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Dental Anxiety? 4 Things to Know About Sedation

Harvey Dental Group
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BY Harvey Dental Group

Do you have anxiety or fear about going to your dentist? If so, know that you are not alone. 15% of people have the same concerns that you do, which could make a visit to your dentist stress-inducing.

If you're worried, sedation dentistry may make you more at ease with the procedure you plan to have done. Here are a few things you need to know about using sedation dentistry.

Sedation Dentistry Relieves Feelings of Anxiety and Stress

Dental anxiety is not limited to when you go in for a major procedure like a root canal. It can even occur to people when they visit for a routine cleaning. That is why you'll need help learning to relax and feel more at ease during the visit.

Your dentist can use one of several different methods for sedation, giving you a level of awareness that you are comfortable with. One way is by prescribing you an oral sedative that you take at home prior to the visit, which will make you more comfortable from the moment you step foot in the waiting room.

Inhalation sedation, which is known as laughing gas or nitrous oxide, is another option that will help the fears go away. For more involved procedures, such as wisdom teeth removal, IV sedation will make you completely unconscious so that you do not remember a thing.

Sedation Dentistry Still Requires Local Anesthetics

Be aware that many forms of dental sedation does not treat pain - they only treat your anxiety. For inhalation or oral sedation, a dentist will also use a painkiller to numb your mouth so that you do not feel any pain.

Even though many people assume that the sedation works as an anesthetic, this is not true. Make sure that you do your research to see if your dental insurance will cover both sedation and an anesthetic.

Sedation Dentistry May Require a Designated Driver

The type of dental sedation that you use may require some assistance getting to and from the dentist office. Oral sedation that is taken at home can put you in a state of mind where you should avoid driving a car.

IV sedation, which is powerful enough to make you fall asleep, will leave you in a state of mind where you may not even remember waking up and going home. While you may be able to get to the dentist just fine, you'll have no way to safely drive home for quite some time after the procedure has finished.

The effects of nitrous oxide will wear off very quickly after the gas is no longer being given to you. It is one of the few forms of sedation dentistry where you can safely drive after it is used.

Sedation Dentistry Can Have Side Effects

Just about every form of medication has potential side effects, and dental sedation is no exception. If you choose nitrous oxide inhalation, you'll have the fewest potential side effects. You may be more likely to have nausea if you are given too much of the gas during the procedure or if you are going to your dentist with an empty stomach. That is why it is a good idea to eat some food before your visit.

Oral sedation can give you a general feeling of losing you coordination, but it will go away one the medication passes through your system. IV sedation mainly has memory loss, which may be a welcomed side effect of the sedation technique, but you'll also experience impaired motor functions and drowsiness.

Dr. M. Dawn Harvey, DMD, PC, can provide you with more info about different sedation techniques for your dental procedure that will work best for your needs.

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