Let Sedation Dentistry Take Your Anxiety Away

Millions of people are afraid to go to the dentist. Anxiety about dental visits can be devastating because it prevents those who need it the most from receiving the dental care they need. Sedation dentistry could be the answer those people have been searching for. For a run-down of the types of sedation available and what to expect, read on.

Local Anesthetics

Novocaine is seldom used because some people are allergic to it. Lidocaine is like Novocaine but safer. The drug lidocaine is usually mixed with other substances that make it last longer. Your dentist will apply a numbing gel to the area before they inject the lidocaine. You won't feel anything but the medication as it stings very slightly as it spreads throughout the area being numbed. This type of anesthesia lasts a long time, usually several hours. You can still feel pressure from a procedure but no pain or discomfort. In some cases, your dentist will use lidocaine along with other forms of sedation or just on its own.

Nitrous Oxide

Known as laughing gas, this gas is administered through a mask worn over the nose and mouth. Patients usually fall into a pleasant dream-like state, but they are not actually asleep. The nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen during the administration and the mixture is monitored constantly. This form of anesthesia is great for those with dental anxiety because it gives you relief throughout the entire visit.

It also works well for those who gag easily and hate the feeling of instruments in their mouth. Once the procedure is over, the dentist will gradually replace nitrous oxide with greater amounts of oxygen to purge the drug from your system.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation Dentistry

This anesthesia choice involves using an IV tube to place medication directly into the vein. You are not asleep with IV sedation, just relaxed and unaware of what the dentist is doing. You can still follow commands and won't need oxygen since you will be breathing on your own. Most patients have no memory of their experience at the dentist after using IV sedation.

General Anesthesia

You are completely asleep with this form of anesthesia. You won't be conscious and won't remember anything about the procedure after you begin counting backward from 100. Special staff must be on hand to administer and monitor you while using general anesthesia. In most cases, this type of anesthesia is used only for long and involved surgeries. It's also recommended for patients that are uncooperative, very young, mentally ill, or who have had issues with other types of anesthesia wearing off too soon.

To figure out the best sedation for you, speak to a dentist about your dental anxiety.