Many patients find the prospect of coming to the dentist for dental work at bit terrifying. The thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair while being drilled in their mouth is not their idea of fun.
The problem for many patients, however, is that their fear of the dentist prevents them from going at all. Many are often willing to endure the agony of a toothache just to avoid the trip.
This, of course, can create many problems. Avoiding treatment that would keep their oral health in check can create even more issues and prevents them to lead a healthy life.
The good news, however, is that there is a solution! We offer sedation dentistry here at Scarsdale Dentistry. Sedation dentistry is a procedure designed to help ease patients' anxieties, fears, and worries while they receive treatment they need.
Sedation dentistry is a type of dentistry where we use medication to help you feel more relaxed while you're with us. It's not the same as being under a general anesthetic - most patients remain conscious. It is, however, a great way to help worried patients feel more comfortable in the dentist’s chair and more willing to undergo treatment. When sedated, you feel better about the situation and, often no longer experience the same level of fear that you would have without the drug.
There are several levels of sedation that we might choose, depending on the kind of procedure and your temperament. These include:
As discussed, sedation is not a form of general anesthetic. It works using different mechanisms and does not make you completely unconscious.
Dentists have a variety of techniques that we use to administer sedatives.
IV or intravenous sedation is where the dentist injects a sedative drug directly into your bloodstream. The benefit of IV sedation is that it gets to work more quickly, allowing the dentist to get on with the procedure as soon as possible.
Inhaled minimal sedation is a type of sedation where you wear a mask and then breathe a mixture of air and laughing gas. The gas helps you to feel more relaxed, and its effect wears off as soon as the dentist removes the mask from your face. After receiving laughing gas sedation, you’re able to drive home. This form of sedation is the only variety where you can drive after the procedure.
Oral sedation is where you take sedatives via an oral dose that you swallow. Dentists will usually use Halcion, a member of the valium family of medication, to help you feel more relaxed.
Oral sedation takes longer to work than IV sedation because the drug has to pass through the lining of the stomach and get up into the brain. Usually, you’ll receive oral sedation an hour or so before sitting in the dentist’s chair.
The effect that oral sedation has on you depends on your biology. Some people can fall asleep in the chair after sedation, while others remain conscious but feel groggy. How you react will depend considerably on your nature and is difficult to predict ahead of time if you’ve never used oral sedation before.
There’s a fine line between deep sedation and general anesthetic, although both use different chemicals to achieve the goal. In deep sedation, you will swing in and out of consciousness, but your awareness of what’s happening around you will be considerably less. Most people experience sleep while under deep sedation, but not all.
Sedation is not a substitute for local anesthetic. Your dentist will still inject the site with anesthetic to numb the area before carrying out any procedures. The purpose of sedation is to make the procedure more enjoyable for anxious patients and encourage them to seek treatment.
Sedation dentistry, as discussed, is for people who don’t want to visit the dentist because of anxiety issues.
Sedation dentistry, therefore, is suitable for a wide range of people, including those with a low pain threshold, sensitive teeth, overactive gag reflex and for those who need lots of work doing. Being conscious for a couple of hours while a dentist reconstructs your lower jaw, for instance, isn’t ideal. Most patients would prefer to be semi-conscious and relaxed for the experience.
Children can also benefit considerably from sedation dentistry. Those with phobias of the dentist may refuse treatment altogether without sedation. Dentists will usually sedate children using nitrous oxide: it’s safe, quick, and easy to administer.
Sedation dentistry can help you enormously if you suffer from anxiety about going to the dentist. Sedation has the remarkable effect of helping you to feel more relaxed when undergoing necessary medical treatment. Sedation dentistry is, therefore, a vital tool for helping you improve your oral hygiene.
If you’re like to find out more about sedation dentistry in Westchester, get in touch with us today and schedule an appointment.