Does the idea of going to the dentist make your stomach churn with dread? Would you rather clean a public restroom than go to have your teeth cleaned? A lot of people suffer from dental anxiety. Some people have dental anxiety so bad that they avoid going to the dentist for years, causing more advanced tooth decay and dental disease.
If going to the dentist causes you psychological anguish, then you should think about asking your dentist for sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry can help ease your anxiety, and it can be used in every dental treatment from routine teeth cleanings to more invasive treatments, like root canals or dental implants.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry uses medicine to help patients feel comfortable during dental procedures. Sometimes sedation dentistry is referred to as “sleep dentistry.” However, this isn’t exactly true, since most versions of sedation do not actually put the patient to sleep.
There are multiple levels of sedation, and the types of sedation used for your treatment will depend on your level of dental anxiety, as well as the treatment you need completed. The most common types of sedation include:
- Minimal sedation. Minimal sedation allows you to remain fully awake, while also helping you feel relaxed during your treatment. This is a good option for patients with minimal fear of the dentist, who need short routine treatments, like a cleaning or cavity filling.
- Moderate sedation. Moderate sedation, sometimes referred to as “conscious sedation,” will make you feel less conscious during the treatment, causing you to slur your words. You also might not remember much after the treatment. Moderate sedation is a good sedation option for patients with more severe fear of the dentist.
- Deep sedation. Deep sedation is used for patients needing advanced work done that will require an extended period of time for completion.
Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry
Before opting for sedation dentistry, it’s important to make sure your dentist is certified in the level of sedation dentistry you need. There are multiple types of sedation used in dentistry, but these are the most common:
- Inhaled minimal sedation. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is one of the most common and oldest versions of sedation used in dentistry. Nitrous oxide is administered by placing a mask over your nose to help you relax.
- During the entire treatment, we’ll be able to control your level of sedation. Nitrous oxide wears off more quickly than other forms of sedation, so you will be able to resume normal activities after your treatment. Nitrous oxide is one of the safest and least expensive versions of sedation.
- Oral sedation. Oral sedation can be considered minimal or moderate sedation, depending on the administered dose. With oral sedation, we will prescribe you an anti-anxiety medication, similar to Valium.
- Typically, it is taken in a pill form about an hour before your appointment. Oral sedation pills tend to make you drowsy, even though you will remain awake. For more advanced treatments, we will administer larger doses for a more moderate sedation level.
- In some cases, moderate oral sedation can cause patients to fall asleep during procedures, while still remaining easy to wake up. This form of oral sedation is a good option for patients that suffer from panic attacks and more intense anxiety.
- IV moderate sedation. At Vero Dental Spa, we are not certified in IV sedation dentistry. However, this form of sedation is administered intravenously, so dentists can continuously control more intense levels of sedation. IV moderate sedation tends to be more expensive than other versions of sedation. It can also make the patient feel groggy after the procedure.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
When administered by certified and experienced dentists, like the dentists at Vero Dental Spa, sedation dentistry is a safe and effective way to treat dental anxiety.
However, patients who are obese or have obstructive sleep apnea might be more likely to develop complications from sedation medication. Before administering sedation, we will assess your overall health and conditions to choose the proper dosage and type of sedation, ensuring you receive a safe and effective treatment.
We will also make sure that we go over all of the details of your procedure, as well as showing you your sedation options. If you have any questions about sedation, we will answer all of these, before moving forward with your treatment.
Asking for Sedation at the Dentist
You might feel uncomfortable asking your dentist about sedation options. It’s important to remind yourself that a lot of people are scared of going to the dentist, and you have nothing to be ashamed about. At Vero Dental Spa, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your dental treatment. We especially want you to feel at ease, if you suffer from dental anxiety. Call us today and ask about our sedation options.