Dental anxiety is real – and prevalent. Millions of Americans suffer from some form of dental fear or phobia. In many cases, their anxieties prevent them from undergoing the care they need. Fortunately, sedation dentistry can induce relaxation and help patients remain calm and relaxed during treatment.
Our team offers sedation dentistry options at Napa Family Dental. Patients requiring light sedation can benefit from laughing gas. This sedative is administered through a small nosepiece and takes effect in about three to five minutes. Patients can even drive themselves home after launching gas because the effects are short-acting.
Those with moderate or severe anxieties can choose oral sedation, which is administered in pill form. Typically, the sedative is given to the patient about one hour before their procedure starts. In some cases, your dentist may prescribe a pill for the night before as well. Patients undergoing this type of sedation must have a responsible driver with them, as it will take several hours for the effects to wear off.
The most obvious advantage is that sedation dentistry reduces or eliminates anxiety about being in the dental chair. Some patients may experience slight nervousness before a procedure, while others may be completely overwhelmed. Sedation can address anxiety at any point on the spectrum.
Some individuals naturally have a sensitive gag reflex. This can make normal routines, like brushing your tongue, nearly impossible – much less having to undergo lengthy dental procedures. In fact, these sudden movements can actually result in damage during treatment. Patients with a strong gag reflex can benefit from sedation, as the medication temporarily paralyzes the associated muscles and keeps the patient much more comfortable.
Many individuals who are fearful of the dentist have negative memories of a traumatic experience. In these instances, anterograde amnesia can be quite handy. This type of amnesia is the inability to create new memories. With sedation, patients rarely remember the dental visit at all, while other long-term memories remain completely intact.
Local anesthesia is administered before most procedures. However, this step is actually what makes many patients nervous, especially if they have a fear of needles. With sedation, most patients don’t recall this step because they’re already comfortable when it occurs.
Furthermore, when the brain is under the influence of powerful sedatives, it cannot register pain or discomfort. This is just another reason why sedation dentistry is so popular; it makes dental treatment virtually painless.
Sedation dentistry benefits the dentist as much as the patient. When an individual is not sedated, they are far more likely to move or squirm around in the chair during treatment. This makes it more difficult for your dentist to work efficiently.
When you are under sedation, your dentist can work much faster. As a result, you spend less time in the dental chair, and will be on your way to recovery much quicker.
Does the thought of going to the dentist send you into a spiral of anxiety? It doesn’t have to be that way. Sedation dentistry can help you receive the treatment you deserve and preserve your oral health. To learn more about your options, contact us online or give us a call at (505) 323-7700.