Unfortunately, dental phobia is a real concern for many who have had previous negative dental experiences. Some are extremely fearful of gagging as an uncontrolled reflex and still others have a fear of needles or drills. Such feelings can be so overwhelming as to prevent necessary dental care. Several methods of dental sedation are available today to help reduce such extreme anxieties.
Nitrous Oxide is often used in conjunction with a local anesthetic like lidocaine because it is so effective in helping patients to relax, while they remain calmly conscious and aware. It is a safe mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen gases that quickly dissipates without leaving a hangover-type residual. The depth of this type of sedation can be easily decreased or increased as needed. It works rapidly and has the additional benefit of reducing that worrisome gag reflex.
Of course, there is the standard local anesthetic for those more simple procedures. You may also choose an intravenous anesthesia with the local anesthetic that can be given right in the dental office. IV sedation is sometimes called, “twilight sedation” because the patient is so comfortable and calm as to drift in and out of sleep. This helps the anxious patient to not only tolerate but to not remember the procedures. Finally, for those undergoing extensive procedures such as jaw reconstruction or TMJ surgery, where a general anesthesia needs to be administered by a anesthesiologist, admission to a hospital or surgery center can also be arranged.
The method of sedation you choose, in consultation with your local dental professional, depends largely on the nature of your oral surgical procedure and your level of apprehension. With the help of your dentist and sedation, you can now experience dentistry without the fear and apprehension of the past.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David Kurtzman
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