If you feel anxious about seeing the dentist, you’re not alone. Surveys estimate that 13%-24% of people experience dental anxiety. You shouldn’t avoid going to the dentist, though, and you also don’t have to just grin and bear it. Sedation dentistry provides a way to make dental care much more comfortable.
Sedation dentistry involves varying degrees of unconsciousness during your dental procedures. Most often, people are able to get dental treatment with minimal sedation, but some patients require general anesthesia. Our providers of Dental Art of South Bay explain more about sedation dentistry and why this is a safe option.
Sedation dentistry doesn’t always involve being put to sleep
Although all levels of sedation dentistry are safe, most patients don’t require being put to sleep (also known as being under general anesthesia). Most patients find that they can get through dental visits with lower levels of sedation, which is very safe.
Sedation ranges from nitrous oxide (laughing gas), which is the least invasive, to intravenous anesthesia. You will also likely receive local anesthesia, which will numb your gums so you don’t feel any pain. The types of sedation include:
Inhalation sedation usually involves nitrous oxide breathed in through an oxygen mask, which the dentist places over your nose. This medication will make you feel very relaxed, although you’ll technically be aware during your procedure. It wears off nearly immediately once the mask is removed.
Oral sedation can range from mild to moderate, depending on the medication used and how much of it is given. Most often, we use a medication called Halcion, which is in the same category of drugs as Valium. You may fall asleep while taking this medication, though we can usually rouse you from it. You might feel a bit drowsy and groggy for a few hours as this medication wears off.
Intravenous (IV) sedation
Sometimes, if you want a greater degree of sedation, you will receive a sedating medication intravenously. This method delivers the sedating drug directly into your bloodstream. It also allows the dentist to adjust the level of medication if needed.
Is sedation dentistry safe?
You may be wondering whether you can safely be sedated to get your dental work. The answer is yes. Dr. Samet has substantial experience administering sedative medications and knows how to do so safely.
It’s also important to recognize that you’re not being put under general anesthesia, which has more risks. Sedation dentistry, regardless of the method used, is inherently less risky than general anesthesia.
Who is a candidate for sedation dentistry?
If you have any anxiety about seeing the dentist, you should consider the option of sedation dentistry. Dental anxiety can keep you from making dental appointments for needed care, and failure to do so can lead to greater problems down the road.
Whether you have fears related to past traumatic experiences, need major dental work that you fear may be painful, or have highly sensitive teeth, you don’t need to explain the source of your anxiety to anyone. Dental sedation can make dental care much more comfortable for you.
If you would like to make an appointment for dental care or inquire about sedation dentistry, we would love to talk with you. Call our office today to request an appointment.