There’s nothing wrong or unusual about being afraid of the dentist chair. And if you do suffer from dentophobia or the fear of dentists resulting in marked and persistent anxiety, you’re not alone – about one in seven people are highly anxious about undergoing dental treatment.
But fear is only an issue if you let it affect your behavior. Today, many dental professionals have started to offer sedation dentistry as a service to encourage patients to be more relaxed or willing to come into the office. And while not a cure for dentophobia, sedation dentistry can undoubtedly make the process of going to the dentist much more achievable.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
For patients with strong dentophobia, sedation dentistry can make a trip to the dentist significantly more comfortable. Using various medications, a dentist will sedate the patient to one of three levels, depending on the severity of one’s dentophobia and the length and intensity of the procedure being performed.
For many procedures, minimal sedation is adequate. Under minimal sedation, the patient remains awake but is highly relaxed. This is attained either by taking a pill (usually Halcion, a member of the Valium family), about an hour before the procedure. Minimal sedation can also be achieved by breathing nitrous oxide, or ‘laughing gas,’ which wears off quickly.
In deep sedation, a larger dose of oral medication is administered before a procedure. Under moderate sedation, the patient may become drowsy enough to fall asleep, although can typically will wake up with a shoulder shake.
In cases of patients with profound dentophobia, particularly in cases which longer procedures are needed, deep sedation may be in order. After receiving medication, a patient placed in deep sedation will be nearly unconscious, or completely unconscious. The patient will remain groggy and will require supervision for some time until the medication completely wears off.c
Who Will Likely Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is not usually recommended for those with only a casual or moderate unease about the dentist office. Instead, it is more suitable for those of us with significant anxiety or deep fear that can otherwise prevent you from even coming. However, sedation dentistry is also useful for those with:
- Severe gag reflex
- Difficulty remaining still for long periods
- Highly sensitive teeth
- Those needing extensive dental work
- Anyone with very low pain tolerance
- Experiences chronic jaw pain
Am I a Good Candidate?
While dental sedation is by and large considered a safe treatment, some conditions and situations will disqualify you as a good candidate. The decision should always begin with a conversation with your dentist, but sedation may not be an option if the patient:
- Is pregnant
- Suffers from sleep apnea
- Is taking other medications or vitamins
- Is particularly young or elderly
- Suffers from respiratory disease or chronic bronchitis
Schedule a Sedation Evaluation with Dr. Lordo Today
At Dr. Lordo’s office, your confidence and comfort are of the utmost concern. Dr. Lordo offers three levels of sedation dentistry to meet your needs best. To schedule your sedation evaluation or to learn more about our office and what we offer, make an appointment online or call us at 614-885-4754.