We all know we need our dentist if we want to maintain our healthy smiles. In fact, it is expected that we visit them twice a year. But what if you have an actual fear of these visits? How are you supposed to be able to not only sit through one visit a year, but two? The idea sounds impossible as every fear you have about this appointment flashes through your mind. So you cancel your appointment. Or just skip out on the idea altogether and just deal with the pain. You aren’t alone. Of all the health professionals feared most by adults, the dentist is at the top of the list. Dental Anxiety (DA) is the actual diagnosis for this fear and adults everywhere have it. Dental professionals everywhere just can’t quite figure out why their patients would rather do their taxes than keep their appointment. But they have been busy making huge strides in order to calm those fears. It is called sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry is the way your dentist relaxes you enough to handle the dental procedure through the use of medication. There are various levels that you can be sedated, from minimal sedation to general anesthesia. What you receive will depend on your fear and the recommendation made by your dentist. This option will be above and beyond the numbing agent applied to the area that will be worked on. This will alleviate any pain caused by the procedure. The idea is to make you as comfortable as possible as they do their job and to make recovery time minimal. And there are many ways for this to be achieved.
If you don’t need much to relax you, chances are you will receive nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. It is given to you as you breathe through a mask, so zero pain or needles are involved. Because it is not a long-lasting option, you will be cleared to drive home afterwards.
If you need to be calmed with more than a little gas, the next step up is an oral sedative so no pain or needles are involved. Similar to a valium, the pill should be taken about an hour before your procedure so it has time to take effect. It will make a patient groggy, but you will be awake during the procedure. It is also possible to be sedated via an IV. It takes affect a lot quicker but the dentist also has the ability to adjust the amount as needed, which is a benefit for those that are more nervous than others.
For more invasive procedures, a deeper sedation will definitely be required. Administered by medications prior to your procedure, this deep sedation method will render you unconscious and unable to be awakened easily. General anesthesia is similar in that you will need it to wear off in order to be awakened because you will be in a very deep sleep.
Discussing your options with your dental professional before any procedure is important. Not only do they know which method will be best for you and your fears while in their care, but they will walk you through everything to rest your fears. Mention any medical history or vital information. Find out the risks. Find out how much experience they have had with your procedure. The more you know, the better you will feel when it’s time to get things done.
If you would like more information on dental anxiety, contact Aesthetic Advantage at 212-794-3552 or visit www.aestheticadvantage.com for more information.
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