If you have a fear of dental treatment, you’re not alone. According to Cleveland Clinic, 36% of people in the United States are afraid of dental care, with up to 12% claiming to have an extreme fear. Dentophobia is the technical term for people who dread going to the dentist, and it’s a common problem.
Dental anxiety is likely even higher when patients need periodontal care for gum disease treatment. Most of the anxiety comes from the fear of pain. The teeth, gums, and mouth are very sensitive, and common treatments for periodontitis often result in patient discomfort. Because of this fear, many patients delay seeking treatment, which ultimately makes their problems worse.
However, when seeking care at Ormond Beach Periodontics, you don’t need to be afraid. We offer a wide range of sedation dentistry solutions that can reduce or eliminate discomfort during treatment, and ultimately help to ease your anxiety. We’ll tell you all about the benefits of sedation dentistry and the different ways it’s administered.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to help patients achieve a calm, relaxed state while remaining conscious and aware. In other words, it keeps you comfortable. It’s also referred to as “sleep dentistry” or “twilight sleep”, and it’s the perfect solution for patients who experience dental anxiety, but also want to remain conscious and avoid general anesthesia.
During sedation dentistry, sedation medication is administered, which will result in a drowsy feeling; however, you will remain awake the entire time. Patients do fall asleep from time to time, but they’re able to be easily awakened. You’ll also still be able to communicate and follow your doctor’s instructions. After you leave the office, it’s unlikely you will remember much about the procedure as you’ll spend most of your visit in a conscious, but groggy, conscious dream-like state. However, your provider will ensure your vital signs are monitored throughout the duration of the procedure.
Sedation dentistry doesn’t just eliminate anxiety, it also helps to eliminate pain and discomfort during the procedure. However, the medication does not act as a painkiller. In many cases, a local anesthetic may also be applied as well to help with pain management, but your provider will likely wait until after sedation medication has kicked in before administering it.
How Is Sedation Dentistry Administered?
Receiving sedation dentistry is easy and painless, and it can be administered in a few different ways. The method and the amount of oral sedation you receive will be unique to your treatment plan. Your provider will work with you to come up with the best solution:
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) – A common way to administer sedation dentistry, patients can inhale laughing gas through a mask in just a few minutes. You can expect to feel relaxed almost instantly, and it also wears off quickly; however, alternative transportation to your appointment is often still required.
- Oral Sedation – Oral sedation is becoming an increasingly popular way to administer sedation dentistry. With this method, patients take a pill at home prior to coming in for the procedure. By the time you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair, you should feel a bit groggy, but comfortable and relaxed. You will not be able to drive yourself to or from your appointment.
- Intravenous Sedation – Sedation dentistry can be administered through an IV, but this is usually only done under special circumstances or during specific procedures. The benefit of IV sedation is it allows the provider to make adjustments in medication levels to accommodate varying degrees of pain and discomfort.
Is Sedation Dentistry Right For Me?
If anxiety is stopping you from seeking the dental care you need, then we absolutely recommend discussing sedation dentistry options with your provider. With sedation dentistry, you don’t need to experience pain during dental or periodontal treatment. Sedation dentistry is particularly useful when it comes to gum flap surgery or other treatments for gum disease, which tend to be uncomfortable.
However, dental anxiety isn’t the only reason why sedation dentistry might be the right solution for you. We often consider this option for patients with a sensitive gag reflex, a fear of needles, teeth sensitivity, or special needs. In many cases, it can also be used for children. It’s a solution that can help minimize the discomfort associated with dental for anyone.
If you’re looking for a highly skilled periodontist that offers sedation dentistry, look no further than Ormond Beach Perio. Because patient comfort is our top priority, we offer Nitrous Oxide and oral sedation to help ensure a positive experience.