Asking about sleep or sedation dentistry may make some people feel embarrassed or like inadequate dental patients. Those reactions couldn’t be further from the truth! The availability of sedation dentistry allows dentists to bridge the gap between providing dental care and meeting the needs of patients that dislike getting dental treatment completed. If you’ve been wavering between the decisions of whether or not you should choose sedation dentistry, here are 3 reasons you should know when it’s time to choose it as an option for you:
#1 – Going to the dentist makes you a nervous wreck. Does your blood pressure go up? Does your heart race or do you feel clammy every time you walk into the treatment room? No matter if you’re having your teeth cleaned or getting a bad tooth pulled, dental anxiety and dental phobia are the #1 reason that choosing sedation dentistry is a choice you need to make to get the dental care you deserve.
#2 – You want to have all of your treatment completed in a single appointment. Most dental treatments are divided up in phases or due to avoiding having several areas of your mouth numb at one time. By “sleeping” through your dental procedure, your dentist can work quickly and efficiently, allowing you to have all of your treatment performed in a single visit in many cases.
#3 – You just want to be as comfortable as possible. Maybe dental treatment doesn’t make you nervous, but it’s also something that you don’t really enjoy. Sedation dentistry helps insure maximum comfort throughout your entire procedure. Just sit back, relax, and let your dental team do the rest!
Every patient that chooses sedation dentistry will need to have a friend or family member escort them to and from their appointment. Depending on the type of medication used, you may wake up immediately after the treatment, or it can take a few hours to wear off.
Posted on behalf of David Kurtzman
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
Dental phobia. Dentophobia. Odontophia. Dental Anxiety. Call it what you will, but it is no secret that the fear of going to the dentist is very prevalent in our society. In fact, by some estimates, as much as 75 percent of the population has some sort of dental phobia ranging from mild to severe.
For those who suffer from this aversion, it can be due to a past traumatic experience – a root canal gone wrong or a slip of the drill – or it could just be an uncomfortableness with someone putting their fingers inside your mouth. But dentists know the anxiety is very real and they work hard to help patients overcome it.
Options for especially fearful dental patients include various types of sedation. Nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, is inhaled through a mask and produces feelings of deep relaxation although the patient is still conscious and able to converse with the dentist.
Other types of sedation include Valium, Xanax and other tranquilizers or what’s known as IV, or conscious, sedation where the tranquilizer is administered intravenously. General anthesia, where the patient is rendered unconscious, is generally reserved for oral surgery. Under general anthesia, patients are unable to breathe on their own, nor are they responsive in any way, physically or verbally.
Other techniques used to help patients relax at the dentist’s office include forms of cognitive therapy and a so-called “gentle dental” approach where the dentist explains procedures before, during and after they are carried out.
Finally, many dentists are resorting to turning their practices into spa like facilities. Burning candles, warmed towels, music, headphones and gardens – anything and everything is used to create a relaxed environment and to take away some of the stress and anxiety related to visiting the dentist’s office.
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