If you experience anxiety at the thought of a trip to the dentist, you are among many who do. Nearly 75% of Americans deal with some degree of severe nervousness when considering a dental visit. Over the years, Dr. Oser has observed a number of patients decline in their overall dental health as a result of cancelling dental appointments because of their fear. For some patients, a painful memory of a previous dental experience can cause them to forget the importance of maintaining their dental health.
What is the Solution for Anxiety at the Dentist?
Oral sedation has become a welcome solution for many patients who are excessively nervous about the dentist’s office. This treatment can help people with high anxiety, people who have experienced traumatic dental appointments, people who have a sensitive gag reflex, people who have difficulty being numbed for treatment, or people who have limited time for the completion of their dental work.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
In sedation dentistry, medications are used to ease the anxiety that some patients feel. Dr. Oser and his staff can discuss your concerns. They will also review your medical history and make note of any current medications you are taking. This will help them determine the proper sedation method for your visit. These medications are proven to be safe. They are widely used and very effective. Dr. Oser offers the options of nitrous oxide, conscious sedation, and IV sedation.
How do the Various Options Work?
Your level of sedation will be determined after a consultation with your dentist. A variety of factors will help determine what is best for your situation.
- Nitrous Oxide (commonly called “laughing gas”) – During your treatment, you will breath this soothing gas through a nasal mask. This level of sedation reduces anxiety and removes potential discomfort. Because the effect of nitrous oxide diminishes rapidly as soon as the mask is removed, you will be able to return to your normal activities immediately.
- Conscious Sedation – Prior to your treatment, Dr. Oser will give you a sedative. You will begin to feel the effects of the drowsiness almost immediately, so you will want to have someone with you for transportation purposes. Once the sedation has gone into full effect, you will enter a state of complete relaxation both physically and mentally. At this point, Dr. Oser will perform the necessary dental treatments. Because of the sedation, he may be able to complete many treatments in a single appointment. You will be able to communicate with your dental team throughout the appointment, and our team will monitor your vital signs at all times in order to ensure your complete safety. This sedation wears off more gradually and will leave you with no memory of your treatment. You should still be able to return to your normal routine by the evening after your appointment.
Other Sedation Treatments
In some cases, anesthetics will be used simply to block pain temporarily. These anesthetics can be administered in various ways.
- Topical Anesthetics: Generally, topical anesthetics are applied with a cotton swab to the immediate area of treatment. It will provide numbing to prep a tooth for restoration treatments.
- Injectable Anesthetics: These are pain blockers that are injected by needles. Two commonly used injectable anesthetics are Citanest and Articaine. You will likely feel the slight poke of a needle as it pierces the gum. However, the medication works rapidly and should be a great help in procedures such as fillings and root canals.