Sitting in the dentist’s chair can be a nerve wracking experience for some people. Whether you feel slightly tense or extremely anxious, you could be one of many people who feel worried, or have “dentist phobia”, when going to a dental appointment.
Take a deep breath, because there is a solution!
Anyone can feel jittery when headed to a dental or medical appointment. If patients cannot sit still in a dentist’s chair due to nerves or feel like they are fidgeting, among other worries, they might feel apprehensive to come to the dentist. But it is very important to attend 6-month biannual dental appointments to clean your teeth, check for cavities, assess dental health, and more.
Luckily, sedation dentistry is a well-established solution that can help ease an anxious patient’s nerves. So can you relax in the dentist’s chair? Read on to find out.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is a practice in dentistry where a patient can undergo mild, moderate, or strong sedation during dental procedures. Sedation is available to be administered via oral or inhaled (such as nitrous oxide, laughing gas) methods. These methods do not require the use of needles if the patient has a phobia of needles. If the patient can tolerate needles, other forms of sedation dentistry utilizes intravenous (IV) administration to deliver sedatives.
For patients who have anxiety, sedation dentistry offers a more comfortable experience at the dentist. This advancement allows a patient to foster healthy habits and prioritize tooth cleaning and care.
Sedation dentistry is a temporary state, partially or fully sedating the patient throughout a long or uncomfortable procedure. In some cases, a patient can drive home after becoming awake and alert following sedation. In other cases, it is recommended that the patient has a friend or family member drive them home.
All of these sedation techniques are often paired with a local anesthetic, or pain control. The sedatives do not stop or limit pain, but provide relaxation and help quiet negative thoughts. In combination with pain control, sedation dentistry can make any visit a pleasant experience.
Types of Sedation Dentistry Available
There are many types of sedation available in this field. Patients are invited to learn about each option and discuss their favorite options with their care provider.
Mild or Moderate Sedation
Can be delivered via a face mask, as “inhaled” sedation. This form typically wears off quickly, but it offers anxiety relief during the procedure.
Can be delivered orally as a tablet or pill. The patient will not be fully asleep and can arouse. This method also tends to help a patient feel calm and relaxed.
If a patient is moderately sedated, he or she might not remember the procedure after waking up, which some patients view as a benefit. Oxygen is available, vital signs are monitored, and reversal agents are available for sedation dentistry.
Typically delivered through an intravenous (IV) method. It is monitored by a licensed anesthesiologist. It’s offered for time-consuming procedures, under circumstances where deeper sedation and being nearly “asleep” is beneficial.
Deep sedation will help a patient be nearly fully unconscious. It requires a dentist to have qualified training. Dentists should have oxygen and reversal agent drugs available for deep sedation.
General anesthesia will induce a sleep-like state, allowing a patient to be fully unconscious during a procedure. General anesthesia requires a dentist to have qualified training. Dentists should have oxygen and reversal agent drugs available for general anesthesia. There are some contraindicating factors to general anesthesia, such as certain medications, sleep apnea, and obesity, so it is important to inform your dentist and anesthesiologist of your full medical history.
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry exists to provide our patients with an extremely positive and relaxing experience. At Lifetime Dental Health in Columbus, OH, all of our patients’ wellbeing and enjoyment is our priority. Healthcare and dentistry should be an enjoyable experience, even if there is some anxiety involved.
By offering sedation dentistry at our practice, our team hopes to make dental procedures more comfortable. This article is intended to inform and educate patients about their options.
While you might have already thought about some benefits of sedation dentistry, the commonly associated benefits may include:
Relieving feelings of anxiety or fear, including “dental phobia”
Allowing the patient to relax in the dentist’s chair
Easing discomfort if the patient has a strong gag reflex
Feeling like a procedure only lasted a few minutes or took no time at all
Thinking that a procedure was not as bad as it seemed like it would be
Helping a patient feel more relaxed if the patient has sensitive teeth or sensitive senses, such as sensitivity to noises, lights, or touch
Relaxing a patient who is highly sensitive to pain, and just the thought of a painful procedure causes stress
Assisting a patient who must undergo multiple or time-consuming procedures
A patient who is pregnant or allergic to sedatives should not undergo sedation dentistry. Other health conditions might restrict or limit a patient’s ability to obtain sedation. These health conditions, benefits, and limitations will be thoroughly discussed between the patient and the dentist when considering sedation dentistry.
