Have you avoided going to the dentist out of fear or anxiety? Do you require multiple treatments that you would like to try to accomplish in fewer visits to the dentist? If you answered yes to either of the above questions, you may be a candidate for oral sedation dentistry.

If you have dental anxiety, you’re not alone. Research has shown that the number of patients who share this debilitating fear could be as high as 20 percent! For these individuals and others, sedatives can make dental treatments significantly easier to accomplish. Since this options allows patients to remain comfortable, yet responsive at the same time, the dentist and dental team are able to proceed efficiently and effectively during the treatment.

Using sedation allows trained dentists to create a safe and comfortable dental experience for patients suffering from dental anxiety or to complete multiple treatments in fewer visits.

How will sedative medication affect me?

It works by slowing the action of the central nervous system and therefore relaxing the patient. The great news is that you remain responsive and aware of your surroundings, but are much less reactive to stimuli such as the sound of the drill or the smell of materials. Your sense of pain is simultaneously reduced with this effect.

Most people report feeling calmer and more relaxed after such dentistry. Also of importance, a person’s perception of time changes – making an extended appointment seem to take very little time at all.

How should I prepare for my dental visit?

The number one consideration when having sedatives is that you will need to be accompanied by a responsible caregiver who can accompany you to and from the appointment. After the appointment, it is also strongly recommended that a caregiver should stay with you until the effects of the treatment have completely worn off. It is best that you should not drive yourself to or from the appointment.

Is it safe?

This treatment is proven to be a very safe and effective way to resolve fear of dental treatments. To demonstrate the safety of this option, pharmacists and physicians utilize a scale called the therapeutic index to measure the likelihood of an adverse reaction from a drug. Sedation medications commonly used by dentists score in a range that make them one of the least likely to cause an adverse reaction.

For additional safety, there are also several measures that dentists are required to have in place to ensure the safety of patients. Dentists are required to use monitoring equipment during the procedure, for example, including a pulse oximeter and oxygen equipment. In the very rare case of an adverse reaction to the drugs, dentists are required to have reversal mediation agents available.

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Your dentist is the best person to help you review your specific situation and recommend the right treatment options for you. In short, there is no longer any need to suffer from dental anxiety with these safe and effective options available.