Do you dread the thought of going to the dentist? If so, you’re not alone. Dentophobia is a real and very common condition. Whether it’s due to past negative experiences, a fear of pain, or just simply dreading the thought of an oral procedure, many people will avoid dental care at all costs. Naturally, these feelings intensify when patients know oral surgery is needed.
At Ormond Beach Periodontics, we specialize in the placement of dental implants and the treatment of severe gum disease — both of which can be fairly invasive procedures. We know patients are often nervous before treatment. Some may delay seeking care altogether, which can make their condition significantly worse. Because patient comfort is so important to us, we offer sedation dentistry options that can help you relax during your office visit. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about sedation dentistry, and how these treatments can help you overcome your dentophobia.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry creates a short-term state of amnesia and insensitivity to pain through a combination of drugs that help you to relax. Sedation dentistry can be administered orally or through an IV. While you’ll remain awake for the duration of the procedure, you probably won’t remember much of it. You can think of it like a “twilight sleep”. Sedation options can help nervous patients, patients with disabilities, and even children. Top benefits include:
- You’ll Feel Calm And Comfortable – Sedation options allow patients to receive the treatments they need without stress or anxiety. Any fear you have of the procedure will quickly diminish once the medication kicks in. While you’ll be in a dream-like state, you can be awakened at any time.
- Pain Will Be Minimal – When sedation dentistry is used in combination with local anesthetics, patients shouldn’t experience any pain or discomfort. You may not even be aware that the procedure is happening.
- It’s Very Safe – For patients who qualify, there is very little risk of problems or complications from sedation. Your dentist or periodontist will monitor your vital signs throughout the entire procedure. They will also have drugs on hand that can reverse the effects of the sedation if necessary. The medications will wear off shortly after your appointment. The side effects, if any, are very mild and may include extended drowsiness, dry mouth, and headaches.
Types of Sedation Dentistry
There are a few different ways sedation dentistry can be administered. The right approach ultimately depends on the patient’s preferences, the procedure, and how much medicine will be required. The three common types of sedation dentistry are:
- Oral Sedation – You will take a pill about an hour before your procedure, and you will feel relaxed and comfortable by the time you’re in the dentist’s chair. While oral sedation is very simple and effective, the downside is the medication levels can’t be adjusted during the procedure. As a result, it’s usually the preferred option for short, simple treatments.
- IV Sedation – The sedation medication is administered intravenously. You will feel comfortable within a minute or two and the medication can be adjusted up or down as needed. IV sedation is more often used for major oral procedures.
- Nitrous Oxide – Some dental professionals rely on Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas), which is administered through a mask or nosepiece. You will begin to feel calm once you begin breathing in the gas.
When receiving sedation dentistry options, you’ll need to arrange for transportation to and from your appointment. You will not be permitted to drive.
Is Sedation Dentistry Right For Me?
Does the thought of gum disease treatment trigger anxiety? Do you have a sensitive gag reflex? Are you afraid of needles? Does the dental chair make you feel claustrophobic? Do you have teeth sensitivity? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then sedation options might be right for you. Talk to your dental provider about your concerns.
Most are eligible for sedation; however, it may not be right for patients who have certain pre-existing conditions. You’ll need to share your full medical history with your provider to ensure that you qualify.
If you’re suffering from gum disease, don’t delay treatment because of dentophobia. Putting off the procedure can not only further jeopardize your oral health, but it can also impact your overall health.
Sedation dentistry can help you overcome anxiety by putting you at ease and minimizing pain. At Ormond Beach Periodontics, we offer IV and oral sedation options in our comfortable office environment. We’re confident we can help you feel relaxed for the duration of your appointment. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.