There are many reasons you may dread going to the dentist. If you have a fear of dentists or pain, you may hate the idea of going to the dentist so much that you stay away for years at a time. Not getting regular dental care is bad for your oral and general health. Plus, you might have frequent toothaches or gum disease that gets progressively worse.
Sedation dentistry is the solution for anxiety surrounding dental visits. Your dentist provides you with oral, IV, or gas sedation so you are calm and able to undergo your dental procedure. Here's an overview of the choices in sedation dentistry.
Your Dentist Chooses The Best Type Of Sedation
If you need dental work right away, you might have a procedure done on your initial visit, but it's likely your first visit to the dentist will be an evaluation to make sure you're suitable for sedation dentistry and for your dentist to choose the best type of sedation for you.
All ages can have sedation dentistry done since the dosage of the sedative can be adjusted for your age and size. Your dentist has to consider the type of dental work you'll have, how long it will take, the reason for your anxiety, and how bad your anxiety is before choosing the type of sedative you'll receive. The sedatives have a recovery period, so you'll need someone to drive you home from your dental appointment.
A Sedative Pill Or Nitrous Oxide Gas Helps With Anxiety
Your dentist might consider a sedative in pill form to help your anxiety. You might need to take this before you get to the dentist so it will take effect by the time your procedure starts. This might take several hours to wear off, so you might need supervision once you get home.
If you have a fear of needles, your dentist might give you nitrous oxide gas to breathe to calm you down long enough to have the anesthetic shot. Nitrous oxide relieves anxiety and it also helps with pain. It wears off fast once the dentist turns the gas off, so it's a good option if you only need sedation for a short while.
However, you can also use the gas throughout the procedure with your dentist adjusting the flow to keep you at just the right level of sedation where you're calm but alert.
IV Sedation Is Good For Long Procedures
Another option for sedation dentistry is IV sedation. With this, your dentist starts an IV when you arrive for your appointment. When the sedative takes effect, you'll be calm and alert enough to cough and respond to instructions from your dentist, but you'll be in a twilight state, so you won't remember much about what goes on.
IV sedation also makes it seem like your appointment goes quickly, so it's often a good choice for a long procedure. The IV method of delivery gives your dentist control over when the sedation takes effect and when it gets turned off rather than relying on how quickly your body can absorb and metabolize a pill.