Relaxation And The Dentist Can Go Together

Heights, small spaces, public speaking, spiders, and going to the dentist. These are five of the top fears in America. While we are not able to help you with four of these, our team at DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads can try to help you get over your fear of the dentist. Maybe an unpleasant experience with a dentist or a procedure has kept you from coming back until you have an emergency situation. Whatever is keeping you from going to a dentist in Cary, NC to treat or prevent issues, sedation dentistry might be the solution. This blog reviews the most common options in sedation dentistry, candidate guidelines, as well as what to expect before, during, and after sedation.

Most dentists in Cary, NC offer three main kinds of dental sedation — nitrous oxide gas, oral-conscious medication, and intravenous (IV) sedation. A single method or a combination may be used to fit the procedure being performed and your needs. Local anesthesia can also be used to numb the gums if your procedure is invasive.

    Depending on the type and amount of medication selected, intravenous (IV) sedation can range from moderate to deep. IV sedation administers the selected medication directly into your vein, so this is not a good choice for patients who have a fear of needles. IV 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 anesthesia soon after the IV is removed. You will need to ask a responsible adult to pick you up after your appointment and should plan to spend the remainder of the day resting after IV sedation.
    Commonly known as “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 administered through a nasal hood so it can be inhaled during the appointment. Nitrous oxide gas is good to calm patients with anxiety during regular dental cleanings and exams in addition to shorter procedures (for example, filling a cavity or scaling and root planing for the earliest stage of gum disease). Unlike other types of sedation, the amount of nitrous oxide gas can be increased or decreased throughout the procedure if needed. The effects wear off quickly when the hood is removed. Nitrous oxide gas can be combined with local anesthesia (to numb the treatment area) and/or other methods of sedation. Most patients are able to safely receive nitrous oxide gas and should be able to drive themselves home after their procedure.
    Also known as enteral sedation, oral-conscious sedation is a prescription sedative pill taken before your visit to relax you. Depending on your level of anxiety and the procedure being performed, your dentist can determine the correct type of medication and dose to give you. Oral-conscious medication will keep you awake (conscious), but comfortably relaxed. Sometimes, patients may dose off, but they should be easily awakened when their procedure is done. Oral-conscious medication can be recommended to keep you relaxed during routine cleanings or along with local anesthesia during certain procedures (like a root canal or gum surgery). If you use oral-conscious medication, you will be required to have a friend or family member drive you to and from your appointment.

Before a dentist administers sedation, they will need to perform a consultation to decide which type of sedation can be safely used and is best for your needs. You will need to tell your dentist about your medical history, any current conditions, known allergies, and what medications you are taking (this includes prescriptions, plus any non-prescription supplements, vitamins, and herbs). It’s best to be honest with your dentist to avoid side effects and interactions. During this meeting, your dentist will discuss their recommendations for sedation and, if you are a good candidate, instructions to follow before and after your sedation. In general, women who are pregnant are strongly encouraged to wait until after their delivery to get sedation and lengthy dental procedures.

To minimize nausea and other side effects, it’s best to eat a light meal before you take your prescribed oral-conscious medication or arrive for your appointment to get nitrous-oxide gas. Patients receiving IV sedation may need to not eat or drink anything for several hours before the procedure. Your dentist will discuss your specific pre-sedation requirements, but if you are getting oral-conscious or IV sedation, you will probably need to have a friend or family member take you to the dentist’s office since you will not be permitted to drive afterward.

You may recover quickly after sedation dentistry or you may need a little longer depending on the type of sedation you received. Your dentist will explain what to expect, like common side effects and how long you should wait to eat. Your recovery will also vary based on what treatment you received (a routine cleaning shouldn’t lengthen your recovery, but implant surgery will take longer). You should follow all of your dentist’s suggestions and watch for signs of a reaction or other complications.

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