For many people, stepping foot into the dentist’s office can be a fearful task. They would rather bear the agony of a toothache or dental infection than go to their dentist. Unfortunately, fear of the dentist - or dental anxiety - is quite common. According to the American Dental Association, around 22% of people skip dental treatment just because they are too afraid.
However, thanks to sedation dentistry, people with dental anxiety can also get their dental treatment done comfortably and without the added anxiety that comes along with dental treatment. What is sedation dentistry, and how it can help you overcome your dental fear? Continue reading to find out.
Can't Get to Our Office? Get Started With A Free Virtual Consult.
What is Conscious Sedation?
According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Sedation is a technique in which your dentist will administer a pharmacological agent to make you relaxed and comfortable during your treatment. In conscious sedation, patients remain drowsy, but they are not asleep; they can still respond to the dentist’s instructions. Sedation only makes them more comfortable.
Your dentist in Braselton may use different types and levels of sedation, depending on the procedure’s expected length and patient comfort level - to perform the dental treatment. The mildest form of sedation is inhalation sedation, in which your dentist will ask you to breathe through a mask that carries a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide, making you drowsy. Another commonly used option used by dentists is the intravenous form of sedation for more apprehensive and uncooperative patients.
Read on if you would like to know more about IV sedation and whether it is the right option for you.
In intravenous (IV) sedation, your dentist will administer the medication through the veins. IV sedation will put you in a comfortable state, making you less aware of your surroundings - and what type of treatment your dentist will perform - and the instruments they will use. However, you will still be able to respond to your dentist’s commands. In this way, patients become more relaxed, comfortable, and less fearful.
IV sedation results in a reduction in the breathing rate. Therefore, the entire procedure will be performed under extra supervision - so your vital signs are constantly monitored for your safety during the process.
Am I a Candidate for IV Sedation?
IV sedation can be an effective option for the following patients:
- Highly apprehensive or frightened patients
- Those with a strong gag reflex
- Patients who have had a previous bad experience
- Uncooperative patients
- Physically or mentally challenged individuals who cannot sit still on the dental chair for prolonged durations
- When your dentist has planned long procedures in a single sitting, like implant surgery or surgical tooth extractions.
What Procedures Dentists Commonly Perform with IV Sedation
While your dentist may perform any procedure under IV sedation, two procedures are routinely performed; implant surgery and tooth extraction.
- Implant Surgery - the thought of getting dental implants may make some patients anxious. Therefore, dentists routinely perform this procedure under IV sedation - especially when multiple implants need to be placed in a single sitting. IV sedation allows your dentist to insert your implants without any disturbance or interruption while you sleep through the procedure worry-free.
- Tooth Extractions - sometimes, dentists have to perform complicated dental extractions that may take longer than usual. Alternatively, if your dentist is planning to extract multiple teeth in a single sitting - for placing an immediate denture or for single-day implants - they may prefer to perform this procedure while you are under the effect of IV sedation - so that you remain relaxed and calm.
How to Prepare for IV Sedation?
Here is what to expect before, during, and after your procedure under IV sedation:
Before scheduling your procedure, your dentist will perform a detailed clinical examination and evaluate your medical history, including any medications you might be taking. If needed, your dentist - in consultation with your physician - may ask you to discontinue certain medications before your appointment.
On the day of your appointment, you should wear comfortable, loose clothing and avoid eating or drinking or eating anything 6-8 hours before visiting the dentist. You will be required to be accompanied by someone so that they can drive you back home.
The IV medication will be administered through your arm or hand at the dental chair. To make you comfortable, they will apply a local anesthetic over the area to minimize injection pain as much as possible.
Immediately after the IV medication is administered, you will start to feel drowsy and fell less aware of your surroundings. At this point, your dentist will begin performing the planned procedure. Another dental professional will closely monitor your blood pressure, heart, and breathing rates during your treatment to watch out for any adverse effects or reactions.
Once your treatment has been completed, you will continue to be in the treatment room, where the dentist & staff will monitor your vital signs for another 30-60 minutes. You might feel drowsy for many hours after IV sedation. That is why you will not be allowed to drive home by yourself; you will be required to have someone to accompany you to the dentist’s office to drive you back home.
Things to Take Care of After IV Sedation
After the procedure, your dentist will advise you regarding the things you need to take care of immediately after IV sedation. You will receive post operative instructions and follow up calls from the dental office as well.
According to the National Institutes of Health, sedation is a safe and effective procedure - especially for those with dental anxiety or fear of the dentist. If you have dental fears that stop you from seeking professional dental care, IV sedation is an excellent option to make you enjoy a beautiful smile and pearly white teeth.