Millions of people suffer from some level of dental anxiety. Sometimes, people are so afraid of going to the dentist that they avoid treatment for years, making the problem far worse and the treatment required to fix it much more extensive.
Here at Exceptional Smiles Family Dentistry, we want our patients to know that there’s no need to be afraid of the dentist. Our staff is trained to treat people with dental anxiety, and we pride ourselves on making sure that each person who sits in our chair has a pain and stress free experience. That’s why we use sedation dentistry to put our patients with anxiety at ease.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to alleviate patients’ fear and help them stay calm during dental treatments and procedures. The sedatives used in sedation dentistry depress the central nervous system, which decreases stress and promotes relaxation.
At Exceptional Smiles, we offer two types of sedation:
- Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas”, is a mild sedative that is delivered through a hood placed over the nose and mouth. When you breathe it in, it reduces anxiety, elevates your mood, and reduces pain. Another added benefit is that it has a very pleasant, minty smell. With nitrous oxide, the patient remains relaxed but fully aware.
- Oral Sedation: Oral sedation is provided via a pill that is taken before a procedure, making it a great option for patients who fear needles. It is a moderate level of sedation that can be easily adjusted according to the degree of anxiety. Oral sedation dulls the senses and may make the patient drowsy, but typically does not cause them to fall asleep.
What to Expect After Sedation Dentistry
While patients usually remain awake during procedures using sedation dentistry, the medication used can cause drowsiness. If oral sedation is used, the patient may not remember much of the procedure.
With nitrous oxide, the effects wear off just a few minutes after the hood is removed. The patient returns to a normal state and can even drive home on their own. With oral sedation, however, the effects can last several hours after the procedure, and the patient will need a friend or relative to drive them home.
Is Sedation Dentistry Right For You?
Provided that there are no allergies to medication or complications in a patient’s medical history, sedation dentistry can be a good option for anyone who feels anxious or uncomfortable going to the dentist. Ask Dr. Eye prior to your next appointment to help determine the type of sedation that’s best for you.
Need to schedule an appointment? Visit our website or call our office today at (540) 434-5500.