Many people experience dental anxiety before and during dental procedures. It’s okay to feel nervous or even fearful when anticipating an appointment. We understand that our patients aren’t all the same. We have many methods available to provide you with a relaxed, comfortable dental experience.
The most common forms of sedation used in dentistry are inhaled, oral, and intravenous sedation. While sedation dentistry makes the procedure more tolerable for you, it is important to understand that they are not painkillers, and you will still require the use of dental anesthetic.
Anxiety prevents up to 50% of the population from getting even basic dental care. Simple oral medications taken shortly before an appointment can help make your experience more pleasant.
This method creates a deeper level of sedation than with laughing gas. The doctor will prescribe a medication for you to take before your appointment to reduce anxiety. A wide variety of medications are available for this type of sedation, and the doctor will carefully discuss your individual needs to determine which choice works best for you. All these medications are classified as anti-anxiety medications and achieve the same result: reducing and even eliminating the anxiety of dental treatment.
In addition to making your experience more comfortable, oral sedative medications help reduce your memory of the experience. It allows us to complete your treatment in less time and with fewer appointments. While your treatment is performed, Drs. Cristina Bender, Iriff Ulep, and Kari Chellis carefully monitors your vital signs to ensure that your experience is as safe as possible. Another advantage of this type of sedation is that it can safely be used along with laughing gas for an even deeper feeling of relaxation. Because the effects of oral sedation last longer than with laughing gas alone, you will need someone to bring you to your appointment and drive you home after.
Sometimes anxiety prevents a patient from completing treatment which leads to further problems. If nearly falling asleep during treatment and waking up at the end would make finishing your treatment plan possible, then IV sedation might work for you.
Some procedures in dentistry may require a deep level of sedation for anxious patients. When other methods of sedation aren’t quite enough, IV sedation is a good alternative. During IV sedation, an anti-anxiety drug is administered through the bloodstream while treatment is completed. This allows the medication to be more efficient and to achieve a deeper level of relaxation. You will probably not remember much (or anything at all) about the procedure because of the short-term amnesia it creates.
As with oral sedation, complex procedures seem faster, and more treatment is usually completed in one appointment. You’re always properly monitored for your safety, and you do need someone to drive you home since there will be some lingering effects. Due to the advanced monitoring required during IV sedation, we work closely with specialists trained and equipped to make this a safe experience. We are happy to discuss your sedation needs and customize a plan for you.