Dental fear can be a serious barrier to obtaining all levels of care, from routine exams and cleanings to more involved interventions to address oral diseases. A sedation dentist can help you overcome your anxiety and get the treatments you need to keep your smile as healthy as possible. If you’ve postponed care because you’re afraid of the dentist, you should look into this approach.
A sedation dentist administers anti-anxiety medications to patients to help them relax deeply throughout the course of the appointment. The sedative drugs may be delivered orally or intravenously. Patients may also inhale gaseous nitrous oxide to achieve the same effect in certain situations.
With sedation, unlike general anesthesia, the patient remains conscious throughout the appointment. Therefore, patients are able to respond to commands from the sedation dentist for greater ease of care. Also with sedation, the airway is not compromised, unlike in general anesthesia when the airway must be maintained artificially over the course of the procedure.
Patients who choose sedation achieve a state that feels sleep-like although they do remain conscious. Furthermore, the sedatives have amnestic effects, which means that patients will have no recollection of the procedure after the sedatives have worn off. This reduces the likelihood that bad memories of your dental treatment will reinforce the anxiety you have about getting treatment.
Sedation does require certain preparations on the patient’s part. For example, if you choose intravenous sedation, your dentist will direct you to fast for a specified amount of time prior to the appointment. Additionally, you will need to make arrangements to have a responsible adult accompany you to the office and escort you home. The medications will not have completely worn off by the time you leave the office, so you will not be able to drive safely.
Has dental fear kept you away from the dentist’s office? Sedation may help you get the care that you need. Call our office to schedule a consultation and learn more about this treatment option.