Modern dentistry can do wonders for your oral health and enhance the health and beauty of your smile. However, fear of dental treatment prevents some people from taking advantage of these benefits. If you are one of those who have dental anxiety, you can rest assured that you can have a relaxed and comfortable experience. This can be achieved by using local anesthetics to block pain combined with oral medication to help you relax. Sometimes, both methods are necessary, especially if you are highly anxious about dental procedures or have had negative dental experiences in the past.
When you are fearful of dental treatment, your sensitivity to pain increases, and your defenses go up. Even the sound of dental instruments can be overwhelming. If this is your experience, sedatives combined with noise-canceling earphones may be recommended to help you feel more relaxed during your visit.
Before recommending any particular sedative, your dentist will ask you for a complete health history, including any medications you are taking, both prescription and over-the-counter. It’s also important to know if you smoke or drink alcohol. If you are sedated, on the day of your treatment, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment and stay with you after since some medications take time to wear off.
Oral sedation is a popular option for people who experience anxiety or fear during dental treatment, and it is particularly appealing because it does not require needles. Oral sedatives can be taken in pill form or dissolved under the tongue and work quickly to relax the patient. A range of sedative and anxiety-dissolving medications have been developed and tested to provide a comfortable and relaxing dental experience. These medications have a long history of safe use, and some even have properties that cause amnesia, so patients remember little to nothing of the procedure, even though they are conscious throughout.
Another option for conscious sedation is inhalation sedation, which involves inhaling nitrous oxide. This sedative has been used in dental offices for almost a century and is primarily an anti-anxiety medication rather than a pain reliever. The nitrous oxide is administered through a nasal hood that is placed over the patient’s nose, which creates a relaxed euphoric feeling. The sedative wears off quickly, so there is no lingering “hangover” effect. Nitrous oxide is considered very safe for use during dental procedures. Ask your dentist if Nitrous oxide is right for you.