Public speaking, spiders, snakes, death and going to the dentist. What do these five things have in common? Unfortunately, these are five of the most common fears people have. Going to see your dentist regularly is a major part of living a long and healthy life, but many people put off getting their checkups due to fear and anxiety. As a result, many suffer needless pain and health complications.
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But there is a solution for people dealing with these issues. We call it sedation dentistry.
At Dental Specialty Associates, we’re well-versed in the field of sedation dentistry. We know that there are a lot of questions and concerns that people have about this kind of treatment, so we want to address the pros and cons of sedation dentistry so you can make an informative choice as to whether it is right for you.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
It’s a process in which dentists give their patients medication to help them relax during dental procedures. There are various levels of sedation a patient can be put under, which range from minimal, where you are awake but relaxed, all the way up to general anesthesia, where you are completely unconscious.
What Types of Sedation Do You Use?
The most common form of sedation is administered through pills. Nitrous oxide gas can also be used, but it wears off much faster than oral sedation. For more intense procedures, dentists can use IV drugs and general anesthesia to induce deep sedation.
Calm and Relaxing
Dental work can be a stressful, high anxiety process. Many people avoid getting necessary work done because they are afraid of the possible pain and physical discomfort that could result from it. Sedation can be a huge help for people with these kinds of anxieties. The sedatives will have a calming effect, relaxing them throughout the procedure. Sometimes the sedatives are given before the visit, which means that patients would come in already in a state of peaceful relaxation.
This form of treatment can also be very helpful if you suffer from a phobia that makes going to see your dentist difficult. Whether it’s a fear of needles, gagging, drill sounds or pain, sedatives can help you slip out of your phobia’s grasp. It is also very useful for people with tremors or who suffer from any other form of illness that causes involuntary physical movement; the medicine will make you still, which will make it easier for the dentist to do their work.
One of the benefits of sedation is that dentists can do more work in a given timeframe. When patients are feeling relaxation and calmness, it’s easier for dentists to do their work. Often times the patient has so much relaxation that the dentist can work on their teeth while they’re sleeping! Procedures that under different circumstances would take multiple visits to resolve may finish in a single session with a patient using sedation.
Sedatives also work as painkillers, making them ideal to use for any painful or major surgery. In most cases, patients using sedation won’t feel a thing during their procedure. Not all sedatives have the same capacity for minimizing pain, though, which is why they administer some types of sedation with a local anesthetic.
Temporary Physical Impairment
The medicine can affect your reflexes, timing and thinking. You will not be able to drive to and from the procedure, and you could have difficulty talking or have a feeling of confusion and dizziness. Your face may remain numb for a few hours afterwards, and you will likely feel fatigued and not have much energy or motivation to do anything else.
Sedation dentistry can relax you and ease your pain, but the sedatives could also put more of a hurting on your wallet than other types of dental procedures. Check with your insurance to see whether they will cover sedation during your procedures. Even if you do have to pay out of pocket, the trade-off can be worth it. What’s a few more dollars comparing to a pain-free peace of mind?
Sedatives aren’t necessarily universal in their effects — different drugs can affect people in various ways. While it’s rare, there have been cases where too strong or too weak a dosage is given beforehand. If the dosage is given at the wrong time or isn’t high enough, you may not gain the benefits of the sedatives until the procedure already starts!
We must emphasize that this is a rare occurrence. Dentists with proper training and experience (like our professional staff) understand the nuances of how this kind of medication works and take great care to make sure that their patients receive the treatment they need.
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More Pros And Cons Of Sedation Dentistry
If you’d like to know more about the services and treatments we provide, call Dental Specialty Associates at (602)-795-5995.