Unfortunately, far too many patients postpone getting dental care due to severe anxiety, even for appointments involving nothing more than an exam or cleaning. Delaying routine care can lead to dental emergencies, though, so it’s best to have any problems addressed as early as possible. Sedation dentistry can help fearful patients access the dental care that will preserve their smiles.
With sedation, the patient achieves a sleep-like state although they remain conscious throughout the appointment. Patients are deeply relaxed, yet they continue to be able to respond to the dentist’s requests and commands. They are not bothered by the sights, sounds and smells associated with the environment. Furthermore, the airway is not compromised with sedation as it is with general anesthesia. Therefore, sedation is generally considered to be safer than anesthesia.
Different methods can be used to achieve the sedative effect, depending on the desired level of sedation. Patients can inhale nitrous oxide, which takes effect almost immediately and also reverses quickly, typically before the patient leaves the appointment. Oral conscious sedation is another option in which patients take anti-anxiety medications in pill form prior to the appointment. The medication must be taken far enough in advance so that the patient is already relaxed by the time of the treatment.
Sedation dentistry can help you overcome your dental fear or even just make a lengthy treatment more tolerable and efficient.
If you choose sedation dentistry for your appointment, your dentist will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare. For example, patients who receive oral conscious sedation will need to make arrangements for a responsible adult to escort them to and from the appointment, as they will not be able to drive safely while under the medication’s effects.
Although many people associate sedation dentistry with overcoming dental fear, this technique isn’t just for people who have qualms about seeing the dentist. Patients are unaware of how much time is passing while under the effects, so complex treatments that might otherwise require a number of sessions can be condensed into one or two appointments when a patient takes advantage of sedation.
Look into how sedation dentistry can help you overcome your dental fear or even just make a lengthy treatment more tolerable and efficient. One of our knowledgeable dentists can educate you on your sedation options and the benefits you gain from this approach. For additional information, contact our team at Clement Family Dentistry.