Do you feel your heart race as soon as you sit on the dentist's chair? Do you start sweating at the sight of shiny dental instruments? Well, you’re not alone.
According to studies, approximately 36% of the American population suffers from dental anxiety, and a further 12% experience extreme dental fear.
Regular visits to the dentist are critical to maintain overall dental health. Unfortunately, dental anxiety prevents 9% to 20% of Americans from going to dentists. Talking to the dentist about their fears or listening to soothing music can sometimes help patients calm down before dental procedures such as root canal therapy. However, if nothing works, dentist use something known as sedation dentistry. Here are the types of sedation dentistry commonly used by dentists to put their patients at ease.
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is perhaps the most common sedative used by dentists. Patients breathe in laughing gas through a nose apparatus. Laughing gas relaxes the patient and doesn’t take long to work. Its effects can be felt at times within seconds. The effects are mild and the patient remains conscious while receiving the gas. Furthermore, the effects wear off pretty quickly and it’s common for dentists to allow patients to drive home after a treatment in which they were sedated by laughing gas.
Oral sedation is for those patients for who experience higher levels of anxiety and need a stronger sedative than Nitrous Oxide. It usually involves the patient taking a prescribed dose of sedative prior to the appointment as the medication takes a little time to take effect. The dosage depends upon the case. However, once the sedative kicks in, patients feel extremely relaxed. Some even fall into a light sleep and have no memory of the procedure after they wake up. The after-effects of oral sedation include drowsiness and it may take a day for the effects to completely wear off. Patients who have taken oral sedatives will need a ride home as they aren’t allowed to drive after a procedure.
IV sedation is the deepest form of sedation and is administered directly into the bloodstream. There are two main types of IV sedation. The first is known as ‘Twilight’ IV sedation. Twilight sedation is what you would call the ‘lighter’ version of IV sedation as the patient retains consciousness after it has been administered. Patients, although conscious, have little awareness of their surroundings and may not retain any memory of the procedure after it’s over.
The other, ‘heavier’ version of IV sedation is general anesthesia, which is rarely used in dental procedures. General anesthesia completely knocks you out and is usually only given to patients who require major oral surgery. This type of sedation generally requires the presence of an anesthesiologist who administers the sedative and monitors the vital signs of the patient.
Feeling anxious about going to the dentist? Image Dental & Orthodontics is one of the best medical dentists in Las Vegas. Our friendly staff will make sure you feel safe and comfortable and we provide options in sedative dentistry to make dental procedures a breeze for patients! Schedule an appointment by calling 702-803-1787.