Many people experience dental anxiety or dental phobia when it comes to the dentist.
Unfortunately, many of these people let these fears prevent them from seeing their dentist and
receiving the oral care they need to sustain a healthy smile.
Fortunately, you don’t have to let dental anxiety or dental phobia prevent you from going to
the dentist. With modern sedation options, your dentist may be able to help alleviate your
anxiety during your appointment and get the treatment you need for healthy teeth and gums!
What are your sedation options to help stop dental anxiety when it comes to seeing your
Mild Sedation: Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide, often referred to as laughing gas, is an inhaled substance that’s used to stop the
patient from experiencing pain and anxiety during a procedure.
While inhaling nitrous oxide, you won’t be asleep, but you won’t feel anxious either. Laughing
gas is considered to be safe and is used at the majority of dental practices. Nitrous oxide is
considered a non-invasive form of sedation as you’ll simply breathe it in through a mask.
The effects of this form of dental sedation are short-lived and you can drive yourself home from
the appointment without any lasting effects.
Moderate Sedation: Oral Sedation
If you’d like to be a bit more sedated due to your dental fear or anxiety, you may want to ask
your dentist about oral sedation.
During this form of sedation, you’ll be prescribed a pill or a liquid that you’ll take before your
appointment. You will need someone to drive you to and from the appointment, but the idea is
that you’ll arrive to your appointment relaxed and worry-free.
You may receive other forms of sedation during your treatment as needed to control pain or
anxiety, but many people find that this form of conscious sedation helps them to visit their
dentist without fear.
Moderate to Heavy Sedation: IV Sedation
Receiving a heavier form of sedation is possible at your dentist’s office with IV sedation, in
which the sedative will be administered directly into your vein for an instantaneous effect.
IV sedation is considered a moderate to heavy form of sedation in which you’ll still be awake
and aware, but may feel as though you are asleep. This type of sedation is often used for
shorter dental procedures.
As with oral sedation, you will require someone to drive you home from the appointment and
may need a bit of time to recover from the sedative following your procedure.
Deep Sedation: General Anesthesia
General anesthesia is the deepest form of sedation you can receive. You’ll essentially be asleep
for your entire procedure and may not even recall the procedure. Your dentist or oral surgeon
will administer this sedative through an IV.
The effects of general anesthesia have the potential to affect you for hours after your
appointment, so it’s important to plan for this as well as to plan for someone to be waiting for
you at the office to take you home.
General anesthesia is typically only considered for dental patients who need oral surgery or for
people who for one reason or another do not qualify for other forms of sedation dentistry.
Have you been suffering from dental anxiety or dental phobia and let it prevent you from going
to the dentist? You have options for receiving sedation dentistry to get the care you need, even
if it’s just a professional teeth cleaning. Talk with your dentist about your sedation options to
help alleviate your fear and anxiety at the dentist!