Dental anxiety is quite common. By some estimates, as many as three-quarters of Americans have some level of fear of going to the dentist. For some of those patients, the fear is so severe that they avoid dental treatment entirely. Needless to say, this can have serious consequences for your dental and overall health.
When an oral surgeon is involved in treatment, a patient’s anxiety may be even greater. The prospect of oral surgery can be very intimidating for some people.
Fortunately, working with a sedation dentist can help people with dental fear get the treatment they need to restore their smiles and improve their oral health.
A sedation dentist uses pharmaceutical methods to help patients achieve a level of deep relaxation that allows them to tolerate a surgical procedure or some other dental intervention. After the sedative wears off, the patient will have no recollection of the procedure.
Although sedation dentistry is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” that’s a misnomer. The patient remains conscious while under sedation and continues to be able to respond to the oral surgeon’s commands. Additionally, the airway remains open during sedation, eliminating the need for artificial breathing support.
Using this approach, the oral surgeon will give the patient an anti-anxiety medication to induce relaxation, and these drugs can be administered in different ways. Intravenous delivery tends to have the quickest effects, but patients who are uneasy with needles may feel more comfortable with taking the medications orally. Nitrous oxide gas inhalation is another method sometimes used in sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry is even beneficial to patients who don’t have qualms about sitting in a dental chair. These patients can withstand longer treatment sessions; which means that they may be able to complete a complex intervention in fewer appointments.
If you choose sedation dentistry for your oral surgery, be sure to talk with your surgeon in advance to plan for the day of the appointment. You will need to bring a responsible adult to escort you home from the office, and that person should stay with you until the sedative has worn off completely.
For more information on sedation dentistry and how it can make your dental procedures more comfortable, contact the office of Dr. Carlos Ibanez to schedule a professional consultation today.