THE MODERN METHOD TO FACE FEAR AND ANXIETY ABOUT GOING TO THE DENTIST
Clowns, small spaces, public speaking, heights, and the dentist. These are a few of the biggest fears in America. While we may not be able to help you with most of these, our team at DentalWorks - Beaver Valley is able to help you get over your fear of the dentist. Maybe a negative experience with a dentist or a procedure has kept you from coming back for your cleanings twice a year. Whatever is keeping you from scheduling regular appointments with a dentist in Monaca, PA to prevent or treat problems, sedation dentistry could be a good option. This post discusses the main options in sedation dentistry, how candidates are screened, as well as what to expect.
OPTIONS IN SEDATION AT THE DENTIST'S OFFICE
Most dentists in Monaca, PA offer three main methods of dental sedation — nitrous oxide gas, oral-conscious medication, and intravenous (IV) sedation. One or two methods may be suggested according to what treatment you are getting and your level of anxiety. Local anesthesia might also be used to numb the soft tissue around the treatment area.
- INTRAVENOUS (IV) MEDICATION
Depending on the amount and type of medication chosen, intravenous (IV) sedation can range from moderate to deep. IV sedation administers the selected medication directly into your blood, so this is not a good choice for patients who have a fear of needles. IV sedation is used for more extensive procedures (like wisdom tooth extraction or surgery to place a dental implant). The level can be changed and patients generally come out of the anesthesia a few minutes after the IV is removed. You will need to ask a responsible adult to come get you after your appointment and should plan to spend the day resting after IV sedation.
- ORAL-CONSCIOUS MEDICATION
Also known as enteral sedation, oral-conscious sedation is a sedative that is prescribed and taken before your procedure to help keep you calm and relaxed. Depending on your level of anxiety and the procedure being performed, your dentist can determine the correct type of medication and dose to give you. Oral-conscious medication will keep you awake (conscious), but in a relaxed state. Patients may drift into a light sleep, but they should be easily awakened when their procedure is done. Oral-conscious medication might be prescribed to help with anxiety and dentophobia during routine oral health examinations and cleanings or along with local anesthesia during noninvasive procedures (such as periodontal surgery or a root canal). If you take an oral-conscious medication, you will be asked to have a family member or friend drive you to and from your appointment.
- NITROUS OXIDE GAS
Commonly known as "laughing gas," patients have been getting nitrous oxide sedation at the dentist's for a long time to help them relax. The combined oxygen and nitrogen gases are administered through a nasal hood so it can be inhaled. Nitrous oxide gas is often used to reduce anxiety during regular dental exams and cleanings plus for noninvasive procedures (for example, cavity fillings or scaling and root planing). Unlike other types of sedation, the amount of nitrous oxide gas can be raised or lowered throughout the procedure. The effects wear off quickly when the gas is turned off. Nitrous oxide gas can be combined with local anesthesia (to numb the treatment area) and/or other sedation methods. Most patients are able to safely receive nitrous oxide gas and should be able to drive themselves home.
ARE YOU A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR SEDATION DENTISTRY?
Before a dentist administers sedation, they will need to perform a consultation to choose which type of sedation is safe and fits your needs. You will need to tell your dentist about your medical history, any current conditions, known allergies, and what medications you are taking (this includes medications prescribed by a doctor, in addition to any store-bought herbs, vitamins, and supplements). It's imperative to be honest and open with your dentist to avoid side effects and interactions. During this appointment, your dentist will discuss their recommendations for sedation and, if you are a good candidate, instructions to follow before and after your sedation. In general, women who are pregnant should put off sedation and lengthy dental procedures.
PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT
To reduce your risk of nausea and other side effects, it's best to eat a light meal before taking your oral-conscious medication or getting nitrous-oxide gas at your appointment. Patients receiving IV sedation may be told to not eat or drink anything for a few hours before the procedure. Your dentist will explain your specific pre-sedation rules, but if you are getting oral-conscious or IV sedation, you will probably need to have responsible adult take you to the office since you will not be able to drive.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER SEDATION DENTISTRY
You may recover easily after sedation dentistry or you may need longer depending on the type of sedation administered. Your dentist will tell you what to expect, like potential side effects and any food restrictions. Your recovery will also vary depending on what treatment or procedure was performed (a cleaning shouldn't slow your recovery, but implant surgery will take longer). It's important to follow all of your dentist's recommendations and watch for signs of an infection or allergic reaction.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP TO GET OVER DENTOPHOBIA
This article is just a basic overview of sedation dentistry, contact a dentist's office in Monaca, PA to schedule an appointment. At DentalWorks - Beaver Valley, we carefully screen patients to see if they are able to safely receive sedation dentistry during their consultation. We will let you know what will happen throughout the whole process to make sure you are relaxed. Our team strives to make your visits a positive experience so eventually, you can get twice yearly cleanings and oral health check-ups without fear or anxiety. Contact our dental office in Monaca, PA to schedule a consultation and get more information about sedation methods.