It’s not uncommon to feel a little jittery before a big dental procedure, but you shouldn’t let dental anxiety keep you from getting the care you need. As many as 20% of adults avoid the dentist because of fear and anxiety. Unfortunately, avoiding a problem (such as a cavity) can create bigger problems in the long run.
Here at SPA Dental Group, we don’t want you to avoid dental care, but we don’t want you to feel nervous either. Dr. Shebani Pahwa, Dr. Maham Siddiqui, and Dr. Samantha Ben-Ezra offer the most advanced forms of sedation to keep you feel relaxed and comfortable throughout your appointment.
In this guide, we explain what sedation dentistry is and how it calms dental anxiety.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is sometimes called “sleep dentistry," but that phrase is slightly misleading. Sedation refers to the use of medication to help you relax during dental procedures. While you might feel relaxed enough to drift off to sleep, not all types of sedation put you to sleep.
Three popular types of sedation dentistry include:
1. Laughing gas
Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is delivered via a mask. You simply breathe in this colorless, odorless gas, and you instantly relax. So how does this gas calm your dental anxiety? When you breathe in this gas, it slows down your body's reaction time. This results in a relaxed, euphoric feeling.
As quick as laughing gas works, it also wears off quickly. When we remove the mask and you stop inhaling the gas, the effects wear off quickly. This means that you can drive yourself home after your appointment.
2. Oral sedation
Oral sedation is another popular sedation option. This medication is delivered via an oral pill that you take 30-60 minutes before your appointment. The medication can make you feel drowsy and lose track of time. This helps reduce anxiety because your three-hour appointment feels like just a few minutes. It’s very possible that you’re so relaxed that you fall asleep, but you aren’t intentionally made to fall asleep.
Unlike laughing gas, oral sedation doesn’t wear off quickly. This means you’ll need to plan ahead for a friend or family member to drive you back home.
3. General sedation
You may opt for general sedation for more complex oral surgeries. During general sedation, you are unconscious, and you sleep through the entire procedure.
Which option is right for you?
There are many factors to consider when deciding between various types of oral sedation, including:
- The severity of dental anxiety
- The type and complexity of oral procedures needed (implant surgery versus filling a cavity)
- Overall health
- Availability of a friend/family member to drive you home
Sedation dentistry can help you relax during a variety of dental procedures, including fillings, root canals, periodontal treatment, extractions, implant surgery, wisdom tooth surgery, and emergency appointments (such as treating cracked or broken teeth).
Regardless of which type of sedation dentistry you need, you’ll still receive an anesthetic to keep you comfortable. Sedation relaxes you, and anesthetics block pain.
Don’t let dental anxiety prevent you from seeking dental care. Our compassionate and skilled team can help you explore all of your sedation dentistry options. To learn more, call the location of your choice or book your appointment online.