Do you feel a sense of dread when you think about having general dentistry work done? Even if it's only a routine cavity filling at your general dentistry provider, you may be feeling anxiety about the tooth drilling and the installation of the filling. Fortunately, today's sedation dentistry procedures have become quite advanced, which means you have nothing to fear. Keep reading to learn about three types of sedation that may help you combat your dental dread.
Nitrous Oxide is the most often used type of dental sedation today. Nitrous Oxide is administered in gas form. Patients place a mask over their nose and mouth and breathe in a mix of Nitrous Oxide and oxygen to help them relax before dental work begins.
In the first two to three minutes after you inhale Nitrous Oxide, you will start to relax, and you may start to feel euphoric as well. Nitrous Oxide is effective as an anesthetic, and will generally prevent you from feeling pain during the dental procedure. You may even fall asleep briefly and wake up with no memory of the dental procedure.
Oral Prescription Medication
Some dentists give patients prescription pills to combat anxiety. These pills are normally administered in the general dentistry provider's office, and only one dosage is typically required to aid in relaxation and anxiety reduction.
These oral medications are usually benzodiazepine family drugs, which are often prescribed to fight anxiety and panic attacks. Benzodiazepines that are often used for sedation dentistry include Xanax, Valium, and Halcion.
Although it varies by patient, the medication will usually start to work within an hour. After you feel relaxed, the dentist can start the procedure. Some people fall asleep briefly due to the medication, but you may instead enter into a very light dozing state. You will be aware of what is going on around you, but you won't feel stressed or frightened about it.
For people with extreme dental anxiety, dentists may recommend intravenous medication during the procedure. This medication will be delivered straight into the bloodstream via a needle. Intravenous medications may be considerably stronger than oral ones, because the intravenous drugs may be combination medications.
For example, you may be given a mix of Valium and Demerol. The Valium helps you relax fully, while the Demerol is a narcotic painkiller that will prevent pain during the procedure.
You may fall asleep during the procedure, but dozing lightly is common as well. The intravenous drugs, like the oral medication, allow you to be aware of what's going on while being calm about it.
No matter which of the above sedatives you choose, you should talk to your general dentistry provider about exactly what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. The more you know, the better you will be able to combat that dental dread!