Main Benefit: Reduce Anxiety
If you’ve ever had a visit to the dentist that produced some anxiety, you might already understand the benefits of sedation dentistry. Many people are afraid of the dentist – the dentist’s chair can result in feelings of claustrophobia, powerlessness, or outright terror. The noise of the instruments or the bright lights in your eyes can put your nerves on edge, and any small thing can make some people feel like they’re on the edge of panic.
If this sounds like you, or someone you know, know that there are different types of sedation dentistry that can provide a great deal of relief and make trips to the dentist much less anxious.
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Knowledge is Power
Feeling better about going to the dentist can be a real challenge. The benefits of knowing about sedation dentistry is that you empower yourself to make choices about this treatment. You need to take care of your teeth, and you deserve to do it without it being difficult.
Sedation Dentists are Experts
We know it’s hard but: Relax. You’re in good hands. When you make an appointment with a sedation dentist, you can rest assured that they have received specialized, advanced training to provide you the most comfort and the best care possible. In addition to medical training and dentistry school, licensed sedation dentists may also under go aesthetician training and additional certifications to manage pain and patient anxiety.
The American Dentistry Association (ADA) supports appropriately trained dentists in providing these advanced services to their patients. If your dentist has the credentials, you know you’ve got someone who knows what they’re doing.
Sedation Dentistry Is More than Local
There are four levels of sedation dentistry to choose from, and the benefits of each differ slightly. Not every type is appropriate for every dental situation, but if you’re interested in sedation dentistry options, you can discuss which approaches are best for which procedures. Your dentist will be glad to go through your options with you.
Minimal (Mild) Sedation Dentistry
For general checkups and routine teeth cleaning, many people choose a mild form of sedation dentistry. The patient may take a sedative pill prior to the procedure that will help them enter a relaxed state. Generally, patients remain conscious and are able to respond to requests to open or close their mouths, but people report low levels of discomfort with mild sedation dentistry.
Nitrous Oxide, or “Laughing Gas”
Minimal sedation can be administered with a pill, or by inhaling a sedative gas like Nitrous Oxide. Also known as “laughing gas”, it will help you relax. The dentist controls the dosage of gas, and when you remove the mask, the effects quickly diminish. Some people prefer this to a pill because they recover from the sedation effects fast.
Moderate Sedation Dentistry
For more advanced procedures, or for people with more severe anxiety about the dentist, there is a stronger option. By combining oral sedatives with IV sedatives, the patient can achieve a relaxed state of consciousness where they are responsive to requests and commands, but generally have no memory of them after the procedure. Patients often report that they feel as if they were asleep.
Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia
Less commonly used, deep sedation and general anesthesia offer patients the most sedation for dental procedures. These techniques involve inserting an IV, and patients will likely awaken after the procedure with no memory. For the most extreme cases, this is a reasonable option, and you should consider your situation with your dentist to determine if it’s right for you.
Sedation Dentistry Can Lower Pain
Many people experience more pain after the dentist because their physical pain is complicated by their emotions. When you are fearful of the experience, tense throughout the experience, and then feel a lingering discomfort afterward, you may be more likely to consider it a “painful” experience.
However, if you prepare for the dentist with proper dental hygiene, and coordinate with your dentist for the right sedation dentistry approach, you can reduce your fear and make the experience less “painful.” Going to the dentist may never be “painless”, but one of the benefits of sedation dentistry is that you can lessen any discomfort that you do feel. And you deserve to. Everyone deserves clean, healthy teeth without a “painful” experience.