Children are sometimes able to undergo sedation dentistry, as well. Because children can be very nervous about going to the dentist, this might be a promising option to ensure that a child obtains dental care in a positive, fearless environment.
Whether an adult or child is interested in sedation dentistry, being interested in this procedure is the first step towards feeling more comfortable in the dentist’s chair.
If you would like to learn more about sedation dentistry, you can do so by contacting our team at Lifetime Dental Health today.
For those who are worried about how their dental appointment is going to go, staying home seems like the safer solution. Of course, we’d never recommend doing that, that’s why here at Lifetime Dental Health, sedation dentistry is a practice we are eager to implement…when it’s right for the patient.
Feeling scared about going to the dentist is common, but this safe sedation method is a surefire way to get through the procedure without the petrifying feeling you may have leading up to your upcoming appointment. Lots of patients have come to realize that sedation dentistry is the answer, and the process lowers stress.
Here are some important bits of info you ought to know about sedation dentistry at Lifetime Dental Health, and how we can make your visit more doable for you. We will take away your apprehension and anxiety, and deliver a dental appointment that’s an A+! You will be more inclined to stick with a regular dental check-up routine, and when you need to undergo a procedure with us, your former fears will be a thing of the past.
I am stressed out about my appointment! How do I know if sedation dentistry is for me?
We totally understand how a dental procedure could be worrisome for patients. We see patients who have no fears at all, but plenty have some degree of trepidation about coming in and getting dental work done.
To make their fears less ferocious, we use the convenience and care of sedation dentistry to make the process more appealing. Sedation dentistry is helpful for so many patients, especially those who are afraid of visiting the dentist. Perhaps they have a sensitive gag reflex or get nervous around the sights and sounds of the office environment and the equipment we must use. Some people have sensitive teeth and gums, and procedures are more painful or uncomfortable due to that issue. For those who need to have a lot of work done while in the chair, sedation dentistry allows them to feel calmer and more comfortable for a longer stretch. Then there are those who just want to feel more relaxed rather than on edge or nervous the entire time. Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience in the past, and now you fear the dentist due to the prior visit.
Do any of these examples sound like your experience? If so, you may be the perfect candidate for sedation dentistry. Before your procedure, talk to one of our dentists so we can plan ahead and prepare for your visit. If sedation dentistry is right for your needs, we will be sure to make it happen when it is time for your procedure.
How is sedation dentistry implemented? What is involved and how will I feel?
Providing you with the sedatives is simple. And don’t worry, you won’t be completely “knocked out” or unaware of your surroundings. You won’t be “sleeping” or in a trance-like state. Our sedation dentistry uses either nitrous oxide (commonly known as “laughing gas”), which you inhale, or a pill taken orally, which will leave you feeling calmer and more relaxed in no time.
Both of these methods “chill you out” so you can better tolerate the dental procedure without unnecessary anxiety. These alternatives to needles and shots are surely appreciated by our patients.
You may feel giddy and/or groggy, but you will be conscious during the procedure and able to communicate effectively and coherently with your dentist. Never fear, we monitor your vitals the whole time, making sure you are properly tolerating the treatment.
Be sure you have someone reliable to drive you home from the office, as the reaction from either sedative may not fully wear off by the time you’re ready to head home. Better to be safe than sorry, so set this up ahead of time. That said, the sedation will wear off soon after, so no worries about being “useless” for hours on end.
Which procedures are right for sedation dentistry?
Since every patient is different, we’ll take things on a case-by-case basis. But nearly any procedure can be performed using sedation dentistry when appropriate. From general check-ups to restoration procedures, we’ve used this process on many patients.
Talk to your dentist about your particular procedure, and we will determine if we can utilize sedation dentistry to help you make it through the procedure more comfortably.
I have concerns about payment for my procedures, can you help?
Your dental care (including sedation, if need be) is important to us. If you are concerned about your insurance coverage or how you can pay for your visit if you’re not on a plan, please discuss financing and insurance with our friendly and knowledgeable office team.
We accept various insurance plans and also offer in-house financing to make the costs of your dental care more doable. We will work with you to figure out a smart solution, so you can care for your oral health without financial stress or burdens.
Book your appointment with Lifetime Dental Health. Be sure to discuss sedation dentistry if it’s something you believe will help you get through your appointment without anxiety. Give us a call at 614-333-9442. We look forward to seeing you for your stress-free visit!
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.
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