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Can Sedation Dentistry Help With Dental Anxiety?

A visit to the dentist shouldn’t be filled with dread and terror. However, for many Americans, it is. Unfortunately, anxiety about going to the dentist leads many to avoid seeking necessary dental treatment and cleanings altogether. 

What if there’s a solution for this? Something that alleviates your anxiety about going to the dentist but doesn’t interfere with getting your teeth cleaned, examined, or treated? Well, that’s where sedation comes in. 

At Living Oaks Dental, we offer sedation services for any dental treatment, no matter how innocuous, including standard teeth cleanings. Sedation is available in many different forms but they all have the same effect: to calm your nerves and reduce your ability to remember your dentist trip.

Would You Benefit From Dental Sedation?

Generally, dental sedation is chosen because the patient experiences heightened anxiety when visiting the dentist or anticipating dental procedures. However, there are other reasons you could benefit from sedation, such as:

  • Low pain tolerance 
  • Cannot keep the mouth open wide for long periods
  • Strong gag reflex
  • Dental treatment necessitates a long & complicated procedure
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Patients who experience restlessness
  • Needle phobia
  • Have experienced dental trauma

Types of Sedation

While the most common method of sedation performed at Living Oaks Dental is oral conscious sedation, there are other types as well.

  • Oral Conscious Sedation: The dentist prescribes you an anti-anxiety pill that is taken before the start of your dentist appointment and kicks in once your appointment has started. Once you sit in the dentist’s chair, you will feel relaxed. The patient will likely not remember anything
  • IV Conscious Sedation: This sedation is administered through an IV and is a little more powerful than oral conscious sedation. This would be preferable for patients with more severe dental anxiety because it causes the patient to feel very calm in a dream-like state without falling asleep.
  • Local Anesthesia: During local anesthesia, the patient is conscious but the area of your mouth being treated is numbed to prevent pain. The effects of local anesthesia last for 30-60 minutes and are available in many forms such as topical cream or an injection.
  • General Anesthesia: This is administered in a hospital setting or surgery center and is considered a heavy form of sedation. This is often used in oral surgery such as for severely impacted wisdom teeth or if you suffer from a dental phobia. An anesthetist injects the patient with anesthesia, causing them to lose consciousness until the procedure is over.

Benefits of Sedation

Now that we know what sedation is and why you might be inclined to get it, what are the benefits?

  • Relaxation – You’ll feel incredibly relaxed and your worries about your procedure will wash away.
  • Reduced anxiety – Sedation will reduce your overall dental anxiety, including before, during, and after your appointment. Knowing that you always have sedation available to you prevents you from ruminating on what could go wrong.
  • Limited mobility – Some patients have conditions that cause them to be restless when sitting still for long periods, such as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). This is also useful for children who have difficulties sitting still.
  • Easier treatment – Sedation performed on patients with dental phobias makes things easier for both the patient and the dentist. It reduces the number of times that appointments need to be rescheduled and allows the dentist to do their job faster and more efficiently.
  • Gag-reflux reduction – Believe it or not, sedation reduces the gag reflex. If you’re someone who tends to gag when things have to be inserted into your mouth, this is a psychological response. Sedatives intercept this psychological response by putting you at ease.
  • You won’t remember – If you have dental anxiety, you probably don’t want to remember what’s going on during your dentist appointment. Thinking about and playing back memories related to dentistry can be traumatic if you have a dental phobia and only further contribute to dental anxiety.

How Sedation Dentistry Can Help You

Sedation is completely safe for healthy adults when administered by an experienced dentist and registered anesthetist. If you are interested in being sedated, Dr. Gene Brabston will discuss your options with you. Decided sedation is for you? Just be sure to inform Dr. Brabston before your appointment.

If you experience dental anxiety, restlessness, or struggle to sit still for long periods with your mouth open, then sedation could be a great option for you. Say goodbye to dental nerves and don’t worry about the nitty-gritty details of your procedures, because you won’t remember it! If you have any further questions, contact Dr. Brabston.

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