
Sedation dentistry can be used for any type of dental procedure, from routine cleanings to more complicated, invasive procedures. Thanks to advances in sedation dentistry, you no longer have to fear the dentist and avoid necessary oral health care.
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Many types of cosmetic dentistry procedures such as crowns, bridges, tooth implants, or other invasive procedures require some kind of anesthesia in order to be performed in comfort for the patient. Even a procedure like porcelain dental veneers can be aided by the addition of some kind of sedation dentistry, especially if the patient is experiencing anxiety or fear regarding the treatment. For any patient seeking a more relaxed cosmetic dental experience, sedation dentistry presents several options.
Inhaled sedation, or nitrous oxide, is more commonly known as “laughing gas.” It is inhaled via a mask and is controlled by your dentist. It is a light sedation, and allows you to remain completely responsive and compliant to instruction. Nitrous oxide sedation wears off quickly; because of this, you may be able to drive yourself home after your treatment.
Conscious oral sedation reduces your anxiety while still allowing for responsiveness to requests and directions. Oral sedatives are typically prescribed in pill form, and can be taken up to an hour before your dental procedure. Some dentists believe that taking a mild oral sedative the night before treatment can alleviate anxiety and ensure proper rest. You should not drive yourself home if you have taken an oral sedative for your dental treatment. You will not be fully alert.
IV sedation is also known as “sleep dentistry.” It provides the most relaxed dental experience, allowing you to be deeply sedated while never completely unconscious. A natural effect of the drugs is full or partial memory loss of the time during its use, so you may have no memories of your procedure. You should never drive following IV sedation, and you may not be fully alert for several hours. Plan to go home, rest, and sleep.
Your cosmetic dentist wants you to be comfortable throughout your dental therapy and will know which sedation dentistry option is right for your particular cosmetic dentistry procedure. Talk to your cosmetic dentist today about any concerns you have regarding your treatment so that you may have the most positive, pain and anxiety-free experience possible.
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Sedation dentistry provides a way for those who experience anxiety or fear about visiting the dentist to get the treatment they need. It is also helping in relieving pain, and enabling more dental work to be performed in one visit. Two common methods of administering sedation are oral and intravenous (IV). Each type has its own unique characteristics and attributes.
Oral sedation involves swallowing pills or liquids. There are no shots, which is good news for patients afraid of needles. However, oral sedatives are less predictable because each medication affects people differently based on age, weight, medical history, and more. Also, there is a time delay between swallowing it and taking effect. Since the medication is absorbed through digestion, it is difficult to alter the sedation level quickly during treatment. Nearly all patients respond well to oral sedation, with few occurrences of any side effects. Patients typically don’t remember anything that occurred during treatment.
IV sedation means that the medication goes directly into the blood stream though an IV injection. A very powerful method, the effects are instant once the shot is given. If the medication begins to wear off, more can be administered through the IV for immediate results. IV sedation is very common during oral surgeries, which benefit from the ability to alter the medication dosage as needed. It is advantageous for long procedures or when multiple treatments are being done in one sitting. Patients will not remember the procedure or sometimes even the appointment at all. The biggest drawback of IV sedation is for patients who dislike needles. IV sedation requires that the dentist have special training and certification, so make sure that your dentist is qualified if this method is offered.
Both types of sedation can be effective depending on the situation and patient. Discuss your case with your dentist to help you decide which one might be the best for you.
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