Dental Tips Blog

Aug
1

Sleep and Sedation Dentistry

Let’s face it, most people have a love-hate relationship with their dentist. On the one hand, they love having a better smile that comes from a visit to the dentist. On the other, there is usually a little bit of dread about how the visit will go.

When the dread becomes a paralyzing fear, it is called dental anxiety. This heightened paranoia could be due to a past trip to the dentist that went awry, or it could stem from a strong aversion to needles. Whatever the cause, it can prevent the dentist from performing a much needed procedure.

Luckily, many dentists can give you some options to help relax you:

  • Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is common with patients who have just a little discomfort. You’ll get a relaxed feeling, which wears off quickly. With nitrous oxide, you will likely be able to drive home.
  • Oral sedation, usually a tranquilizer such as Halcion, is given to those with a little more nervousness. Usually administered about an hour before your procedure, the drug will make you drowsy – some patients may even fall asleep – but you will be responsive. With this and other types of stronger sedation, you are best advised to have someone drive you home.
  • IV sedation, given intravenously, is the next deepest level of sedation. IV sedation uses the same types of drugs as oral sedation, but it acts more quickly, easing your anxiety within minutes.
  • General anesthesia, or deep sedation, is for severe cases of anxiety or for lengthy and complicated dental procedures. It makes the patient unconscious and unable to respond to external prompts.

If you are experiencing any level of discomfort about a dental procedure, even if it is just a cleaning, consult your dentist. Most are happy to discuss sedation options with you if it means a successful outcome for your procedure.

Posted on behalf of David Kurtzman

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