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Overcoming A Fear Of Dental Appointments With Sedation Dentistry

While the majority of adults experience some level of anxiety about receiving dental care, up to ten percent have full-blown dental phobia. While regular dental appointments are essential to excellent oral health and most procedures do not cause pain, many adults and children still fear seeing their dentist. If the thought of going to the dentist fills you with apprehension, you should consider receiving oral health care from a dental practice that offers sedation dentistry.

Sedation Dentistry Basics

Receiving topical and local anesthetics to numb the mouth or gums is common during dental procedures. However, for patients who experience serious angst during a visit, specially trained dentists offer additional medication to help clients relax. In addition to helping alleviate anxiety, sedation helps patients who experience a variety of other symptoms including:

  • Fear of injections
  • Sensitive gag reflex
  • Claustrophobia
  • Sensitive Teeth
  • Fear of losing control

Sedation dentistry is also ideal if you have a low pain threshold, hate needles and require extensive dental work. In addition, if you have a history of negative dental experiences, you should seek care from a dentist that can offer sedation techniques to help you have a more enjoyable dental experience.

In addition, experienced sedation dentists will take the time to listen to your concerns and feelings to help you overcome your fears.

Sedation Techniques

Depending on your level of anxiety or extent of your dental phobia, the dentist will select what type of sedation to use during your visit. Mild sedation will help you relax during your visit but you will remain wide awake. This type of sedation may involve inhaling nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help you relax.

Oral sedation will not only relax you but also make you groggy. You may also experience slurring of your words. However, you will still be awake during oral sedation. You receive oral sedation via a pill.

Dentists also use intravenous sedation to help patients relax. Sedation via IV works faster than oral techniques. The dentist will also be able to control and modify how much sedative you receive with an IV.

If you are undergoing an extensive procedure, the sedation dentist may use deep sedation to make you nearly unconscious during your visit. You will not be fully asleep but on the edge of unconsciousness.

Sedation Dentistry for Children

If your child fears going to the dentist, needs extensive dental care in a single visit, has trouble sitting still or has special needs, your dentist may use sedation techniques to facilitate a smooth appointment.

It may help to bring your child's favorite comfort item to the visit, hold their hand during the procedure and even sing to them if that helps them to remain relaxed as the sedative begins to work.

Preparing for an Appointment and Follow-up

Adults and children must follow dentist's instructions for consuming food and beverages before a visit that includes sedation. The instructions will vary based on your age.

People emerge from sedation in different ways. If you are accompanying your child to the dentist, make sure to be at their side as they emerge from sedation. Some children may be confused and fussy or even cry as the medication wears off.

Make sure to arrange a ride to and from the dentist if you undergo oral, IV or deep sedation.

If you have a palpable fear of going to the dentist, you are not alone. At least 30 million people also suffer from the same condition. Instead of avoiding the dentist like the plague, consider your options for receiving care under the care of a dentist that offers sedation dentistry. You can avoid being wracked with anxiety in the days leading up to your appointment or waiting until the last minute to receive dental care for serious issues. For more information, contact a local sedation dentist