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The Basics Of Sedation Dentistry

Posted on August 5th, 2016

You asked for a pillow. That helped your neck feel more comfortable.

You asked for a blanket. That helped you feel a little cozier as you waited for your dental cleaning to begin.

But something still doesn’t feel right. 

You are nervous, anxious about what it about to take place. You appreciate everything the dental staff has done to improve your comfort, but it’s not relieving your anxiety.

Maybe it’s time for you to ask about sedation dentistry at Atlanta West Dentistry. We are located in Marietta, GA.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Dental sedation involves the use of medication to help patients relax so they can receive the dental care that they need.

Dental anxiety is more common than you may realize. According to some experts, up to 75 percent of the U.S. population experiences some level of anxiety about going to the dentist. This includes 5 to 10 percent of the population that experiences dental phobia or fear or the dentists.

That means as many as 31 million Americans have difficulty going to the dentist office. We hope they realize this can contribute to an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other more serious oral health concerns.

That’s also why we offer sedation dentistry. We want to make it as easy as we can for you or your loved ones to come to our office.

If medication can help you stay calm and relaxed throughout your treatment, then we are glad to provide that for you.

What Kind Of Sedation Is Right For You?

This depends on a couple factors. First, how severe is your dental anxiety? Second, what kind of procedure will you be receiving?

Let’s consider a few possibilities:

➤ You have mild dental anxiety.

We may suggest trying to receive basic dental care without sedation. You may benefit from the comfort options or from distracting yourself during your treatment.

For instance, listening to music may be all it takes to help you relax and remain calm. This may be just what you need to take your mind off of what is happening.

➤ You have moderate dental anxiety.

You are OK making and appointment and coming to our office. You don’t start to feel nervous until you are in the waiting room or you take a seat in one of our dental chairs.

If this is when you start to feel a little agitated, then we may recommend nitrous oxide. You may know this better as laughing gas. This could be considered the oldest form of dental sedation since it has been used for more than 170 years.

This is a gas that you inhale. As you do, you will feel a sense of calm come over you.

You may feel as though you have fallen asleep, or you may remember bits and pieces of your treatment. Either way, you won’t feel any pain or anxiety as long as you continue breathing the gas.

➤ You have severe dental anxiety.

For these patients, we do have a stronger form of sedation. This is oral conscious sedation.

You will take a dose of an anti-anxiety medication before your cleaning or other procedure begins. As with nitrous oxide, you won’t feel any pain, and you may feel drowsy.

We will make sure the medication has taken effect before we start anything. More than likely, you won’t remember much if you remember any of your treatment.

However, you will need someone else to take you home. This is a stronger form of sedation, and you may feel the effects for a few hours after your treatment is over.

➤ You are undergoing a complicated procedure.

Unfortunately, if you avoid the dentist too long, you increase the odds that you may have a more serious dental problem. If this problem may require a longer, more complicated treatment, we may suggest IV sedation instead.

IV sedation is the strongest sedation that we offer. You will not recall anything that happens while you are under this form of sedation, and you will not feel any pain, either.

With IV sedation, we can maintain your sedation for as long as necessary to complete your treatment.

As will oral conscious sedation, you will need someone else available to take you home And you will probably want to rest when you get there.

Would You Like To Learn More?

This post is just a quick overview of the different kinds of sedation we offer at Atlanta West Dentistry. If you have more questions, please contact our dentist office in Marietta, GA, with our online form or by calling (770) 941-6979.