Severe dental phobia can cause people to completely avoid dental examinations and treatments. Anxiety about dental treatment can develop for many reasons, including fear of pain, the feeling of not having control, fear of needles, a strong gag reflex, or a history of bad dental experiences. If you suffer from extreme dental fears causing you to neglect necessary oral care, sedation dentistry may be the answer to your problem.
A trained sedation dentist can offer a variety of options to address your situation:
- Minimal sedation in the form of nitrous oxide allows you to be awake but relaxed during dental treatment and may be a good option for cleanings, routine examinations, or minor procedures. Your dentist is able to control the amount of sedation you receive.
- Oral conscious sedation also allows you to remain awake during procedures, but may cause you to feel drowsy and will keep you from having much memory of the treatment. A stronger dose can be given to produce more moderate sedation, in which case you may fall asleep but can easily be awakened.
- IV sedation is when a sedative drug is administered through a vein. This type of sedation works rapidly and also allows your dental professional to adjust the level of sedation during treatment.
- General anesthesia provides deep sedation through medications administered that cause nearly complete or total unconsciousness. With general anesthesia you cannot be awakened until the effects of the drugs have dissipated.
Sedation dentistry can be used for any type of dental procedure, from routine cleanings to more complicated, invasive procedures. Thanks to advances in sedation dentistry, you no longer have to fear the dentist and avoid necessary oral health care.
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Sedation dentistry is rapidly becoming an extremely popular choice for patients, offering them the best oral care available while providing them with a comfortable, stress-free experience. Benefits exist for both the patient and the dentist, especially for certain patient groups, who may only be able to obtain dental care they need while under some kind of sedation.
Sedation dentistry uses various medications to help the patient relax while undergoing a dental procedure. The sedation allows the patient to be free of fear, anxiety and stress, and in some cases, to have a reduced memory of the treatment itself. This allows for a much more favorable experience, especially when undergoing invasive, extensive or multiple-visit treatments such as extractions, gum surgery, root canals, or some cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Because sedation dentistry is specifically designed to reduce or to alleviate fear and anxiety, the patient is more relaxed during the dental visit. Dentists working on tense or anxious patients are often aware of the problem and have to work with greater care. The removal of this patient tension allows the dentist to work more quickly and surely, leading to a shorter appointment and a more positive experience for both doctor and patient.
Dentists require cooperation from the patient in order to proceed with any dental procedure. Patients who are very young, have special needs, an acute gag reflex, or movement control issues can be extremely challenging for dentists to administer the necessary care. Sedation dentistry can solve this problem, allowing for patients to be cooperative and still, providing the safest, best experience for patient and doctor alike.
Patients who have positive experiences at the dentist are more likely to return for regular dental check-ups. These patients have overall better dental hygiene and tend to have fewer serious dental issues over time. Patients who have good oral care will feel better about their smiles and will be more confident and comfortable throughout the day.
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One extremely common fear shared by many people is a fear of the dentist. Patients who possess this fear are often anxious and nervous about the sights, sounds and smells of a dentist’s office. Just imagining a routine visit can leave someone shaken and fearful, unable to sleep the nights prior to treatment.
Patients who share this common fear can put off necessary dental work. A fear of pain or needles can lead a patient to tolerate tooth pain or signs of infection in the mouth. If this sounds like you, talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry options.
Many people assume you must be fearful at a phobic level to benefit from sedation dentistry. This isn’t true! Sleeplessness, anxiety and low-level fear can all be helped with some form of sedation dentistry. Oral sedatives can be prescribed to be taken the night prior to a dentist visit, as well as the day of, to ensure a restful night’s sleep and an easy day before treatment.
Sedation dentistry during procedures is very safe, as you are monitored at all times by the dentist. Because of the deep level of relaxation possible utilizing sedation dentistry, more work can be done in a single visit, cutting down on trips to the dental office.
General dentistry procedures such as checkups, regular cleanings and cosmetic treatments can all be performed on a patient being treated with sedation dentistry. For a patient with fear and anxiety, each therapy can be made better with the addition of sedation dentistry.
Over time, with the use of sedation dentistry, some of your fears and anxieties can begin to lessen. Positive experiences can build up mental and emotional trust in the dentist, and patients can find that they need less and less of the sedation to feel comfortable.
