It’s not just kids who are afraid of going to the dentist; a lot of adults have this fear, too. In fact, dental anxiety or phobia is a condition that is common among adults.
Dental anxiety refers to the feeling of being nervous or afraid of going to the dentist. These fears stem from or can be about anything related to dentistry: dental pain, needle phobia, the smell in the clinic and the clinic itself, or a bad experience with an inept dentist. All of these make it hard for a person to go to a dental clinic, so much so that that they would prefer to suffer from a severe toothache or tooth loss than consulting a dentist.
Overcoming Your Fear of Dentists
Sedation dentistry pertains to the use of medication to sedate patients with the aim to make them feel more relaxed while they undergo a dental procedure. It utilizes a combination of relaxing and pain-relieving drugs so that patients who have dental anxiety are comfortable and pain-free during their procedure.
There are different levels of sedation that patients can opt for. They range from minimal sedation (the patient is awake but completely relaxed) to moderate sedation (the patient experiences slurring and won’t remember much of the procedure) to deep sedation (the patient is nearly unconscious but can still be woken), and general anesthesia (the patient is completely unconscious).
Forms of Sedation
A trusted dentist in Sterling Heights explains that the different levels of dental sedation usually correspond to the different forms as well, which are:
Inhaled sedation. Under this form, a patient inhales a type of gas (usually nitrous oxide) that has a sedative effect. The patient will inhale the gas through a mask and its sedative element will enter the bloodstream. The patient will then feel tired and even a bit sleepy and reduce his or her sensitivity to pain. The inhaled sedative does not have long lasting effects and once the procedure is over, they will wear off quickly.
Oral sedation. With this type, patients are given a tablet or pill that will make them more relaxed and less sensitive to pain. This is the least invasive method of sedation since it does not involve any injections or breathing apparatus. The medicine’s sedative effects can be powerful that the patient can fall asleep under its influence but he or she can maintain consciousness and still be aware of what is happening around them. Under its effects, the patient will be free from anxiety or fear. They will feel relaxed and experience less discomfort and pain while undergoing a dental procedure.
Intravenous sedation. Also known as IV sedation, under this method, the sedative is administered through a tube attached to a needle which is inserted into the arm and directly over a blood vessel. Once the drip starts, the sedative is administered directly into the bloodstream. Because of this, IV sedation is considered the most effective method that can be used for patients with severe dental phobia.
Deep sedation and general anesthesia. General anesthesia will be administered through inhalation or an intravenous drip. This is a method that is least used or recommended by dentists since the patient will lose consciousness once the sedative takes effect. Patients won’t feel any discomfort during the dental procedure as they are in deep sleep. Under this method, the patient’s health, vital signs, and level of consciousness will be closely monitored and maintained by the dental practitioner, nurse or qualified anesthetist.
If you are suffering from dental anxiety and considering undergoing sedation for an important procedure, you will do well to understand the different types of dental sedation. And with the advice of your dentist, you will be able to choose the best one that will suit your needs.