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Utilizing Sedation Dentistry for a Stress-free Visit

Many people suffer severe anxiety visiting the dentist, and it causes them to forgo their appointments. Their fear makes it easier for them to put off dental procedures time and time again until it’s been years since they’ve seen the dentist. While some people are at ease with this, it’s not healthy to forgo dental visits. Fear shouldn’t keep anyone from seeing their dental promote good oral health. Since your oral health is directly related to the overall health of your body, it’s imperative you see the dentist for twice yearly cleanings and more often if additional dental work is needed.

If fear is a problem for you, perhaps you might find sedation dentistry more appealing. The fear you feel with the dentist is put to rest when you visit using this type of dental procedure. The way it works is quite simple. The dentist uses sedatives to put the patient in a state of relaxation. It’s almost like sleep, but you’re aware of what’s going on around you. All this does is make the procedure more comfortable and less stressful. This type of dentistry is beneficial as it allows patients to see the dentist for much-needed dental work without the fear and terror they might feel otherwise. If you fear the dentist, understanding how sedation dentistry works can help you feel more comfortable caring for your oral health.

The Different Forms of Sedation Dentistry

  1. Intravenous (IV) Conscious Sedation

    This type of sedation dentistry is used more often by surgical specialists in the dental field. It requires dental professionals to take specialized courses to obtain certification in IV therapies and use. The patient will experience a small pinch as the dental professional inserts a needle into the patient’s skin to administer the sedative. It only works if it’s administered directly to the bloodstream. Some patients prefer this method of sedation because it’s immediate. There is no waiting for the sedative to begin working, which minimizes the length of time in which patients fear their time in the dentist’s office.

    The downfall of sedation dentistry using an IV is that it’s riskier. There are certain risks associated with this type of sedation, and it can affect patients who aren’t careful with it. Patients are more likely to experience issues with their heart rate, their blood pressure, and their breathing. Special equipment is used to monitor these functions in any patient who chooses IV sedation.

  2. Inhalation Conscious Sedation

    It’s more commonly referred to as Nitrous Oxide. Some people refer to this as laughing gas, but it’s not the medical term for the gas. Dentists have been expertly using this type of sedation for more than 100 years with ample success, and it requires no special training or certification. This type of sedation is less for anxiety than it is for pain, which is often a problem for patients who are worried more about the anxiety they feel as they go forward with this technique.

    The dentist provides this gas through a breathing cup that goes over the mouth and nose. The patient breathes it in deeply a few times, and it takes effect within minutes of breathing it in. It tends to provide a feeling of euphoric happiness and a light-head, and it keeps patients feeling comfortable with the work being done. It wears off very quickly when it’s no longer being administered, so patients can leave the office almost right away without any side effects. It’s one reason so many patients choose this form of sedation.

Why Use Sedation Therapy

Patients who fear the dentist or experience severe anxiety while at the dentist might want to use sedation therapy to make it more comfortable. There are numerous reasons this type of therapy is useful to patients, but the best reason is the effect it has on your overall health. Poor oral health is linked to several devastating health issues. Tooth decay and gum disease are common health issues associated with poor oral health. Periodontitis is another result of poor oral health, and it’s linked to an increased risk of the following health problems:

  •   HIV
  •   Diabetes
  •   Infection
  •   Cardiovascular disease
  •   Endocarditis
  •   Premature birth and low baby birth weight
  •   Osteoporosis
  •   Alzheimer’s disease

While there is no guarantee you will develop any health issues from not seeing the dentist, your overall health and the longevity of your life aren’t worth risking for a little fear. You can use sedation therapy for the following reasons:

  •   To become unaware of the procedures your dentist is performing
  •   To relax and feel good while you’re in the dentist’s chair
  •   To allow you to sit down and have work done you know you need done by the dentist when you can’t do it otherwise
  •   You’re going through an invasive procedure that’s making you feel uncomfortable or exceptionally nervous
  •   Your fears are irrational and you can’t get rid of them
  •   You have a specific phobia related to one of your procedures, such as fear of the sound of a specific machine used in the dental office
  •   You have mental health issues that might benefit from the use of sedation therapy at the dentist

There is no right or wrong reason to ask for sedation therapy to make your next visit to the dentist more comfortable. Your dentist is here to help you feel more comfortable, and it’s not an uncommon request to have sedation therapy.

Who Can Use Sedation Therapy?

Anyone can use this type of therapy depending on their overall health. Anyone with any allergies to the sedatives used cannot have them in their system, and some people with specific health problems might find their doctors don’t recommend they use sedation therapy. Otherwise, anyone can use it. Those who use it most fall into these specific categories:

  •   People who require ample dental work in one procedure
  •   Those with a low pain tolerance
  •   Anyone with exceptionally sensitive teeth
  •   Those who have a difficult time sitting still on the chair
  •   Anyone with a gag reflex that’s bad enough to cause vomiting in the chair

Your dentist wants you to keep up with your oral health. Even if you’re doing an exemplary job of brushing and flossing at home, there are specific things only the dentist can handle. Let your dentist know if you have an issue with fear in the dental chair. Our staff understands fear of the dentist is a very real thing, and we never judge patients for being too afraid of the dentist to keep up with their oral health. What we do is provide an alternative to make them more comfortable in the office by offering two forms of sedation therapy. This allows our patients the confidence to come into the dentist for much-needed work.

Your healthy future relies on your dedication to visiting the dentist. Twice yearly appointments allow us to stop issues as they arise rather than treat them when they’re too far advanced, and many times we can prevent further damage from being done. Take the chance to put your fears to the side and try sedation therapy the next time you visit the dentist.