Does the thought of visiting a dentist for a dental treatment make your body tense with fear? Would you rather bear the pain and discomfort of a dental problem than visit a dental professional for treatment? You’re not alone!
Many people are so afraid of the dentist that they skip their dental appointments or prefer not to get a potentially life-changing dental treatment. Thankfully, our sedation dentistry in Arnold, MO, can give you peace of mind and relieve your anxiety during your dental appointment. In this post, we explain everything you need to know about sedation dentistry and answer some FAQs to help you decide if it is right for you.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry involves different kinds of sedatives, or relaxants, being administered to patients during a dental appointment to keep them calm and comfortable while they undergo treatment. These medications are highly beneficial for people who need a lengthy dental surgery or for those struggling with dental fear and anxiety.
One of the best parts of sedation dentistry is that you can typically choose your sedation level. For example, with oral sedation, you will be awake but feel comfortable and at ease during the procedure.
Meanwhile, with IV sedation – also called “twilight sleep” – you may drift in and out of consciousness, but you will still feel relaxed if you stay awake. This is because IV sedation creates a state of short-term forgetfulness (amnesia) where you’re conscious of your surroundings but numb to pain.
Who Needs Sedation Dentistry?
Anyone can benefit from our sedation dentistry regardless of their age. Although our Arnold, MO dentist, Dr. Azaryas Mandefro, does not perform the sedation procedure himself, he and his knowledgeable dental team often recommend this option for people with:
- Dental anxiety
- Aichmophobia (fear of needles)
- A strong gag reflex
- Sensitive teeth
- A need for multiple dental procedures
- Low sensitivity to local anesthesia
- A low pain threshold
- Difficulty controlling their movements
- Claustrophobic feelings while sitting in a dental chair
- Special needs (including behavioral, cognitive, or physical)
What Types of Dental Sedation are Used for Dentistry
The level of sedation dentistry that is right for you varies based on your unique needs and factors such as personal preferences, health history, and procedure length. The most common types of sedation options offered by modern dentistry include:
Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a low level of sedation that helps you relax. With this method, your dental professional will place a nosepiece or mask over your face, and you will inhale the nitrous oxide gas. Patients usually notice the effects of the sedation within 3 to 5 minutes.
Your sedation dentist can adjust or control the dosage throughout your dental procedure. Once treatment is complete, your dentist will flush the gas out of your system using pure oxygen. Since nitrous oxide wears off quickly, you might be able to drive yourself home after your dental procedure.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral sedation ranges from minimal to moderate, depending on the prescribed amount. For minimal sedation, your dentist will give you a pill that you’ll need to take about an hour before your dental treatment.
Your sedation dentist can administer a larger dose for moderate sedation if the situation requires it. With this type of sedation medication, you may feel drowsy and fall asleep. However, you’ll be easily awakened with a gentle nudge and able to communicate with your dentist when necessary.
Oral conscious sedation can affect your motor skills and memory. With this type of sedation, we recommend asking a family member or friend to drive you home after your dental treatment.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
With this sedation method, you’ll receive the sedative medication directly into your bloodstream through an IV line. This allows it to work faster than other dental sedation methods. In addition, your dental professional will monitor your oxygen levels, blood pressure, and heart rate during your dental procedure and adjust your dosage or use reversal medications if necessary.
IV sedation dentistry is best for people undergoing lengthy dental procedures or those with severe dental anxiety. Most people who receive this type of sedation fall asleep and do not remember undergoing a dental procedure when they wake up.
This sedation medication will render you unconscious (deeply asleep) or almost unconscious during your treatment. When you’re under this type of sedation, you will likely not wake up until the anesthesia’s effects wear off or are reversed with another medicine.
What To Expect With Sedation Dentistry
Our dental professional will discuss your sedation options and health history during your initial consultation. We’ll also ask about any supplements or medications you’re taking so we can recommend the right type of sedation for your needs.
At your second appointment, your dentist will sedate you before treating your dental problems. You may also receive a local anesthetic to numb your gums and teeth. Typically, this is done after the sedatives kick in and you feel comfortable.
After completing the treatment, your dentist will reverse the effects of the sedative. However, in many cases, you’ll need a trusted family member or friend to drive you home. After you get home, it’s important to rest and allow the sedative to wear off completely before operating any heavy machinery or continuing your daily activities.
Important: It’s best to avoid using a taxi or ride-sharing service to get home after sedation dentistry. Instead, you should ask a familiar and trusted person to drive you home so they can make sure you’re resting comfortably and safely before they leave.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Dental Sedation?
Sedation dentistry eases dental phobias and anxieties and keeps you comfortable and calm during a dental procedure. Moreover, dentists work faster when you’re sedated, so you can get more work done with fewer dental appointments.
Finally, with sedation dentistry, you won’t have to worry about fear preventing you from going to your dental treatment and allowing your condition to worsen. Instead, you will feel comfortable and relaxed regardless of the type of dental care you need.
Sedation dentistry is safe when administered by a trained and licensed dental professional. However, it has a few side effects and does slightly increase your risk of complications, such as:
- Bruising from the IV
- Nausea and vomiting
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Lingering drowsiness
Child sedation dentistry side effects can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lingering drowsiness
However, these side effects are short-lived and should go away in a day or two. Dental sedation rarely causes allergic reactions. If this happens, our sedation dentist can prescribe medications to counteract the issue. Contact your dentist if you experience prolonged numbness after dental work or have specific concerns or questions.
How Long Does It Take for Dental Anesthesia to Wear Off?
The recovery times for dental sedation vary depending on the type of sedation you choose, the amount administered, and how you respond to the medication. Nitrous oxide typically wears off within 15 to 30 minutes, so you can drive yourself home and return to your daily activities after your dental appointment.
It typically takes about 24 hours to recover fully from IV and oral conscious sedation, so you’ll need to wait to return to normal activities.
We Offer the Best Sedation Dentistry in Arnold, MO
Are you scared of the dentist but need treatment? We’ve got the solution you need!
We offer safe and affordable sedation dentistry in Arnold, MO, to keep you calm and relaxed during your dental appointment. Dr. Azaryas Mandefro and his friendly dental team want you to know that making you feel safe and comfortable is our top priority. You no longer need to hide your dental concerns, delay your treatments, or dread visiting your dentist and risk developing a full-blown dental issue that can wreak havoc on your smile.
Contact us or schedule an appointment today to get your oral health back on track and be free from fear and pain.