Going to the dentist can be anxiety-inducing for a lot of people. Even routine check-ups and cleanings can make people feel nervous before they even arrive at the dentist’s office. For some folks, these feelings can be so intense that they avoid going to their biannual checkup altogether — putting their oral health at risk.
Fortunately, sedation dentistry is an increasingly common option that can make dental visits more comfortable and less stressful. Learn how sedation dentistry works, what to expect when you opt for “sleep” dentistry, and what the major benefits are so you can decide whether to try sedation dentistry at your next visit!
How sedation dentistry works
Sedation dentistry — also known as sleep dentistry — is a type of dental treatment that involves the use of sedative medications to help patients relax during their procedures. The level of sedation can vary depending on the patient’s needs, from minimal sedation (where the patient is awake but relaxed) to deep sedation (where the patient is almost asleep).
When you opt for sedation dentistry, here’s what you can expect when visiting your dentist:
Step One: Choose the right form of sedation together
Before the procedure, your dentist will conduct a thorough evaluation of the patient’s medical history to determine the best type of sedation for the patient.
Your dentist can use nitrous oxide (also known as “laughing gas”), which is delivered through a mask. You remain in a calm and conscious state of mind during the visit. As soon as the mask is removed, the Nitrous Oxide wears off and you can quickly resume normal activity. Alternatively, sometimes your dentist will recommend oral sedation. This kind of sedation is provided as oral medication you take an hour before your appointment. Because this kind of sedation lasts longer than Nitrous oxide, you cannot drive after your appointment.
Step Two: Prep for your visit
After determining the best type of sedation for your visit, your dentist will explain the procedure, the type of sedation that will be used, and any preparation instructions.
Step Three: Have an anxiety-free dentist appointment
During the procedure, you’ll be closely monitored for safety and comfort. The sedative medication will be administered orally or inhaled through a mask. Your dentist will complete the necessary dental work while you’re in a relaxed state.
Step Four: Make post-appointment arrangements (as needed)
After the procedure or checkup, depending on the type of sedation used, you may need to have someone else drive you home.
7 Major Benefits of Using Sleep Dentistry
Sedation dentistry can be beneficial for a wide range of patients, including people who experience dental anxiety, fear, or phobia, those who have a sensitive gag reflex, those with physical limitations that make it difficult to sit still, and those undergoing lengthy or complex dental procedures. If you fit into one of those categories, consider the following benefits of sedation dentistry:
- Reduced anxiety and fear: Sedation dentistry can help reduce your anxiety and fear associated with dental procedures. If you’re anxious or fearful about dental visits, sleep dentistry can make your experience more comfortable and less stressful.
- Increased comfort: Sedation dentistry can help you feel more comfortable during dental procedures. Sedation can reduce discomfort and stress associated with certain procedures, such as root canals or tooth extractions.
- Better oral health: Sedation dentistry can also help patients who have avoided dental visits due to fear or anxiety receive the necessary dental care. This can lead to improved oral health and overall well-being.
- Time savings: Sedation dentistry allows for longer and more complex dental procedures to be completed in a single visit. This can save you time by reducing the need for multiple appointments.
- Gag reflex control: Sedation dentistry can help to reduce the gag reflex, which can make certain procedures more comfortable and easier to complete.
- Suitable for nearly all patients: Sedation dentistry is suitable for nearly all ages and various medical conditions. It can help people with special needs or medical conditions receive the necessary dental care.
- Positive dental experience: Sedation dentistry can help to create a positive dental experience for you, which can lead to better dental hygiene habits and more regular dental visits in the future.
Give Sedation Dentistry a Try With Ponderosa Dental
Overall, sedation dentistry is a safe and effective option for patients who experience anxiety or discomfort during dental procedures. It is important to discuss the pros and cons with your dentist to determine if it is the right choice for you, so give Missoula’s best dentist, Dr. Dan, a call today! Together, you can determine the best path forward to have a more comfortable and less stressful dental experience. Schedule a visit online today!