I’m Scared of the Dentist. Can Sedation Dentistry Help?
by Dr Richard Barry
When it comes to phobias, dentophobia, which is the fear of going to the dentist, and dental anxiety are some of the most common. In fact, it’s estimated that around 75 percent of people suffer from some degree of anxiety and fear when it comes to the dentist, which is why it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. These fears and anxieties can be triggered by anything such as the dentist themselves, the sound of the tools, or even just sitting in the chair.
However, avoiding the dentist due to these fears can lead to greater issues such as tooth decay and disease, which is why it’s so important to consider treatments for your dental anxiety, including dental sedation.
How Can I Treat My Dental Anxiety?
There are many options for treating dental anxiety. First, if you speak to either your dentist or doctor about your anxieties and fears, they may prescribe you an anxiety medication to help you relax before your procedure. You can also try more holistic methods such as meditation or progressive muscle relaxation. If none of these work for you, however, you may want to look into dental sedation.
What is Dental Sedation?
If a patient is nervous, a dentist may use dental sedation to help them relax. This involves the administration of medicine that can either help a patient relax or even put them to sleep completely.
What Are the Types of Dental Sedation?
There are four main types of dental sedation.
Minimal sedation, also known as laughing gas, won’t put you to sleep, but it will help you relax. This is the most common form of dental sedation.
Moderate sedation also won’t put you to sleep, but it may impair you and cause you to slur your speech even after the procedure.
In deep sedation, the third type of dental sedation, you may be dozing off, but you are able to be awakened at any time.
The final type of dental sedation is called general anesthesia. This is when you are completely asleep. Most dentists don’t offer this option in their offices, so you’ll have to schedule a special appointment.
All of these types of sedation can be administered in various ways, from an IV to a gas. After you and your dentist decide which one will work best for you and your procedures, it’s important to thoroughly go over the pros and cons so you can work to better prepare yourself to go under.
What Are the Pros of Sedation Dentistry?
The most obvious benefit of dental sedation is that you will feel more relaxed for your procedure.
You’ll also save time. The less time you spend being anxious, the less time it will take for your dentist to work. This means that they’ll be able to get you in and out, which means less time you’ll have to stress.
In some cases, dental sedation can also help reduce any pain you may feel during your procedure. This, of course, depends on the type of sedation used.
What Are the Cons of Dental Sedation?
While sedation may seem like the perfect solution for your dental anxiety, there are a few cons that you will need to keep in mind.
First, dental sedation isn’t free. If finances or insurance are an issue for you, the cost of sedation is something to consider.
Also, depending on your dosage, you may be physically impaired after your procedure. This means that you will be unable to work or drive, and you’ll need someone to help you afterward.
Like any medication, different people will be affected in different ways by dental sedation. While it is safe most of the time, there are times when the dose isn’t right. A dose too weak won’t ease your anxiety, and a dose too strong can be dangerous. Again, though, this is extremely rare. Your dentist has gone through nearly a decade of school, and he/she, along with his/her staff are well trained.
How Can I Prepare for Undergoing Sedation?
The best way to prepare for sedation is by doing your research. You can also talk to your dentist about what to expect. Your dentist is extremely knowledgeable, and is there so that you can ask questions. It’s as important to him/her as it is to you that you are comfortable and anxiety-free during your visit.
Even if you plan to use dental sedation, practicing other holistic tips, such as the ones mentioned above can help. This will help you remain calm even before the sedation is administered, making for a more comfortable experience.
If you’re interested in learning more about dental sedation for your next appointment, or if you’re ready to schedule an appointment since you know how to better manage your dental anxiety, contact our practice today or give us a call at (614) 333-9442.