Many people experience anxiety about undergoing dental work or even visiting the dentist at all, a fear known as dental phobia. This can keep them from seeking proper dental care and may be compromising their dental health. Relief for patients with dental phobia is now available through sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for people undergoing dental treatment. Although sometimes referred to as "sleep dentistry," most patients remain awake after taking sedation medication and experience a sleepy feeling. There are several different methods available to achieve varying degrees of sedation, all depending on the type of procedure and preference of the patient.
Different from Anesthesia
Although sedation produces a relaxed state, it does not produce the same effect as anesthesia, which is used for most dental procedures. Patients will still require local anesthesia through injection to help reduce the pain of the procedure. Sedation simply helps relieve the nerves and anxiety that often accompany seeing a dentist. The anesthesia is usually injected after the patient is sedated to reduce anxiety about the actual injection.
Many people are uneasy at just the thought of undergoing dental work. Sedation allows people to gain a sense of comfort about these often complex and lengthy procedures. It may also influence some patients to undergo elective procedures that they may have been apprehensive about before. Sedation dentistry lets patients feel as though their lengthy procedures last for only a few minutes.
Patients that benefit from sedation dentistry include those who:
- Have a low pain threshold
- Have sensitive teeth
- Can't sit still in the dentist's chair
- Have a bad gag reflex
- Need a large amount of dental work done
It is important to discuss the individual risks of sedation dentistry with your doctor, who can help you decide if you can benefit from this technique.