We understand that dental anxiety is a serious issue for many patients and can even present a barrier to their willingness to get routine care like professional cleanings and exams, let alone more involved procedures. If you fall into this category, you should consider seeing a sedation dentist who prioritizes your comfort for all treatments.
A sedation dentist will use anti-anxiety medications to help the patient achieve a state of deep relaxation. These medications may be delivered intravenously or in pill form. Some dentists may also give patients the option to inhale nitrous oxide for its sedative effect. You should discuss all of the possibilities with your dentist to choose the method that works best for you.
In contrast with general anesthesia, sedation actually allows patients to remain conscious throughout the treatment, although they enter a sleep-like state. For this reason, sedation is often considered to be a safer alternative to anesthesia, which renders the patient unconscious and requires artificial airway maintenance. However, sedation has the same amnestic effect as anesthesia so patients will not have any vivid negative memories after the fact to reinforce their dental fear.
Although patients do remain conscious during the appointment, the sedation dentist will continue to monitor the patient’s vital signs for the patient’s safety so that action can be taken if any concerns develop.
If you choose sedation to make your dental appointment more comfortable, you may need to make some prior preparations before coming to the office. For example, patients who opt for IV sedation will need to fast after midnight. Oral medications need to be taken far enough in advance to give them time to achieve the desired effect, and you’ll have to arrange for someone to bring you to and from your appointment. Other sedatives may not fully reverse by the time you leave our office, so you’ll need to bring someone to escort you home in these cases, too. Your dentist will give you more specific instructions on preparing for your appointment.
Our goal is to maximize your comfort while you are under our care, and we offer a variety of sedation options in order to achieve that objective. Call our office to speak to a member of our staff and learn more about sedation and how it might benefit you.