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Treating Dental Anxiety: Dental Sedation as an Option

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Treating Dental Anxiety: Dental Sedation as an Option

Dental anxiety can be hard to overcome; however, dentists offer a number of options, including sedation. There are a few levels of sedation, all of which should only be administered in the setting of a dentist. Being aware of the different sedation options can be helpful to someone preparing for an appointment. Continue reading to learn more!

Sedation to address dental anxiety

Outlined below are a few of the sedation options used in dental offices. Sedation helps to combat dental anxiety, which is quite common.

Mild sedation

The most common sedative to address dental anxiety is nitrous oxide, which is also known as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is a safe gas that is administered via a face mask. It does not put patients to sleep, but it does induce relaxation and calming effects. Patients of all ages can opt for laughing gas for just about any appointment, whether it be a check-up or more involved procedure such as dental crown placement. It is not harmful and does not produce any serious lingering effects. 

Moderate sedation

A moderate sedative used to address dental anxiety is oral medications. Oral medications help patients to feel completely relaxed. In some cases, the patient may fall asleep, which is not a bad thing as it relates to dental anxiety. These medications are typically administered prior to the appointment or procedure as they usually take a few minutes to take effect. Oral medications are used for procedures that may induce discomfort, such as dental crown placement, tooth extraction or veneer placement. 

Heavy sedation

Heavier methods of sedation include general anesthesia, which puts the patient "under," also known as being unconscious. General anesthesia is typically only administered when there is an involved procedure, such as wisdom tooth extraction, gum grafting or dental implant placement. General anesthesia is typically administered intravenously, which can cause even more dental anxiety for some. However, it can be helpful to be aware that the initial prick is not long-lasting and does not cause long-term discomfort. 

What to know about sedation

Sedation to address dental anxiety is sometimes seen as controversial. While mild sedatives like nitrous oxide do not induce any lingering effects, moderate to heavier sedatives can. Individuals requiring sedatives may want to arrange transportation for after the appointment. Oftentimes, driving, speaking or even performing regular activities can be difficult after a procedure that involved sedatives. 

Additionally, sedatives sometimes require patients to take a break from work or school after the appointment. However, no more than a day is typically needed. 

Learn more from the dentist

Want to know more about sedation to address dental anxiety? Talking with the dentist is the next step to take. The dentist can provide specific insight as to the most appropriate method of sedation. Additionally, patients can ask questions and go over any concerns. Reach out today to find out more or to get scheduled for a consultation appointment. 


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