Learn To Relax At The Dentist

Heights, small spaces, public speaking, spiders, and going to the dentist. These are five of the top fears Americans have. Although we are not able to help you with four of these, our team at DentalWorks – Burlington can try to help you conquer your fear of going to the dentist. Maybe an unpleasant experience with a procedure or dentist has kept you from returning until you have an emergency situation. No matter what has been keeping you from going to a dentist in Burlington, NC to treat or prevent issues, sedation dentistry might be the solution. This blog reviews the most common sedation dentistry options, candidate guidelines, plus what to expect before, during, and after sedation.

The majority of dental practices in Burlington, NC use three kinds for sedation — oral-conscious medication, nitrous oxide gas, and IV (intravenous) sedation. A single method or a combination might be used to fit the procedure being performed and your needs. Local anesthesia can also be added to numb the gums if your procedure is invasive.

    Sometimes called enteral sedation, oral-conscious sedation uses a prescription sedative pill taken prior to your visit to relax you. Based on your needs and what procedure you are getting, your dentist will prescribe the appropriate medication type and amount. Oral-conscious sedation will allow you to be awake, but comfortably relaxed. Sometimes, patients may dose off, but they can be gently awakened after their procedure. Oral-conscious sedation can be recommended to keep you relaxed during normal cleanings or combined with local anesthesia to help you get through certain procedures (like a root canal or gum surgery). When you use oral-conscious sedation, you’ll be required to have a friend or family member take you to and from the dentist’s office.
    More commonly called “laughing gas,” dentists have been using nitrous oxide sedation for a long time to help relax patients. The combination of nitrogen and oxygen gases is inhaled through a nasal hood during the appointment. This sedation is good to calm patients with anxiety during cleanings and exams in addition to shorter treatments (such as filling a cavity or SRP therapy for the earliest stage of gum disease). Unlike oral-conscious sedation, the level of gas can be increased or decreased during the treatment if needed. The sedation wears off as soon as the hood is removed. Nitrous oxide sedation may be used with local anesthesia as well as stronger methods of sedation. The majority of people can tolerate nitrous oxide sedation and can drive themselves home after their procedure.
    Based on the type and amount of medication selected, IV (intravenous) sedation can be either moderate or deep. IV sedation puts the medication straight into your vein, which means this isn’t a good choice if you are afraid of needles. Intravenous sedation is used most often for longer procedures (such as a surgical tooth extraction or other oral surgery). The dose can be increased or decreased as needed and patients usually come out of the sedation soon after the medication is stopped. You need to arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up after your procedure and should spend the remainder of the day recovering.

Prior to administering sedation, your dentist will schedule a consultation to decide what method of sedation can be safely used and is best for your needs. You should talk to your dental team regarding your medical history, if you have or had a serious medical condition, if you have any allergies, and medications you take (this includes prescriptions, plus non-prescription supplements, vitamins, and herbs). It is best to be honest to avoid interactions and side effects. In this meeting, your dentist will give you their sedation recommendations and, if you’re approved, what you need to do prior to and following your sedation. Typically, pregnant women are strongly encouraged to wait until after their delivery to get sedation and procedures.

To minimize common side effects, like nausea, it is recommended that you eat a small meal before you take your prescribed oral-conscious medication or arrive for your appointment to get nitrous-oxide gas. If you are getting IV sedation, you might need to fast for several hours prior to your appointment. Your dental team will discuss your pre-sedation requirements; however, if you’re receiving IV or oral-conscious sedation, you will likely need to have a friend or family member bring you to the dentist’s office because you won’t be permitted to drive afterward.

It’s possible you will recover quickly or you might take a little longer based on the method of sedation you received. Your dental team should explain what will happen, such as common side effects and how long you should wait to eat. How fast you recover will also vary based on what treatment you received (a routine cleaning probably won’t lengthen your recovery; however, oral surgery will add some time). You should follow your dentist’s suggestions and look for symptoms of a reaction or other complications.

With all your newfound knowledge of sedation dentistry, you’re ready contact a dental practice in Burlington, NC to schedule an appointment for a consultation if you want to find out more about your options. At DentalWorks – Burlington, our team screens patients to ensure they are good candidates to get sedation in their consultative appointment. Your team will explain what is going to happen every step of the way to help you feel prepared. We want to make your appointments a good experience to make it easier for you to get bi-annual cleanings and dental exams without anxiety or fear. Reach out to our office in Burlington, NC to schedule an appointment and find out more about overcoming anxiety and fear with dental sedation.