Prevalence of Dental Phobias: How Sedation Dentistry Can Make You More Comfortable

Prevalence of Dental Phobias: How Sedation Dentistry Can Make You More Comfortable

Dental phobias are quite common, especially among patients who are facing oral surgery. However, anxiety can interfere with your ability to get effective dental treatments, and when that happens sedation dentistry can put you at ease.

Sedation dentistry helps the patient achieve a state of deep relaxation, which makes it easier to tolerate procedures like dental implant placement, wisdom tooth extraction or jaw surgery.

Your oral surgeon may suggest sedation as an alternative to general anesthesia, under which patients are unconscious and must have the airway maintained artificially. In contrast, patients remain conscious under sedation. Although this method is sometimes called “sleep dentistry,” that’s actually a misnomer because patients remain awake, just deeply relaxed.

The patient also will continue to be able to respond to the oral surgeon’s directives while under sedation, which is another benefit of sedation dentistry.

The oral surgeon can deliver the anti-anxiety medication in pill form or intravenously. Patients can also inhale gaseous nitrous oxide for its deeply relaxing effects, which wear off quickly and leaves the patient able to drive home safely after the appointment. When discussing your treatment plan, get your oral surgeon’s input on which method will be most appropriate for you.

As part of your routine to prepare for your surgery, you may also get some directions specific to your sedation, too. For example, patients who receive intravenous sedation usually need to avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight prior to the appointment.

Patients who choose oral sedation will need to take the medicine early enough to give it time to take effect. With sedation methods other than nitrous oxide, patients also need to make arrangements to have someone else drive them home after the surgery. The sedative’s effects will not have worn off completely by that time.

If you are one of the many, many patients who is anxious about an oral surgery procedure and hesitant to schedule it as a result, ask your surgeon if sedation is available and appropriate in your case. This dental tool can put your mind at ease.

Contact the Charlottesville office of Dr. Carlos Ibanez at 434-295-0911 to learn more about your options.