Dental fear is estimated to affect up to 36 percent of the population, according to the Medical Principles and Practice journal. Traumatic experiences, news headlines, phobias, and a general fear of the unknown can create anxiety in some patients. Do you know about sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry aims to help calm these fears by helping patients become more relaxed during treatment. At Bonham Dental Arts in Largo, Florida, we offer several sedation options at reasonable costs.
Nitrous oxide is one of the most commonly used forms of dental sedation. This safe, effective, and mild sedative agent is combined with oxygen and inhaled through a mask that fits over the nose. Also referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide helps to manage pain and anxiety during dental treatments.
Despite its name, laughing gas does not generally make a person laugh. However, it does help to slow down the nervous system to make a patient feel less inhibited. While receiving nitrous oxide, a patient may feel tingly, light-headed, or may even have some heaviness in their legs or arms.
Nitrous oxide does not put a patient to sleep and the effects wear off quickly once pure oxygen is delivered through the mask. Patients are still able to understand what is happening and can usually follow any instructions or answer any questions that the dentist asks. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, (AAPD) also considers nitrous to be a safe sedation option for children.
Oral sedation is another common form of dental sedation that can help patients feel calm and relaxed during their treatment. With this method of sedation, a patient is given a prescription sedative to take the night before and the morning of the appointment. Many dentists use a type of Benzodiazepine sedative, such as Xanax, Valium, or Halcion, which decreases activity in the parts of the pain that control fear and anxiety.
There are many advantages to using oral sedation for dental treatments. It is easy to administer as the patient simply needs to swallow a pill before the appointment and show up already in a relaxed state. There are no needles involved which is good news for patients with a fear of needles. Strong doses of Benzodiazepines also cause patients to have little to no memory of the procedure.
Oral sedatives are regulated by the FDA and serious side effects are rare. While on oral sedatives, the patient will feel drowsy but will still be responsive to the dentist’s instructions and questions. However, the patient will need someone to drive them to and from the appointment.
Intravenous (IV) sedation is the administration of an anti-anxiety medication through the blood. Also known as ‘twilight’ dentistry, IV sedation helps a patient feel more relaxed and at peace during a dental treatment. During the procedure, the dentist inserts a thin needle into the patient’s vein in the arm or hand. This needle is connected to a tube that delivers the sedative into the bloodstream.
There are several benefits to IV sedation. The effects of the drug usually arrive quicker than with other sedative options. It does not affect body processes but does help eliminate a person’s ability to feel pain. The patient can still move and breathe on their own. IV sedation creates an amnestic state and most patients have little to no recollection of what happened during the treatment.
Similar to oral sedation, IV sedation generally involves the use of benzodiazepines to reduce fear and anxiety. Depending on the treatment being performed, pain medications like opioids are sometimes added to the IV sedation. Although a patient may not remember the treatment, they are still awake and can respond to the dentist’s questions and requests.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Dentist in Largo, FL
It is not always easy to find a dentist that offers multiple sedation options. At Bonham Dental Arts, we are dedicated to making our patients feel comfortable and cozy, whether it’s with a safe dose of laughing gas or a cozy pillow and blanket. Your dental health and wellness are dependent on your ability to safely and effectively undergo the proper treatment plan for your dental problems. Contact Bonham Dental Arts today to learn more about our sedation services or to schedule an appointment.