Not Just Anxiety: Who Benefits from Sedation Dentistry
Although anxiety is the most common reason people want sedation dentistry, there are many other reasons you might benefit from sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry can help if you have:
- Difficulty getting numb
- Excess discomfort during or after dental procedures
- Sensitive gag reflex
- Difficulty sitting still
- Sore jaw, back, or buttocks during or after dental procedures
- Need to schedule a lengthy dental procedure
Many of these are actually symptoms of low-level dental anxiety. It’s not enough to keep you out of the chair, but it makes you tense up during treatment, making you more resistant to local anesthesia and sensitive to discomfort. Tensing muscles or moving excessively during treatment can be part of anxiety, or it can be just your natural condition.
Sedation dentistry also helps you schedule complex dental procedures because it will help you sit still for an extended period.
Types of Sedation Dentistry
There are three different types of sedation used in dentistry. The type we choose for you will depend on the procedure you’re undergoing as well as your level of anxiety and discomfort at dental offices.
Minimal Sedation: Minimal sedation is when you’re awake and responsive but relaxed. Many people know this as “laughing gas” or nitrous oxide. This is the only type of sedation where you’ll be able to drive yourself to and from your appointment.
Moderate Sedation: Moderate sedation or “conscious sedation” is when you’re awake, but you may slur your words and likely won’t remember the procedure. Many people fall asleep during moderate sedation because they’re so relaxed.
Deep Sedation: During deep sedation, you’re unconscious but barely. We can easily awaken you.
Oral Sedation: A Simple Solution
Oral sedation is one of the most straightforward solutions to dental anxiety and related problems. Just take a pill before coming into our office, and by the time you get here, you will be in a relaxed state. You will be awake and able to respond to instructions, but you won’t have anxiety or remember much about your procedure. Oral sedation is very, very safe, and only a small number of people are not candidates. Due to oral sedation being a medication, we can play with the dosage to get the correct amount of sedation from minimal to moderate.
The main limitation of oral sedation is that it can be hard to predict how long oral sedation lasts and even harder to extend dosage once we’ve started. We might want to do a couple of visits before scheduling a lengthy procedure to ensure we’ve got your dosage right. You will also need someone to take you to and from your dental appointment.
The oral sedative we use is a type of Benzodiazepine. It decreases activity in your amygdala, which is the part of your brain that controls fear and anxiety. You’ll be in a state of calm and relaxation during your appointment, allowing you to get the dental care you need.
Nitrous Sedation Dentistry
We also offer nitrous oxide inhaled sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide works very well and is very safe for most people. Nitrous allows us to ensure you are sedated for your entire procedure, even if it’s longer than expected. You can drive yourself to and from our office, too. This is a form of minimal sedation. Nitrous oxide is an excellent option for those uncomfortable in the dental chair or who need extra relaxation to become numb. If you experience more intense anxiety or your anxiety starts before you come to the office, you may want to choose oral sedation so we can be sure to give you a comfortable experience.
Nitrous oxide is safely used in many different medical settings. We’ll place a mask over your nose and mouth and ask you to inhale deeply. Gas will flow through the mask and prevent some oxygen from getting to your brain and blood. This slight decrease in oxygen relaxes your senses and might give you giggles!
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Sedation dentistry is very safe. It’s been used since the 1800s but is far more common today. We’ll still discuss your medical and health history and do a thorough examination before prescribing any type of sedation. While you’re sedated, we’ll keep a close eye on you to ensure nothing goes amiss.
Everyone responds differently to sedation. What works for your friend might not be the right option for you. The best sedation dentistry option will be the one that is best for your body and can adequately control your anxiety or fear.
Sedation Dentistry at élan by Dr. Meghan Hodges
At our dental spa, we take extra care to ensure our patients are comfortable during their procedures. Whether that be a simple cleaning or dental implant surgery, we’ll always make sure that your sedation is working correctly and your mouth is good and numb before we get started. Here, you never have to worry about having a painful dental experience.
We also strive to make the office a relaxing environment. We know how important it is for you to receive dental care, so we tear down all the barriers that might stand in your way. Our office is more like a spa than your typical dental office. When you walk in, you’ll be greeted by our receptionist and a zen atmosphere complete with relaxing music, water, and the option of NuCalm relaxation dentistry.
If you would like to learn more about your sedation dentistry options in Tulsa, OK, please contact élan by Dr. Meghan Hodges today for an appointment.