Are you so afraid of going to the dentist that you won’t even go in for a cleaning? Don’t worry. You aren’t alone. Many people have similar fears.
Dr. Talib Salim Ali and the team at Avatar Dental Care want patients to get past their dental anxiety so that they can have the excellent oral health they deserve. Sedation dentistry, and new technology called DentalVibe®, can help.
Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to help patients relax. Sedation dentistry isn’t just used for major oral surgery procedures. It can be used for patients who are anxious about just being in the dental chair. It can help patients who have a fear of needles, who have a low pain threshold or who have a bad gag reflex.
Dentists use different kinds of sedation, ranging from sedation that will let the patient remain awake but relaxed to sedation where the patient is unconscious. Sedation medication can be given in the form of a pill, a liquid, a gas, or through an IV.
IV sedation is used for moderate sedation. The patient is awake but very relaxed and even drowsy. “IV” stands for “intravenous,” which means that the sedation drugs are administered into the bloodstream using a needle inserted into a vein.
Although many patients aren’t fond of needles, IV sedation does have some advantages. It begins to work very quickly, and the dentist can easily adjust the level of sedation if he needs to that.
Nitrous oxide combined with oxygen (known as laughing gas) is used for minimal sedation, meaning it relaxes the patient but lets them stay awake. If the patient needs to drive themselves home after the procedure, the dentist might suggest laughing gas for sedation because he or she will be alert and awake very soon after the gas is turned off.
If the patient needs moderate sedation where he or she is awake but very relaxed, IV medication is a possibility. However, moderate sedation can be given with a pill or a liquid, taken an hour before the procedure.
Deep sedation is also an option. Medication is given that makes the patient almost or completely unconscious throughout the procedure. When the procedure is over, the patient won’t easily be awakened until the effects wear off.
No matter what kind of sedation you and your dentist choose, you will receive a local anesthetic to numb the part of the mouth where the work is being done.
If you are afraid of dental injections, there is another option besides sedation dentistry. Dr. Ali uses DentalVibe®, a handheld device that massages the gums during injections, reducing pain and fear for the patient. DentalVibe® is gentle and safe, and it doesn’t require pills or other medication. The patient is not drowsy after DentalVibe® is used, either!
Sedation dentistry is considered to be very safe, and most people never experience any bad side effects. However, as with any type of procedure, you should heed these warnings.
IV sedation may cause grogginess and even nausea for a few hours after the procedure. Laughing gas can cause constipation and minor nausea. Sedation medication taken orally can cause headache, dry mouth, dizziness and lightheadedness.
If you are concerned about possible side effects of sedation dentistry, you can talk with Dr. Ali or speak with your physician. If you are obese or have a condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea, you should speak with your doctor before your dental procedure because patients with these conditions are more likely to have complications with anesthesia.
For most patients, the benefits of sedation dentistry far outweigh the risks. For someone who is terrified of going to the dentist, being under sedation can make a dental procedure seem a lot less scary!
Sedation can make it a lot easier to have a lot of dental work done at once. If you are sedated it is much easier to have your teeth taken care of in one visit instead of having to spread it out across many appointments.
Another benefit of sedation dentistry is that it gives patients the opportunity to have pain-free procedures, which means it is more likely patients will go to the dentist when they need to go, which means better oral health and better health in general.
The cost of sedation dentistry depends on which type of sedation the patient needs. Avatar Dental Care accepts many types of insurance, and our staff would be happy to check with your insurance company to see if sedation dentistry is covered under your plan.
At Avatar Dental Care, we want our patients to be comfortable and relaxed. If you haven’t been to the dentist in awhile out of fear, we want to help! We not only have a caring staff, but also we can discuss with you the different sedation dentistry options, and help you decide the one is best for you.
You don’t have to be afraid of the dentist anymore! Call Avatar Dental Care today at (571) 577-8457.