Like most people, you may feel nervous about visiting your dentist for routine exams and treatment. Some people ignore the pain or use over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms. Most oral issues worsen with time, leading to severe symptoms and the need for expensive treatments.
Fortunately, there’s a solution for you if you have dental fear or anxiety – dental sedation. Sedation dentistry uses medications to keep you relaxed and calm during dental treatments. Depending on the time needed for your procedure, you can be awake or asleep. You may not need sedation for procedures such as routine oral exams and cleanings.
Dentists often recommend sedation for individuals with:
Dental fear and anxiety
Feelings of claustrophobia when in the dental chair
Extreme teeth or gum sensitivity
A very sensitive gag reflex
Decreased sensitivity to local anesthesia
Fear of needles (aichmophobia)
Special needs (physical, behavioral, or cognitive)
Difficulty controlling movements
What Is Conscious Sedation?
Oral conscious sedation keeps you relaxed and calm. You’ll be fully aware of your surroundings. Your dentist can communicate with you throughout the procedure. Conscious sedation is for outpatient and cosmetic treatments. The sedation can be administered intravenously through an injection, a pill, or inhaling a gas (nitrous oxide).
You have had local anesthesia if you’ve had a cavity filling procedure for minor procedures. This just numbers the area your dentist is working on to keep you comfortable.
After the procedure, you might feel numbness for a few hours. Avoid chewing or drinking until the numbness wears off completely.
In some cases, local anesthesia is used in conjunction with nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen administered through a mask placed over the nose. You’ll still be conscious during procedures.
Fortunately, the effect of nitrous oxide wears off pretty quickly. You’ll be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
IV Sedation/General Anesthesia
IV sedation is a deeper form of sedation where the sedative medication is administered directly to the bloodstream through an IV line. Most patients who receive this sedation fall asleep and have no or little memory of the dental procedure.
The dentist monitors your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels throughout the procedure. The sedation can also be adjusted if necessary. This option is best for patients undergoing lengthy procedures or those with severe dental anxiety. You will require a driver to and from your appointment.
Which Sedation Method Is Right for You?
All sedations are effective and safe when offered by an experienced and certified dentist. Before the procedure, notify your dentist if you have ever had allergies or side effects to a specific type of sedation.
In general, the type of sedation your dentist recommends will depend on factors like:
Your overall health
Existing health conditions and medications
Type of procedure you’re having
Your personal preferences
Schedule an Appointment Today!
Do you need more information about sedation dentistry? Visit our Covina Family Dental office to speak with Jeffrey L. Cohen, DDS.