When some people think about going to the dentist they’re immediately hit with a wave of nervousness and anxiety. The truth is, it’s quite common to be afraid of the dentist as between 30 and 40 million people report dental fear. At our dental office in Columbia, we want everyone to know that there are ways to overcome this fear through sedation dentistry.
What is Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry, also known as sleep dentistry, is a treatment used by many dentists to help ease stress and relax the mind and body. It’s most appropriate for those with dental anxiety or even during longer appointments that may cause patients to become uncomfortable. While the term ‘sleep dentistry’ may lead people to believe that they will be put to sleep during treatment, oftentimes this isn’t the case.
3 Types of Sedation Dentistry
When your dentist in Columbia talks about sedation dentistry, they aren’t necessarily referring to one specific treatment. There are, in fact a variety of different sedation dentistry options available to patients depending on their needs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of sedation dentistry.
IV Sedation (Intravenous Sedation)
The deepest level of sedation is known as IV sedation. During IV sedation, medication is administered into the body through a needle that’s been inserted into a vein. Since the medicine has a direct route to the bloodstream it takes effect pretty quickly and can last the entire appointment. Sometimes dental offices may bring in an anesthesiologist to perform the treatment. Some potential side effects of IV sedation may include dizziness, tiredness, or nausea. These effect can linger for up to 24 hours after treatment.
If IV sedation isn’t an option or is perhaps too strong for some cases, a dentist may choose an alternative called oral sedation. Oral sedation involves simply taking a small prescription pill a little bit before the appointment. This more mild sedation option will still help patients feel relaxed, but doesn’t typically have the same lingering side effects as IV sedation. Patients will usually stay awake yet remain calm. There’s still a chance of feeling a bit tired as the medication wears off after the appointment. Patients should have a driver available to take them both to and from the appointment.
Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is also a sedation option available at many dental offices and is the lightest form of sedation dentistry. This option allows patients to breathe in a concentrated mixture that will ease nerves and create a relaxed state. The effect vanishes easily and quickly once the nitrous oxide is removed and rarely has many side effects. Sometimes patients will receive oxygen to help reverse the medication.
While we certainly understand that the anxiety often associated with a dental visit is very real, nobody should avoid getting the dental care they need to keep their mouths and bodies healthy because of a fear of the dentist. The best thing you can do is talk with the team at our Columbia dental office about any fears you have. We’ll go out of our way to recommend the best option for you to help keep you relaxed at every appointment