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Giving some form of a sedative medication to patients during dental treatment is what sedation dentistry is all about. It causes relaxation and decreases anxiety so that the patient is comfortable and the dentist can work safely and efficiently. Sedation dentistry is most popular for those who experience mild to moderate dental anxiety, patients who have dental phobias, and children who are frightened by dental visits.
There are a number of advantages that sedation dentistry offers to both patients and dentists. Here are some reasons that it is popular with patients:
- Pain is diminished so that the patient hardly feels the instruments, needles, or anything else as part of the treatment.
- Awareness is reduced so that that patient doesn’t realize exactly what is happening and doesn’t keep track of the time spent in the dental chair.
- Anxiety is lessened so the patient feels calm and carefree while undergoing treatment that normally might cause upset.
- Side effects are minimal and rare, making sedation dentistry both safe and effective.
- The gag reflex is reduced so patients who might normally have problems gagging during treatment are able to undergo procedures without issues.
- Time is saved for the patient because often all treatments can be performed in one office visit, instead of having to make several trips and miss more time from work or other activities.
Dentists enjoy benefits of sedation dentistry as well:
- Patients are more cooperative and able to sit still during treatment, allowing dentists to get the job done with less trouble.
- Multiple procedures can be done in a single office visit, so the dentist can accomplish more in a single time slot.
- Reflexes of the patient are more controlled so that movement is less haphazard and the dentist can work more efficiently.
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If you experience fear about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Studies show that about 50% of adults experience some level of fear about dental visits, with 5% of those suffering from severe anxiety. However, patient’s wishes for a nice smile and good oral health allow them to overcome their fears and visit their dentist in spite of their qualms.
These are some techniques that many patients use that enable them to get through their dental appointments successfully:
- Using internal resources – telling yourself you can do it even though you are nervous
- Prayer – relying on a higher power to help you through the treatment
- Self distraction – singing to yourself or playing mental games to keep your mind off of what’s happening
- Distancing – convincing yourself that any pain feels like something else, such as numbness
- Optimism – focusing on what’s ahead after your appointment is over
In fact, optimism seems to be one of the biggest keys to overcoming your dental fears. Patients who use this method have been shown to visit the dentist more regularly than other patients who suffer from anxiety about dental treatment. Studies also reveal that humor is another important part of dealing with dental visits. Humor can break down psychological barriers, and allow the patient to feel more comfortable in their interactions with the dentist and staff. An atmosphere of humor tends to reduce stress and increase a sense of well-being and satisfaction in a potentially nervous situation.
However, if none of these techniques work for you, sedation dentistry is a option to consider. At PermaSmile! Dentistry@Slater we offer a variety of sedation options.
Whatever methods you implement to help you through your dental visit, the most important thing is sticking with it and returning again for your next visit. Your dental health is dependant upon regular dentist’s care.
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Fear and anxiety make dental treatment a challenge for many people. Sedation dentistry offers many options to help patients overcome their fears and experience a more comfortable, relaxing treatment. One of the most common options in sedation dentistry is oral conscious sedation. Here are some common questions about oral conscious sedation and answers about how it can help alleviate your stress about undergoing dental procedures:
- What is oral conscious sedation? This type of sedation utilizes a combination of pain relievers and sedatives to induce an altered state of consciousness that allows you to undergo all kinds of dental treatment in a totally relaxed and comfortable state.
- Am I asleep during the procedure? Patients who receive oral conscious sedation are drowsy but awake and able to communicate with their dental professional. This type of dental sedation allows you to be relaxed but aware.
- Will I feel pain during the dental treatment? With oral conscious sedation, you will most likely not feel any discomfort or pain.
- Is oral conscious sedation safe? While it is considered safe for most patients, your dentist will evaluate your medical and dental health to determine if you are a good candidate for oral sedation.
- Can I resume normal activity immediately after receiving oral sedation? Because you may still be slightly drowsy and under the effects of the medication, it is advised that you arrange to have a friend or family member drive you home after treatment.
- Will I have bad memories of my dental treatment? With oral conscious sedation, you will feel completely relaxed and have little to no memory of your dental procedures.
Thanks to sedation dentistry options like oral conscious sedation, you no longer have to dread or postpone necessary dental treatment due to fear and anxiety. Contact your dentist to find out how they can help you conquer your fears and restore your oral health with this gentle approach to dentistry.
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