Sedation Dentistry Can Put You At Ease
Do you get nervous at just the thought of going to the dentist? If you can feel your heart racing or you’re starting to sweat, know that you are not the only one who feels this way. Many patients experience dental anxiety. It is a leading cause of poor oral health in adults today.
Close to 60% of people have anxiety ahead of their dental appointment. Even if it’s not necessarily enough to make them cancel. However, if you’re starting to get cold feet ahead of your visit, Dr. Grapevine has options to consider. In addition to general dentistry treatments, we provide dental sedation options for our patients.
To give our patients as comfortable of an experience as possible, Dr. Jacob Grapevine offers three forms of dental sedation: nitrous oxide (or laughing gas), oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. Sedation dentistry aims to relax you and increase your comfort level during your dental care visit. Dental sedation can enable anxious and fearful patients to maintain their dental health. This practice can also help them receive the dental treatment they need to restore oral health after time away from the dentist.
Sedation dentistry, or “sleep dentistry”, is a series of anesthesia methods dentists use in oral care to reduce patients’ anxiety and discomfort during procedures. There are several different ways in which a dentist can administer sedation. All of which offer a specific set of advantages to potential patients.
Nitrous Oxide Dental Sedation
Nitrous oxide can be a fantastic solution for keeping up with your routine exams, cleanings, and just about any other treatment you need while feeling anxiety-free. It is the most common method of sedation we use.
You will inhale the gas through a nasal mask before procedures. You can expect anxiety and nervousness to almost immediately go away. It relaxes you during your appointment while being aware of your surroundings and enables you to drive yourself home afterward.
Patients remain fully conscious and aware but do not experience the mental stress that can come with oral health procedures. Nitrous Oxide takes effect and wears off quickly, so most patients tolerate it very well. When your dentist uses laughing gas with a local anesthetic, it eliminates patients’ psychological aversion to the dentist office.
How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?
Dr. Grapevine and his team have the training to provide sedation dentistry in-house for your convenience. The sedative travels quickly through your body once you inhale the gas through a dedicated nasal mask. This results in a light yet euphoric effect that keeps you at ease. While other sedatives can take time, nitrous oxide is virtually instant. The on-the-fly capabilities of nitrous oxide also make it easier for Dr. Grapevine to adjust the amount he administers to help you get comfortable.
Remember that nitrous oxide is not meant to put you to sleep like general anesthesia. Rather you will be in a deep state of relaxation and perhaps a little light-headed. You may even notice a tingling sensation in your arms or legs. What’s important is that you feel calm and comfortable. In some cases, patients don’t even remember much of their treatment, and some would prefer to keep it that way if their anxiety is particularly severe.
Once Dr. Grapevine completes treatment, we will remove the sedative. The effects will quickly wear off as you begin breathing normal air rather than oxygen mixed with nitrous oxide. You’ll even be able to drive yourself home!
Is Nitrous Oxide Sedation Right for Me?
Nitrous oxide is ideal for those with fears or anxieties about dentistry, but it’s hardly the only group that can benefit from its use. For example, we may recommend it for patients who have:
- A sensitive gag reflex.
- Difficulty holding the jaw open for long periods of time.
- Discomfort in the neck or back.
- Jaw pain (especially for those with TMD).
- Tooth sensitivity.
We cannot recommend sedation if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or have glaucoma. After your appointment, Dr. Grapevine will review your medical history in more detail to ensure you are eligible for sedation.
Are There Side Effects of Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide has no lingering side effects, which is common for stronger sedatives. You won’t need anyone to drive you from the practice after your treatment. Of course, Dr. Grapevine is happy to answer any questions you have about your aftercare.
Oral Conscious Sedation Dentistry
Oral sedation is a pill that we prescribe, and you take it before you start dental work. It provides a moderate relaxation level similar to falling asleep. Oral sedation requires you to have an escort to and from the office. This powerful pain-killing and anti-anxiety medication can improve dental patients’ experience.
