Options to Overcome Dental Phobia
So many of us have severe dental phobia. The word dentist makes our teeth cringe as we imagine the sound of their instruments as they are drilling into our teeth. Working in our mouth, using long needles to get us numb, and using a high-sounding drill is not exactly a walk in the park nor is it a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, it is one of those things that we all must do on a yearly basis. But are there ways to overcome our fear of the dentist? One of the many new services that many dentists are offering is sedation dentistry. Whether its sedation to remove your wisdom teeth, or sedation for a simple cleaning, dentists are offering up new ways to make your dental appointment a lot smoother.
Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide works by inhaling a combination of oxygen and nitrogen gases to promote a more pleasant and relaxing experience at your dentist. A nose piece of placed on your face and you begin to inhale the gases that it emits. After a few minutes, you begin to feel relaxed and tingly and are able to tackle any procedure with a more relaxed composure. After the procedure is completed, you will inhale oxygen for 5-10 minutes to help remove the nitrogen particles that have built up inside your body.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral sedation is another very common method to help you relax for your dental procedure. There are two main medications that are prescribed by your dentist to help overcome your anxiety: either Valium or Halcyon. Both medications are from the same family of drugs, but they both work very well in achieving the same result: relaxation during your dental treatment. Valium and Halcyon are both given the night before and one hour prior to your dental appointment. You will need someone to drive you back home because you will still be sedated after your dental procedure is completed.
This method is the gold-standard in dental sedation options because it will allow you to sleep though your dental procedure. An IV catheter is placed in your arm, and IV fluid along with medications are given to help you relax and sleep through your dental procedure. The great thing about IV sedation is that you won't recall any of the events of your procedure, which makes the experience "one that you can't remember." Different combinations are drugs are usually given. The most common medications given for IV sedation include Versed, Fentanyl, Propofol, and Ketamine. A few or all these medications will be given in combination to help you sleep throughout your dental procedure. After the procedure, similarly to Oral sedation, someone will need to drive you home and you will need to take the rest of the day off to relax, rest, and recover. No driving is usually permitted for 24 hours after your procedure is completed.
Some guidelines for IV Sedation are given below:
- You cannot eat or drink for 6-8 prior to your procedure
- No smoking for 24 hours prior to your dental procedure
- Wear loose fitting clothes so that your doctor can identify the veins in both your arms
- Contact lenses and jewelry must be removed prior to your procedure
- Please remove dentures prior to your procedure
- Do not wear listick, makeup, or nail polish the day of the procedure
- If you have a cold or any stomach issues, please notify your dentist prior to your procedure
If you follow these instructions, you should have no problem through your IV Sedation procedure. As you can see, dentists are using multiple techniques and methods to help their patients relax during the procedure. Just make sure to pick the best dentist in your area, and let all your dental fears go.