Most individuals experience some level of anxiety when they go to see the dentist. Even an annual checkup which does not involve pain of any sort can bring up feelings of discomfort. Some people experience feelings of dread even thinking about sitting in the dental chair. These discomforting feelings can interfere with you getting the dental care you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Sedation dentistry allows you to comfortably receive the dental care you need.
Relaxation or Deep Sleep
Local anesthesia and sedation are different. Local anesthesia is administered directly at the site where a procedure will be performed. For example, numbing the area around a tooth prior to extraction uses local anesthesia.
Sedation on the other hand, helps you to relax during the procedure. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas as it is also known, helps you relax while you remain conscious. Most patients experience a drowsy, happy feeling with this method of sedation. Nitrous oxide is often used with children and adults who need only a little help to relax and feel comfortable. After the procedure is completed, your system is flushed with oxygen. With this type of sedation, you will be back to your normal self in minutes.
Oral sedatives are the next level of sedation, producing a type of twilight feeling. You can still respond to questions and directions, but you feel groggy. This type of sedation is given prior to the procedure to allow the medicine to work, and afterward some recovery time is involved. It is important to have someone to drive you home after this type of sedation.
Intravenous, or I.V., sedation introduces an anti-anxiety solution directly into the bloodstream. This is another form of what is called conscious sedation. While you feel very relaxed and calm, you are still in a conscious state and can respond to directions and questions. Your blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels are constantly monitored during the procedure. As with oral sedation, it is important to make sure you have someone available to drive you home after your appointment.
General anesthesia is the deepest level of sedation. This is done in a hospital setting. The drugs used in this form of sedation produce an unconscious state. Individuals who have high anxiety or dental phobias can benefit from this form of sedation. Also, those who cannot tolerate other forms of sedation but need it to relax, and people who have conditions which make it uncomfortable or unsafe to have procedures in a regular dental setting, can have their dental needs addressed in this manner.
Ask for What You Need
Fear and anxiety keep nearly a quarter of the population away from the dental office. These people suffer through all types of pain and discomfort, and put their general health and well-being in jeopardy. Sedation dentistry allows those with even the most severe dental phobias to get the dental care they need to stay healthy.
Dr. Barnett is one of the few dentists in the Atlanta area practicing sleep dentistry. If you have dental anxiety or phobia, call us to find out more about sedation and schedule an appointment to get your dental care without stress and fear.