Dental anxiety is a common concern for many people. In fact, it's been estimated that more than half of the population has dental fear to some degree. Fear of the dentist can range from mild discomfort all the way to full-blown panic attacks and avoidance behavior. But there are ways you can reduce your anxiety about going to the dentist! Dental sedation dentistry offers a safe and effective solution for those who need help managing their fears or phobias around dental visits. Here are the most commonly used methods in the dental industry.
Nitrous Oxide Gas (aka "Laughing Gas")
Nitrous oxide is a colorless, non-flammable gas composed of two nitrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. It's been used as an analgesic for more than 150 years because it has mild sedative properties that can help reduce anxiety during dental procedures. When inhaled through a nasal mask or mouthpiece, nitrous oxide can help you stay relaxed during your dental appointment. The gas is delivered in a 50:50 ratio with oxygen and doesn't cause any changes to your heart rate or blood pressure when it's administered correctly.
For patients who need more assistance than just laughing gas provides, intravenous sedation may be an option. At your pre-appointment visit, your sedation dentist will determine if you are a candidate for IV sedation treatment using diazepam or midazolam as the medication of choice. These medications can help reduce anxiety and relax muscles to ensure that you have comfortable dental experiences every time without compromising safety measures.
Oral Conscious Sedation
When nitrous oxide isn't enough, oral conscious sedation may be an option for you. Oral conscious sedatives are taken about one hour before your dental appointment to help reduce anxiety and relax muscles to complete the dental work with ease. They do this by affecting parts of the brain responsible for feelings of anxiety. The sedative medication works quickly, typically within 20 to 30 minutes after you take the pill or liquid form, and the effects will last for about four hours. You can even drive yourself to your dental appointment when using this treatment option!
If you need extensive work done on multiple teeth, general anesthesia may be an option for you. General anesthesia is a drug-induced coma that makes you unconscious and unaware of what's going on during your dental procedures. While general anesthesia can be used for many different types of oral surgery, it's typically only recommended when multiple teeth need to be removed or extensive work needs to be done involving the upper teeth (especially wisdom teeth).
We hope you've enjoyed reading this blog post about sedation dentistry. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out at your convenience. You can call us at (XXX) XXX-XXXX or email us via the contact form on our website!
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