Anxiety about going to the dentist can be severe enough in some cases to keep patients from seeking even the basic routine care they need to maintain healthy smiles. Ironically, delaying routine care can actually lead to the development of oral diseases that require more intensive and invasive interventions, which can reinforce existing dental fears. Fortunately, sedation dentistry can help people overcome these fears and see their providers with a sense of calm.
What To Expect From Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry uses anti-anxiety medications to help the patient achieve a state of deep relaxation that is almost sleep-like. This allows patients to tolerate a variety of dental treatments, and it can even help patients endure longer sessions for complex treatment plans.
Most patients remain awake while under sedation, so they can continue to respond to commands from the provider and the airway remains functional. For these reasons, sedation dentistry is generally considered to be safer than general anesthesia for the same purpose. Additionally, the medications have an amnestic effect, so patients will not have any recollection of the treatment afterward. This is important, as well, as negative treatment experiences can exacerbate dental fears.
Sedation Dentistry Methods
The patient can receive the sedative medications in a number of ways, and different sedation methods will be appropriate in different scenarios. For example, a patient may receive quick-acting (and equally quick-reversing) nitrous oxide for a rather simple treatment, while intravenous sedation may be a better choice for more involved interventions.
In some cases, medication may not even be necessary. Guided relaxation or distraction techniques can help to calm the patient sufficiently to undergo treatment.
You should work with your dentist to determine which sedation method is most appropriate in your case and will be effective for the treatment you need. Your provider will also give you instructions to prepare for the appointment and the sedation you will receive, if necessary.
Sedation dentistry can help you obtain the treatment needed to preserve or repair your smile, even if you have significant dental fear. Speak to one of our friendly staff members at the office of Dr. Philip Kozlow to learn more about the benefits of this service.