Are you afraid of the dentist? Many people are. Sometimes it’s the sights and sounds of a dentist’s office that are frightening. Other times it could be a distant childhood memory of a fearful dental visit. No matter, for people who avoid the dentist out of fear, there is something called sedation dentistry that will make your fear a thing of the past. Sedation dentistry lets you relax and be blissfully unaware as the dentist completes the work you need.
The word sedation just means that certain medications will be used to help you relax and stay calm. There are three basic forms of sedation dentistry:
Nitrous Oxide: This is a gas given by a small mask over the nose. It takes effect quickly and provides pleasant sedation. It has a relaxing, calming effect. You will be comfortable while the dentist completes your treatment. Afterwards, you will breathe pure oxygen for a few minutes until the effects of the nitrous oxide are completely reversed. Then you can go home to your regular routine.
Oral sedation: An oral medication will be given to you, which will cause you to become very relaxed and sleepy. You will be comfortable and only partly aware as the dentist completes his work. Afterwards it’s best if a friend drives you home, where you can continue to recover until the medication completely wears off.
IV sedation: Also known as sleep dentistry, this procedure uses medications given into a vein. You will not be unconscious or asleep, though, and you will be able to hear the dentist and respond to him or her. It’s a deeper level of sedation than oral sedation or nitrous oxide and usually you will have no memory of the dental procedures that were performed.
These are three sedation dentistry options to help you with your fear and anxiety regarding the dentist. You’re not alone in your fears. Don’t be afraid to be honest with your dentist and to ask for help. It’s part of his or her job to make your dental visit as painless and as easy as possible.
If you have fears about dental work, and would like more information about how sedation dentistry may be able to help, contact Gentle Dental Center at (757) 431-1300. Our providers want our patients to be comfortable and confident at the dentist.