Learn the facts about dental sedation and how it can help you achieve better dental health!
A survey published in the Journal of the American Dental Association suggests that 75% of adults in the United States suffer from some form of dental anxiety or fear. For many, the phobia is minor, just a feeling of anxiety and discomfort felt when in the dentist chair. But for many others, the fear can be crippling and lead to serious dental problems.
Unfortunately, many with dental phobia don’t understand the options available to help ease these fears. One of those options, dental sedation, is a specialty of Dr. Potts and Lake County Dental Care. Here’s what you need to know about dental anxiety and dental sedation:
What can happen if I let my fear take over?
If you allow your dental anxiety to take over, you’ll most likely end up with serious dental issues. If you’re so scared that you postpone or completely avoid dental appointments, you begin getting into a cycle that will only get worse.
What can realistically happen? On the low end of the scale, you may have stained teeth and bad breath. Both of these are common occurrences with those who don’t get regular check-ups and cleanings. This can definitely impact your self-esteem and social standing.
Beyond that, you move to more serious issues such as lost teeth and painful toothaches. This could cause tooth loss, your only option will be dentures that will still require a visit to a dentist.
On the high end of the scale, you could face serious dental diseases that have been linked to other issues including diabetes and some forms of mouth cancer. Ultimately, prolonging treatment will require you to have other, more expensive, and possibly more invasive, procedures at a later date.
What is dental sedation?
Dental sedation is a technique for relaxing a patient so that he or she can comfortably allow a dentist to perform needed procedures. It does not necessarily mean that the patient is completely asleep during the procedure. The two most common types are nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation:
Nitrous oxide is more commonly known as laughing gas.
This will not put you to sleep, but it will relax you. If you choose this option, you breathe the gas through a mask and that’s it! You’ll be relaxed for the procedure.
The best part of this is that after the procedure, you will be given pure oxygen for a few minutes through a mask to “wake you up” and remove the effects of the gas. Because of this, you don’t need to bring anyone with you to drive you home. You can safely operate a car afterwards and can even go back to work if you want to.
Oral conscious sedation is more for patients with a severe dental anxiety who need something more to relax them.
While some dentists use IV sedation for this, Dr. Potts prefers to use medication instead to get the same benefits without adding needles into the equation. If you choose oral conscious sedation, you will be given a pill to take prior to your appointment. This will not knock you out, but it will put you in a drowsy state so the dentist can do his job.
In fact, because of the relaxed state you’ll be in, the dentist can do more work that otherwise might have to be split into multiple appointments. The dentist can also adjust the level of sedation to fit your comfort level. With this you will be drowsy for some time and will need someone to drive you home after the procedure.
If you have a serious fear of the dentist or even just a problematic gag reflex that keeps you from relaxing in the dental chair, then you may wish to consider sedation dentistry. It’s a way to put you at ease so your dental health problems won’t stack up requiring more serious dental work later on.
Dr. Potts is a gentle, caring dentist who uses the most advanced materials and procedures available. He practices comfortable, health-centered dentistry, with a strong emphasis on getting to know each patient. In addition to his technical proficiency, Dr. Potts is a careful listener. He makes sure to understand what you want and will explain beforehand what treatment is best for your individual needs, along with all options available to you. Check out our Twitter, Facebook page, and website.