Studies show that somewhere between 9% to 15% of Americans avoid the dentist due to fear of dental treatment. These individuals suffer with painful, infected, discolored, and damaged teeth because something about the experience of seeing a dentist or receiving dental care makes them extremely anxious. When they do finally make an appointment to see their dentist, they dread it all week, and it may be too late to save the tooth that might be hurting at that point.
Sedation dentistry involves using medication to allow for a more relaxing experience for those patients who might otherwise not receive dental care because of dental anxiety or dental phobia. Sometimes also called “relaxation” or “anxiety-free” dentistry, sedation dentistry is now offered by thousands of dentists, including Dr. Christopher Paulson of Arbor Dental Associates in Novi MI.
Is Sedation Dentistry Right For You?
Sedation dentistry may be right for you if you find yourself avoiding scheduling dental visits due to anxiety. Often times, that anxiety can be traced back to:
- Negative past experiences
- Fear of pain or gagging/choking
- Extreme discomfort with the sounds and smells of dental office
- Discomfort with feeling numb
- The fear of losing control
Sedation dentistry may also be appropriate for people who:
- Have difficulty sitting still in a dentist chair
- Need a large amount of dental work completed
- Have a low threshold for pain
Types of Sedation Dentistry
Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is an effective sedative gas that is mixed with oxygen and administered through a mask that fits over your nose. It does not put you to sleep nor does it actually make people laugh when delivered in the small doses that dentists use. You will still be able to carry on a conversation with the dentist during treatment, but it does help you feel more “removed” from the situation — calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off shortly after the mask has been removed, and you should actually be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
Oral sedation relaxes you and reduces your sense of pain through administration of an oral medication. With this type of relaxation dentistry, you are aware of your surroundings and can carry on a conversation, but you’ll be less responsive to what is happening. You may even feel drowsy and might feel like taking a nap during the procedure.
The medication that is most commonly used is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. You will need a friend or family member to accompany you if you have taken oral sedation.
IV sedation is administered through the vein and relaxes patients quickly. This method allows the dentist to adjust the level of sedation throughout the procedure, and it allows you to be either almost or completely unconscious during your procedure. Not all dentists offer IV sedation, so contact your dentist prior to the procedure to check.
Sedation Dentistry with Dr. Paulson
We strive to make sure all of our patients feel comfortable at Arbor Dental Associates in Novi MI. Our relaxing atmosphere combined with our professional and friendly staff, have helped hundreds of patients feel more comfortable at the dentist. In addition, Arbor Dental Associates offers oral sedation to help our more anxious patients feel at ease in the dentist’s chair. Contact our office online or call us at (248) 468-4962 for more details and to schedule your appointment.