What is it about the going to the dentist that makes so many people nervous? Far from an exaggeration, thousands of individuals forego their oral health every year because they are afraid of what will happen when they arrive for their dental check-up.
Perhaps it is the fear of being poked and prodded with metal instruments, or the often mistaken assumption and association of routine cleanings with discomfort and pain.
For those with Fear, Sedation Dentistry is an Option
The truth is, most procedures are painless and are completed very quickly. Given the importance of sticking to a scheduled, oral maintenance plan, dentists have created new methods to ease their patients’ discomfort.
One of the most widely used techniques in modern dentist offices is what is referred to as sedation dentistry. Designed to minimize the feelings of anxiety that a lot of people experience during routine dental care; this rapidly growing procedure has understandably garnered a huge success rate.
The purpose of sedation dentistry is to create anxiety-free dental appointments. Not only does this make the process easier for patients, it allows dentists to perform their job more efficiently.
Dental phobia is a real thing, and can cause challenges for doctors who must work quickly and effectively. Nearly one third of the population suffers from the type of fear that prevents them from getting the oral hygiene care they desperately need.
How does the Sedation Process Work?
Dentists use multiple kinds of sedatives and anesthetics, the most popular of which are nitrous oxide gas, and anti-anxiety medication.
Nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas) is the mildest method of anxiety control involving inhalation of the anti anxiety agent through a nosepiece. Nitrous oxide gas is immediately expelled from the lungs when the nosepiece is removed and the patient is actually well enough to drive themselves home! For patients with higher levels of anxiety or longer appointments an oral medication can be used. Patients are administered the required pills before the treatment, which ensures they are fully relaxed before it ever begins.
There are numerous benefits to using sedation dentistry, and perhaps the most beneficial of these is the fact that the patient has little recollection of the procedure. With local anesthetic they do not feel any pain or discomfort, and with sedation they experience very little anxiety. Most people report feeling as if their operation lasted a few minutes at most, even though in reality it may have taken a few hours or more.