If you’ve been putting off a trip to the dentist because of anxiety, just let us know. Many people have a fear of the dentist, often because of a bad experience they had years ago. Technology has come a long way since then. Our friendly team excels at helping you feel comfortable and safe during your visit. We have several tips that can reduce your anxiety, plus many of our offices offer sedation dentistry to help you relax even more.
Sedation dentistry is so effective, it’s often called stress-free dentistry or sleep dentistry, even though you’re not actually asleep.
Ways to Relieve Anxiety
Nitrous Oxide: Commonly referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide has been used in medicine for about a century. When nitrous oxide is used in combination with a local anesthetic, you won’t feel pain or anxiety. Instead, you’ll feel relaxed and a general sense of well-being.
Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a small mask that fits comfortably over your nose. The gas is mixed with oxygen as it is being delivered, and both gases are always kept at a level that is safe for your body. In just a few minutes, you may notice a floating sensation and perhaps some tingling in your hands and feet. That’s a sign that the sedation is working. Once it has been confirmed that you’re calm and comfortable, your dental procedure can begin.
Nitrous oxide doesn’t put you to sleep. It’s a form of conscious sedation, which means you stay awake and aware of your surroundings and can talk to your dentist during the procedure. All of your bodily functions remain normal during the administration of nitrous oxide, and its effects wear off quickly. Within a few minutes of stopping the nitrous oxide, you’re able to sit up and you’ll soon be able to resume all normal activities, such as driving.
Nitrous oxide can help most people with dental anxiety. Before beginning treatment, we’ll assess your medical history, including your use of prescription and non-prescription medications. If you are pregnant, have certain pulmonary diseases, or are taking certain types of drugs, nitrous oxide may not be right for you. We can talk to you about all of your options.
Oral Sedation: Oral sedation is a great option for patients who want more than nitrous oxide, but are afraid of needles. Your dentist will prescribe a pill that you’ll either swallow or dissolve under your tongue. The medication will help you feel relaxed and peaceful. Often, the medication has an amnesiac effect as well, leaving you with little or no memory of your dental appointment.
If you take an oral sedative, you’ll need to have somebody drive you to your appointment and take you home afterwards. The effects can last for a few hours, so you should plan on resting comfortably for the rest of the day.
Intravenous Sedation: If you have an extreme fear of the dentists or need extensive work done, then your dentist may recommend intravenous conscious sedation. The sedative is delivered directly into your bloodstream through an IV line in your hand or arm, making it more potent than oral sedation. It can only be administered by dentists with special training, such as oral and maxillofacial surgeons. It is very safe and effective for most healthy adults, and while it doesn’t actually put you to sleep, you’ll be so relaxed and comfortable that you won’t even notice the passing of time. The effects can last for a few hours, so you should plan on having somebody drive you home and spend the remainder of the day resting.
Sedation dentistry can reduce your anxiety, block the scents and sounds of the dental office, and even provide amnesia so you won’t remember the procedure. Even if you’ve been putting off dental work for years and now need extensive treatment, our sedation dentistry techniques can eliminate your anxiety. Best of all, sedation dentistry can even reduce the number of visits you’ll need because we’ll be able to accomplish more while you’re relaxed and comfortable. Don’t let a dental phobia stop you from getting the dental care you need. Call us today to see how we can help you.
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