Even if you are one of those people who absolutely dreads going to the dentist, you know it is still really important to go regularly. You need to keep your teeth and gums healthy, so your dentist can prevent small problems from growing into dental disasters.
Now many dentists offer sedation dentistry. To ensure panicked patients make it to the twice yearly visits, many dentists offer sedation dentistry. You can opt for this method if you have sensitive teeth or gums, you don't easily go numb, if you have a lot of dental work that needs to get done, or if you have major dental anxiety or a phobia about going to the dentist. Whatever your reason, there are different degrees of dental sedation that are available.
Here's the run down of sedation methods you can try:
Nitrous Oxide Sedation: Ahh, laughing gas. I used to get this as a kid and it really helps to calm you down. You inhale it and it puts you in a state of complete relaxation, but you are still totally conscious. Since laughing gas doesn't block the pain, your dentist will still need to give you a shot of local anesthesia, aka Novocaine.
Oral Sedatives: Diazepam is one form of medication you can take the night before, or 30-60 minutes before an appointment, depending on the severity of the anxiety. Although you will feel calmer, with this option you will still feel the pain. So with this method you also still need to get a shot of Novocaine to numb you.
There are 2 more methods. To hear what they are read more
Intravenous (IV) Sedation: You basically get anti-anxiety drugs administered into the bloodstream. This also doesn't block the pain, so you'll still need to get a shot of Novocaine. You'll remain conscious and be able to understand and respond to requests from your dentist, but you may not remember much of what happened while you were in the chair. IV sedation makes you feel utterly relaxed and makes you not care about what's going on, and the drugs may also cause full or partial amnesia (only during the period of time when they're in your bloodstream. Time will feel like it passes quickly, almost like you were asleep.
General Anesthesia: This is where you are unconscious and completely pain free, so you don't even need the Novocaine. You won't be able to respond to anything, since you are basically out of it, and you'll need help breathing. This method is used if you need oral surgery, like all 4 of your wisdom teeth pulled. Someone will need to drive you to the office, stay with you during the procedure, and then will need to drive you home. Some people have negative reactions to the anesthesia and experience bouts of vomiting.
These 4 methods can be used to offer different degrees of sedation, ranging from being awake yet calm, to totally unconscious. You and your doctor can figure out what method may be right for you, depending on your level of comfort and the procedures that need to be done.
I think sedation dentistry is a brilliant idea. I don't know anyone who likes going to the dentist, so this can make necessary procedures a lot easier to handle for people who are afraid to have them done.
Fit's Tips: Looking for a dentist in your area who offers sedation? Click here to find one near you.