Sedation Dentistry: Not Just for Anxiety

More than ten thousand Americans experience severe anxiety about going to the dentist, causing them to avoid checkups for years at a time. Unfortunately, not getting your teeth cleaned regularly can lead to poor dental health and costly procedures to fix issues that could have been prevented. Fortunately, there is help for people who experience high levels of anxiety at the mere mention of the dentist: sedation dentistry.

Alleviating Anxiety

Portrait of happy young woman with cup of hot beverageSedation dentistry (such as NuCalm) usually uses an oral sedative taken an hour before treatment to put patients into a relaxed state. In some cases, nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas”, can be used instead of or in combination with oral sedatives. A common belief is that sedation dentistry puts patients to sleep, but this is not entirely true. Though some patients may become groggy enough to fall asleep, these sedatives do not usually put people to sleep. The sedative slows the central nervous system to relax patients. They will be aware of happenings in their surroundings without being as impacted by sounds like a drill that would have normally caused them anxiety. Memories of the experience may be hazy or non existent later.

Another common belief is that sedation is only used for invasive surgeries. It is not uncommon for patients to consider sedation for other procedures as well. People with special needs have also benefitted from this dentistry. From filling cavities to basic cleanings and checkups, sedation dentistry can help keep your dental experience stress free and comfortable. One factor to consider with sedation dentistry is that driving is not recommended after using sedatives, so you will need to arrange to have someone bring you home safely.

Keeping You in Your Chair

You don’t have to experience high levels of anxiety about dentistry to consider using sedation on your next visit. For people with ADHD, or people living with chronic pain, simply sitting still long enough to do something fun such as watch a TV show can be a battle. Needing to sit still in the dentist’s chair can seem like a war best left for another year, or five. Fortunately, slowing the central nervous system can help, making sedation dentistry a good option for people who have trouble sitting in the same position for long periods.

People with heightened gag reflexes or sensitive teeth have also been helped by sedation dentistry. In the same way that it dulls your responses to incoming sounds and sights, sedatives can dull physical sensitivity. Although not a replacement for local anesthetics when removing wisdom teeth or undergoing root canals, sedation can help with minor responses to physical stimulus.

Points to Ponder When Considering Sedation Dentistry

If you are considering sedation dentistry, it is important to share your medical history with your dentist. Although sedation dentistry is a safe process, it is a good idea to  discuss with your dentist whether you are a candidate for it. Mention any preexisting medical conditions or medications that you are taking. It is also important to mention if you suffer from sleep apnea.

Choosing your dentist carefully is important. When considering dentists, see how much experience they have using sedation. Any dentist is qualified to use it, but with practice comes a better technique. Find out also what dose is appropriate for your age and health, and whether it is within the dose recommended by the FDA.

To learn more about how sedation dentistry can help you maintain your dental health in Tulsa, please call 918-528-3330 to make an appointment today.

By |January 25th, 2015|Our Practice, Sedation|