Patients who choose this type of sedation describe their experience as sleep-like. Often, they have little to no memory of the procedure itself. Because this medication is more powerful and affects patients’ alertness, the patient will require a ride to and from the dental office. Still, those with a serious fear of oral procedures might find this medication more effective.
IV Dental Sedation
A medical anesthesiologist administers intravenous or IV sedation in our office, and you are under his care for the entire procedure. This is similar to deep sleep, with little or no remembrance of the procedure.
Our focus is on each patient. We provide personal attention and care with your concerns in mind. If you want to learn more about our sedation dentistry options, please contact us. We welcome patients who have been avoiding the dentist due to fear, anxiety, and embarrassment about the condition of their smile.
Who Benefits From Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation is most commonly used for patients that have dental anxiety. Some patients have dental fear that’s so crippling they can’t even come into the office for a dental cleaning. Using sedation, we can relax these patients enough to get the care they need. But patients with dental anxiety aren’t the only ones that can benefit from sedation.
It can be difficult to perform more intensive dental procedures on patients with certain medical conditions. Patients with movement disorders like Parkinson’s may have uncontrollable movements. It can cause injury when this happens while dentists have sharp dental tools in the mouth. Sedation relaxes those movements to make care safer. It’s also beneficial for patients that find dental care difficult due to sensory issues.
Since nitrous oxide is so temporary, it’s safe for children to use, in addition to adults. Particularly for more intensive procedures, it’s hard for kids to sit still long enough to complete them. We don’t want to risk injury when kids squirm in the chair. Sedation keeps them relaxed and comfortable to get their care.
Sedation is ideal for patients with a low pain tolerance or sensitive teeth. Though we completely numb the area during invasive procedures, even simple cleanings can be painful for certain individuals. Sedation makes the process more tolerable and dulls the pain. It can even make recovery better for these patients. It’s also true for patients that have a bad gag reflex. Getting any oral care with a gag reflex can be difficult, but sedation relaxes it.
Lastly, sedation can help us do our jobs better. We don’t want to fight patients or cause pain when performing care. Our goal is to relieve pain and assist with your smile’s health. Sedation allows us to perform care more quickly and efficiently. We don’t have to worry as much about adverse reactions or movements from the patient, allowing us to focus completely on your care. It’s a more pleasant dental experience for you and can make your recovery smoother.
Sedation Dentistry FAQs
Sedation dentistry helps many types of patients receive needed dental care. Learn more by reading the answers to these commonly asked questions.
Is dental sedation the only way to treat dental anxiety?
No. Sedation Dentistry is like a bandage for most patients. Some patients have no choice but to get dental sedation for medical reasons. There are other ways to treat your dental anxiety that do not involve dental sedation. Talking through your dental fears with a friend or therapist can help you understand their origins. This can drastically reduce your fears or even eliminate them.
What does dental sedation feel like?
Dental sedation options differ in how dentists administer them, but they share some common traits. Expect to be happy and euphoric the whole time you are under sedation. Your sedation dentist will not put you completely to sleep, but you may feel like you are on the border between asleep and awake. You may become disoriented and temporarily forget what’s going on. Your dental team will closely monitor you as well.
Is it okay to go to sleep after sedation?
Yes. Taking a nap after getting home helps rid your body of residual symptoms. Sleeping after dental sedation is safe if you are in a safe environment at home. Children who have undergone sedation may be drowsy for longer than adults.
Why Choose Dr. Jacob Grapevine?
Our compassionate and caring team takes the time to understand your needs and ensure you feel comfortable during your visit. Unfortunately, many people avoid going to the dentist unless absolutely necessary. Not only does this compromise oral health, but it also reinforces the irrational aversion to the dentist.
Fortunately, our dental practice uses techniques that can all but eliminate the unpleasantness of professional oral care. Whether you need a simple cavity filling or an advanced restorative procedure, the practice of sedation dentistry can do wonders to limit mental and physical discomfort. Dr. Grapevine can help you reestablish your oral health for a better quality of life and boost your self-confidence.
There is good reason to consider sedation dentistry as an avenue to finally get the oral care you need with the varying options made available today. Contact our dental office at (972) 449-5759 today or request an appointment online anytime.