Up to a fifth of US adults suffer from dentophobia – the fear of visiting the dentist. No matter how simple or routine the treatment in question might be, some people are simply filled with fear and anxiety whenever they visit the dentist’s office. Sedation dentistry has made regular checkups and cleanings much easier for such patients, but many don’t fully understand what it is or whether they can benefit from it. In this post, a dentist answers 3 frequently asked questions about sedation dentistry.
1. What Exactly is Sedation Dentistry?
When people hear the term “sedation dentistry”, they often mistakenly think that it’s meant to put them to sleep. In reality, while it can make you drowsy enough to drift off (albeit in a way that makes you easy to reawaken), the goal of the sedation is to simply help you stay relaxed before and during your dental procedures. There are many different medications that dentists can use to achieve this relaxed state, all of which have been carefully studied and found to be safe and non-habit forming while also highly effective in minimizing each patients’ fears and anxieties.
2. What Types of Sedation Dentistry are Available?
There are three major types of sedation used at dental offices: nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation.
- Nitrous Oxide: If you are only somewhat nervous or anxious about your treatment, nitrous oxide can help take the edge off. The gas is delivered through a special nasal mask throughout the appointment; the effects wear off quickly after the treatment is done and the mask has been removed.
- Oral Conscious: You’ll take a special pill one hour before your visit. You’ll still be able to answer our questions, but you’ll be in such a relaxed state that you may not remember anything about the treatment later.
- IV Sedation: This is the deepest form of relaxation possible, and it’s highly recommended for severe dentophobia. The medication is delivered directly to your veins and is adjusted as needed.
3. Can I Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?
While sedation is normally marketed as a solution for dental anxieties and fears, it’s also a good choice for anyone that has a low threshold for pain or has trouble sitting still for long periods of time. Patients with sensitive teeth or bad gag reflexes can also benefit. And of course, virtually anyone who is undergoing an extensive treatment could use a little extra help relaxing.
These are just a few examples of basic questions you might have. Every patient has unique concerns of their own. When you call your dentist for an appointment, be sure to ask for more information about the sedation they offer and how it might be able to help you.
About the Author
Dr. Gary Rosenfield has been providing highly comfortable modern care for over 33 years now. Medford families can look forward to the gentle expert treatments he provides at Island Daily Dental Care. As a member of the Dental Society of New York, he is dedicated to changing his patients’ lives for the better, and in many cases that means using the three different kinds of dental sedation to encourage them to seek the care they need. To schedule an appointment or explore your sedation options, visit his website or call (631) 286-9000.