It should come as no surprise that most people have some level of dental anxiety. It’s natural to be afraid of the drilling, buzzing, and scraping noises; however, more and more dentists are working to provide their patients with a comfortable and relaxing experience. Whether it’s a simple cleaning or major procedure, you can rely on sedation dentistry to put you at ease. Find out how!
Whether you tremble with fear or break into a cold sweat at the thought of the dentist, sedation dentistry can help to put you in a state of relaxation during a dental procedure. There are two types of sedation your dentist may use depending on the severity.
Known by its other name, “laughing gas,” this is a mild option that is safe for children and adults who experience some anxiety when preparing for a dental appointment. Once you’re in the chair, the dentist will cover your nose with a mask to begin administering the gas that is mixed with oxygen.
Don’t think you’ll be feeling at ease anytime soon? Within minutes, you will begin to feel calm, content, and maybe even euphoric. Your dental team can adjust the amount of nitrous oxide you receive to ensure you receive the perfect result. Don’t worry, though. You’ll remain completely cognizant of what’s going on, so you can answer any questions being asked.
One of the greatest benefits is the effects wear off quickly, so you won’t have to arrange for someone to drop you off or pick you up. You’ll even be able to return to work or school!
If you don’t think nitrous oxide is enough to calm your nerves, oral conscious sedation may be the answer. Prior to your procedure, your sedation dentist will prescribe an oral medication for you to take. Make sure to follow their instructions. While your dental team is working, you won’t be unconscious; however, you can expect to enter a deep state of relaxation. You may even have vague memories of what happened.
Since oral conscious sedation does take some time to wear off, it is highly advised that you ask a family member or friend to escort you to your appointment, as it will be unsafe for you to drive.
Oftentimes, the fear and anxiety a person experiences when thinking about going to the dentist can result in delayed treatment or worse, avoiding it altogether. Depending on the dental issue (general cleaning, chipped tooth, broken crown), letting your anxiety prevent you from getting treatment can lead to serious damage to your oral health.
By allowing your dentist to administer sedation methods during your appointment, you’ll be preventing furthering damage to your teeth and gums that can be caused by bacteria or plaque. Sedation dentistry will even prevent the bone from further deterioration should you have a missing tooth!
Don’t let your fear of the dentist keep you from getting the help you need. Hiding or avoiding the dentist will only worsen your oral health, but sedation dentistry can get you back on the road to a cleaner, healthier mouth.
Dr. Maegan Elam, DDS, earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Hardin-Simmons University before going on to receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery from The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Dr. Elam is dedicated to ensuring her patients have a peaceful dental experience, and she has completed advanced training to offer patients oral conscious and nitrous oxide sedation. To learn more about Dr. Elam, or to learn how sedation dentistry can work for you, contact us at (817) 241-3535.