Sedation dentistry is a special method of performing dental procedures that uses powerful sedatives in order to reduce pain and anxiety. Both oral and intravenous sedatives are used, depending on the level of sedation required. It's a typically a very safe method of performing sedation compared to general anesthesia since you're still partly conscious and able to breathe on your own. If you'd like to know if sedation dentistry is the right fit for you, read on for some indicators that you may be a good candidate.
You Have a Severe Dental Phobia
If the sound of a dental drill causes you to have a panic attack, you're likely a good candidate for sedation dentistry. Dental phobia is extremely common—some people have it for all of their lives, while others acquire it after a particularly traumatic dental procedure.
Unfortunately, many people with dental phobia neglect to visit the dentist because of that phobia, and their dental health suffers as a result. Sedation dentistry allows those with severe dental phobia to undergo dental procedures without worry—whether you're receiving an oral sedative or an intravenous one, they put you at ease during your visit to the dentist.
You Have a Fear of Needles
People who have a fear of needles also neglect to go to the dentist. Why? Many dental procedures require local anesthetic, which is administered with a needle—for some, this is enough reason to avoid the dentist's office entirely. Sedation dentistry is a way to temporarily alleviate your fear of needles so that you can have a successful procedure.
Note, however, the some forms of sedation dentistry use intravenous sedation, which does require the use of a needle. If you do have a fear of needles, make sure to tell your dentist—you'll likely receive oral sedatives beforehand in order to calm your fears about receiving an IV, and the dentist will calmly talk you through the procedure.
You're Undergoing a Lengthy Dental Procedure
Some dental procedures can be exhausting even for those without a fear of seeing the dentist. For example, having the majority of your teeth removed before you have dentures placed is typically a very lengthy procedure. Sitting in the dentist's chair with your mouth open can become a very uncomfortable experience during long procedures.
Thankfully, sedation dentistry excels at reducing the discomfort of lengthy procedures as well. When you're sedated before the procedure, it affects your ability to store memories (don't worry, this effect is temporary.) Many people recall only bits and pieces of the procedure after it's performed—it's like waking up from a dream that you can barely recall. Even very lengthy procedures will feel like they have gone by extremely quickly, eliminating the discomfort associated with long dental procedures such as receiving multiple extractions.
If you think that you're a good candidate for this type of dentistry, schedule an appointment with a local sedation dentist—not all dentists have the training necessary to perform sedation dentistry, so you'll need to find one that does. Dentists working in this field are experienced in working with patients who have dental anxiety, so don't be afraid to communicate your phobias or fear of discomfort to your sedation dentist.