One of the reasons people avoid going to the dentist is dental anxiety. Some people have a natural fear of going to the dentist because they believe it will be a painful experience.
In fact, studies have shown that dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias in the US and UK, affecting approximately 36% of the population, with a further 12% suffering from extreme dental fear. It is characterized by real fear and anxiety toward the dentist and dental treatment.
While a tendency to be scared of visiting the dentist is common among some people, it can result in delaying or avoiding necessary dental care and treatment leading to serious damage.
Sedation dentistry is an option that uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It's sometimes referred to as "sleep dentistry."
Sadly, there is a misconception that sedation dentistry is somewhat of a 'last resort.' But in reality, it's a fantastic solution for patients, particularly those who have dental anxiety.
How Sedation Dentistry Works
Sedation dentistry can help reduce your fear of dental procedures by making dental treatments painless and more comfortable for patients. It uses medication to help relax patients during dental procedures.
There are different types of sedation available, including oral sedation, laughing gas, and IV sedation. Your dentist will work with you to choose the best option based on your medical history, anxiety level, the procedure you’ll have, and other factors.
According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the three main levels of sedation are:
- Minimal – Minimal sedation will help you relax, but you will likely be awake. You’ll understand questions your doctor is asking and be able to answer as well as follow directions. This level of sedation is typically used when your doctor needs you to be involved in the procedure.
- Moderate – You will feel drowsy and may even fall asleep during the procedure. You may or may not remember some of the procedure.
- Deep – You won’t actually be unconscious, but you’ll sleep through the procedure and probably will have little or no memory of it.
Why Choose Sedation Dentistry?
Some of the main reasons why sedation dentistry is an excellent solution for people and you should consider it are:
1. It Helps Your Appointment Go by Faster
One of the reasons to consider sedation dentistry is that it will make your appointments go by faster. Sedation dentistry might help if you have a long operation ahead of you, and each second makes you feel less and less comfortable.
With oral sedation, you will feel really comfortable and calm. You might even doze off for a bit. You'll wake up, and your appointment will be finished before you know it.
Doctors can work faster in your mouth since they don't need to pause to give you a break because you're comfortable. This will accelerate the completion of your treatment.
2. It Can Help You Get More Than One Procedure Done in One Sitting
Another great things about sedation dentistry is that it can allow you to get more than one procedure done in a single sitting. This can be a huge time saver, especially if you travel long distances to see your dentist.
It also means that you won’t have to take multiple days off from work or school for your dental appointments. You can also save time and money by having more than one procedure done in a single visit.
For example, if you need a filling and a cleaning, you can do both simultaneously with appropriate sedation dentistry.
3. It Helps to Relax Involuntary Gag Reflexes
Some patients have an extremely active gag reflex, which is an involuntary reflex of the throat that happens when something touches the roof of the mouth, back of the tongue or throat, or the area around your tonsils. This reflexive action helps to prevent choking.
While a normal, healthy response, the gag reflex can make dental operations challenging. It may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and retching when triggered. This reaction can also triggered by specific odours that irritate the back of your throat.
Sedation dentistry will relax your gag reflex so your dental procedure can go on smoothly.
4. It Helps With Pain Suppression
Sedation dentistry can help people who fear going to the dentist by suppressing dental pain. This means you can get the treatment you need without experiencing any pain.
Sedation dentistry can be used for various procedures, including fillings, extractions, and root canals. It is especially beneficial for people who fear needles or have strong gag reflexes.
The sedative medication helps you to relax and feel comfortable during the procedure.
5. It Makes Sitting Still a Breeze
Apart from relieving your anxiety levels, sedation dentistry can also help you sit still for extended durations if sitting still is difficult for you due to a medical condition or significant discomfort or pain in your body.
After the sedative is administered, you will feel relaxed and can sit comfortably for the length of your treatment, with no need to get up or move around.
6. It Relieves Sensitive Teeth and Gums
Some people endure severe pain when having their teeth drilled or inserting a needle. If you find this unpleasant and uncomfortable, sedation dentistry can be the way to go. You will not feel the pain or discomfort of having a tooth drilled while you are sedated.
Nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and general anaesthesia are all forms of sedation dentistry.
7. It Improves Your Oral Health and Overall Quality of Life
To maintain optimal oral health, you must visit the dentist at least once every six months for regular dental check-ups. If you avoid going to the dentist, it might harm not only your dental health, but also your general quality of life due to the pain and discomfort of dental issues.
So, if you have significant anxiety every time you think of visiting the dentist, your dental health and quality of life may suffer as you may avoid going to the dentist altogether and dental health problems may eventual occur.
However, with sedation dentistry, you no longer have to worry about dental discomfort or anxiety. Sedation will help you relax, and you will have a better experience with the dentist. No more sleepless nights and constantly being concerned about your future appointment.