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The Role of Sedation Dentistry in Anxiety Management for Patients

It has happened to most dental patients that they felt anxious before sitting in the dentist’s chair or had butterflies only thinking about the dental probe and sharp dental appliances entering their mouths. While it is absolutely fine to feel anxious, some patients cannot handle their anxiety levels, merely thinking about dental visits; they lose sleep, faint before entering the dentist’s office, or have their family pushing them to get the much-needed treatment.

If you can relate to the above scenarios, this blog is for you. In this guide, you will learn about the role of dental sedation in anxiety management for patients.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a part of dental practice that aims to help patients manage and overcome their fear, anxiety, and pain that results from impending dental visits. The root of this problem lies in the rumor, which is well-spread, that dental visits hurt. While some people can bear the pain, others feel anxious by its mere thought. 

For such patients, dental sedation drugs are used. It is a common practice in dentistry because approx. 12% of people in the US have extreme dental fear, while 36% fear dental treatment. You will be amazed that 3% of the population never visits dentists.  

These facts are scary because it makes up 50% of the population. But it has caused sedation dentistry to become quite popular.

Types of Dental Sedation Drugs

 Different patients have different anxiety levels, and thus, different dental sedation drugs are used. The common sedation drugs used are discussed here:

Nitrous Oxide

Yes, you guessed it right. It is the laughing gas. It is widely used in dentistry to help patients relax. Your dentist monitors the amount of nitrous oxide you need based on your anxiety levels. For the past 150 years, it has proved to be very effective.

When is Nitrous Oxide Used? 

It works effectively for patients who feel anxious and have a profound gag reflex during dental visits.

How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

During your dental treatment, nitrous oxide is administered in combination with oxygen. A nosepiece or mask is fixed on your nose, and you can breathe normally. Within 3-5 minutes, you start to relax. It should be noted that you don’t lose consciousness. You feel calm and can undergo dental treatment without anxiety. 

Later, pure oxygen is used for flushing the gas out of your system, making you feel normal.

Oral Conscious Sedation

You need oral conscious sedation if the mere thought of visiting the dentist makes you feel cold, stressed, and anxious and causes knots in your stomach. Many patients out there feel such extreme anxiety that their treatment is impossible. That’s when oral conscious sedation is helpful. 

When is Oral Conscious Sedation Used?

It is used to help relax patients who feel insomniac before their dental visits. It might seem exaggerated, but some patients cannot bear to enter dentistry.

 Often times, when patients make it to the dentist’s chair, their anxiety is too much, and even nitrous oxide does not help. 

How Does Oral Conscious Sedation Work?

There are some known drugs, such as Benzodiazepine, triazolam, diazepam, alprazolam, etc., which are known as oral conscious sedation drugs. Your dentist will prescribe you one of these. You must take it before visiting your dentist. Combined with nitrous oxide, it can help you relax and undergo dental treatment.

Intravenous Sedation (IV)

It is not a very popular form of dental sedation as it is only administered in the worst cases. Though, it is available in most dental offices. The sedation is administered through an intravenous line directly in your bloodstream. Your dentist monitors your oxygen levels, blood pressure, heart rate, etc., and can reverse the medication if required.

The patient falls asleep with IV sedation and loses memory of the procedure.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

Yes, it is 100% safe and allows you to maintain your dental health, despite having severe anxiety. Some patients might experience mild headaches, nausea, and drowsiness, but it wears off quickly. 

Besides, your dentist will discuss the process before administering the drugs so you can be assured. If you have any questions, you can always ask your dentist.

Sedation Dentistry in Chandler

Peace of Mind Dental Studio, Chandler, AZ, is known for the best dental practices around the town. Our staff prioritizes your comfort. Thus, we offer sedation dentistry, so you can undergo dental treatments without feeling anxiety or fear. Our dentist will answer all your questions and make your visit as pleasant and comfortable as possible. For any more queries, contact us now! 

Written by Dr. Silverman

Dr. Silverman is the co-founder of Peace of Mind Dental, a Chandler Arizona, general dentistry practice.