Many people experience anxiety at the thought of dental procedures such as a filling or root canal, or even a routine cleaning. If you experience dental anxiety, you’re not alone. But it’s important to see your dentist regularly and maintain good oral health. That’s why many dentists offer sedation dentistry to make their patients feel more comfortable and less stressed.
Are you struggling with dental phobia? Consider finding a dentist who uses the DentalVibe Comfort Injection System.
People fear the dentist for many reasons. Adults may have intense anxiety as a result of a bad childhood dental experience. Some may find that they do not experience adequate numbing from topical and injected anesthetics used in dental treatment. Others may have a low pain tolerance, an active gag reflex, or very sensitive teeth, which makes treatment complicated. If you’ve avoided the dentist for any of these reasons or if you have a significant amount of corrective work that needs to be done, dental sedation can make a potentially stressful situation far more comfortable.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry refers to the practice of using medication to help patients relax during dental procedures.
It is important to remember that dental sedation is not pain management. Dental sedation uses a variety of tools to relax the patient and in some cases will leave you with no memory of the procedure at all. The type of dental sedation that’s right for you will be determined by the oral care treatments needed, your overall health, and other factors.
Sedation can take place though an inhaled gas, a simple pill or medication administered through an IV. Sedation is generally separated into several categories:
Mild sedation: Mild dental sedation is achieved when the patient inhales a gas called nitrous oxide, which is commonly referred to as laughing gas. This is the lightest form of dental sedation used, and it provides a very gentle and light level of relaxation. The patient is awake but relaxed. Some describe this mild sedation as a floating sensation or a carefree feeling. Effects diminish quickly after the laughing gas is removed from the patient, and recovery is very quick. Patients can resume normal activities immediately after treatment.
Moderate sedation: Moderate sedation involves taking a pill, such as Valium or Halcion, an hour or two before a scheduled dental appointment. These medications produce a strong sense of relaxation. Some patients report that this level of sedation makes them very groggy and relaxed enough to fall asleep during a dental procedure, but this type of sedation also allows patients to be easily roused, if needed.
Deep sedation: For this level of sedation, pain-relieving and sedative drugs are administered through an IV line, causing the patient to be very relaxed during the dental procedure. Patients remain conscious with use of this method and can communicate with the dentist or doctor, but they are extremely calm and peaceful. They may not remember much of the procedure afterward.
General anesthesia: Sometimes dentists may use general anesthesia, which means that a patient is completely unconscious and cannot be easily awakened during treatment. This is used much less frequently for dental procedures than the lesser levels of sedation listed above. However, this level of sedation may be recommended for major dental procedures such as a tooth extraction or placement of a dental implant.
If you tend to avoid the dentist or postpone dental procedures, you may want to ask if your dental office provides sedation dentistry, or find one that does. There are many dental offices you can choose from, and you don’t have to continue going to one that doesn’t prioritize your comfort. Many dental offices are more than happy to go above and beyond in meeting their patients’ needs so they can get the dental care they require. Sedation dentistry is just one service that can make a huge difference for anxious patients.
Many dentists also use the DentalVibe Comfort Injection System to eliminate the discomfort associated with dental injections. DentalVibe uses a light vibration sensation to help block pain signals from the brain. When a patient is being prepared for a dental procedure that requires an oral injection, the DentalVibe tool is used to gently vibrate the gum area and tissues surrounding the injection site. Research has shown that when the vibration and injection sensations are occurring simultaneously, the vibration feeling reaches the brain first and essentially distracts the brain. This distraction prevents the brain from noticing the feeling of the injection.
Don’t let your fear and anxiety prevent you from taking care of your oral health. Talk to your dentist about the combination of treatment options, sedation choices, and pain relieving measures that are right for you. You’ll be smiling in no time!
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