Being afraid of the dentist is one of the most common fears. It is estimated to affect around 70% of the population to varying degrees. For some people, it is something that makes them feel nervous when they visit a dental practice. For others, the fear factor is such that patients do anything to postpone or avoid a dental visit. Unfortunately, you can’t ignore your dental health as it plays a significant role in your everyday life. Poor dental health could have dramatic consequences, ranging from tooth loss to more serious issues if your dental infection were to spread out.
Thankfully, more and more dentists are familiar with dental phobia and trained to help their patients overcome their fears. More importantly, if you inform your dentist ahead of your appointment, you will be surprised to find that the team can adapt to most of your needs. There is already a lot of support available in dental practices to support nervous and anxious patients, such as friendly dental nurses, patient, and informative communication all the way through, positive attitude and efforts to establish a trust relationship. Additionally, you can also ask for sedation dentistry to alleviate your anxiety.
What does sedation dentistry do?
In essence, sedation dentistry is about providing varying levels of sedation to help people who are afraid of going to the dentist. It is designed to act not only as anxiety relief, but it also ensures you can get your dental checks done without affecting your lifestyle or mental health. The process allows dental practices to use medication to induce a relaxing state for their nervous, anxious, or uncooperative patients. You might even have come across the term ‘sleep dentistry’ as a definition. Technically speaking, sedation dentistry is not synonymous with general anesthesia. Your dentist can offer a range of sedation methods to support your needs.
It’s also important to understand that sedation dentistry doesn’t replace numbing medication. It comes as an additional medication procedure to relieve stress levels.
What are the sedation dentistry levels?
Dentists can provide a range of sedation options to address your anxiety levels. For patients who are slightly uncomfortable or nervous about having dental work done, your dentist can use minimal sedation dentistry, which helps you feel more relaxed without affecting your consciousness. People who find it difficult to cooperate and might have involuntarily fear reactions such as tensing or a gag reflex can ask for moderate sedation dentistry. While you remain conscious during the procedure, you’re unlikely to remember it. Deep sedation is the next level for difficult patients and extreme anxiety. Finally, your dentist can also recommend general anesthesia to render you unconscious if your phobia is too severe. Typically, you will discuss options with your dentist and express your worries and concerns. Dentists will use the information you provided to define the most suitable sedation dentistry solution for your anxiety and your health issues.
How does sedation dentistry work?
As medicated sedation goes, there is more than one way to proceed to sedation dentistry. Once again, your dentist will explain the options that are available at your local practice and help you choose the most appropriate solution.
Patients who only require minimal sedation dentistry receive it through inhalation. If you’ve heard of ‘laughing gas’ at the dentist, this is the nitrous oxide used for minimal sedation. The gas helps you relax. You breathe through a mask that combines nitrous oxide and oxygen.
Oral sedation is used for both minimal and moderate sedation dentistry. You ultimately get a pill, commonly form the same family as Valium, to help you relax. The dose is adapted to the level of sedation dentistry you require. It’s not uncommon for patients who receive a large dose to feel groggy and even fall asleep.
The method that offers the greatest control to the dentist is IV sedation, which is when you receive the drug through a vein.
Finally, deep sedation provides medication that makes you unconscious.
How long does sedation last?
Sedation dentistry can interfere with your schedule. Some sedation methods are effective almost immediately, such as the ‘laughing gas’ or IV sedation. However, they don’t always wear off rapidly. Nitrous oxide is the only type of sedation dentistry that can let patients drive themselves home afterward because its effects dissipate quickly. However, not everyone is fit enough to drive safely after the procedure. For other sedation types, from taking a pill to using IV sedation, even though you are never physically knocked out, you will not be able to go back to your day-to-day routine without a little grogginess. Driving is not an option, and intense mental work can be difficult.
As for general anesthesia, patients can only wake up when the effects of the anesthesia wear off, either naturally or with medication, which means you will not be able to carry on as normal with your day.
Can I have sedation dentistry?
If you feel you require sedation dentistry to alleviate your stress, you need to discuss the most suitable options with your dentist. As a rule of thumb, sedation dentistry is highly effective in the following situations:
- Your fear affects your behavior or your health routine
- You have a low pain threshold and are more likely to react to touch
- You have hypersensitive teeth
- You can’t control your gag reflex
- You need a lot of dental work
- You refuse to cooperate
Sedation methods are sometimes used to help children relax in the dental practice.
However, obese patients or people who have sleep apnea may be at risk of developing complications for deep sedation dentistry.
Can my dentist give me any type of sedation?
Unfortunately, not all dentists are trained to provide sedation dentistry. The majority of dentists can offer minimal sedation options. More and more dentists are also adding moderate sedation methods to their practice. However, deep sedation dentistry and general anesthesia require professional accreditations and training, which is why it’s not an option you can find everywhere. In some cases, your dentist might have to call an expert anesthetist for the day.
What is the cost of sedation dentistry in Sugar Land, TX?
Prices can vary based on the type of Sedation method that you choose. Below is a chart of the costs of sedation options in the Sugar Land, TX area:
|Method Of Sedation||Average Cost||Price Range|
|Laughing Gas (N2O)||$75||$50-$100|
Will Dental Insurance cover sedation dentistry?
Most dental insurance carriers will help pay for a portion of your dental sedation treatment. Each plan is different, and the percentage covered will vary. At Best Dental, our insurance specialists will verify your benefits and let you know the costs at your complimentary dental appointment.
Fear of the dentist is nothing to be ashamed of. But rather than letting it affect your dental care, you can discuss it with your dentist to find out how sedation dentistry can change your life for the better.