Which Type of Dental Sedation Is Right for You?
Dental sedation is something many dentists now offer their patients with dental anxiety. It’s used during procedures that may not necessarily require sedation, but sedation is necessary in order for the patient to relax during treatment.
Sedation choices are administered in different ways and will vary by your anxiety level. You can speak with your dentist before your appointment about which one is right for you. Here are your options when it comes to sedation dentistry.
Low Anxiety: Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide)
You’ve certainly heard of laughing gas, which is one of the lightest forms of sedation. Its effects will wear off fairly quickly and you’ll be alert and conscious throughout the procedure, although you may not remember all of it. Laughing gas is ideal for patients who need to be able to drive themselves home after the procedure or return to work afterward.
Laughing gas may be a good fit for you if you feel uncomfortable with deeper levels of sedation and want to be as alert as possible throughout the procedure. However, you’ll still be relaxed and pain-free, making this form of sedation a good choice for people who suffer from low anxiety.
Moderate Anxiety: Oral Sedatives
If you suffer from moderate dental anxiety, oral sedatives may be a better choice for you. These are medications that you’ll take prior to your appointment, and include diazepam (Valium), zaleplon (Sonata), and lorazepam (Ativan). All of these are designed to take effect before you go to the dentist, so you’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the appointment.
Under this type of sedation, you’re still fully awake but your anxiety will be gone. You may feel relaxed and sleepy until the medication gets out of your system, and you may not remember your procedure very well. Your dentist can talk with you about which type of medication would be best and can arrange for a prescription prior to your appointment.
Severe Anxiety: General Anesthesia
For people with severe dental anxiety or dental phobia, general anesthesia may be the best option. Although general anesthesia is usually used to put people into a state of complete unconsciousness, your dentist will be able to control your level of unconsciousness to provide you with just the right level of sedation for your needs.
This type of anesthesia may be used for more intensive dental work. It’s done intravenously, so no oral sedatives or nitrous oxide will be used with this form of sedation. Although it provides the most calm during your appointment, it’s best reserved for people who have severe dental anxiety and need the highest level of sedation to relax and be comfortable during their time in the dentist chair.
Have you been putting off a dentist appointment because of your dental anxiety? You may benefit from dental sedation. Schedule a visit to talk with your dentist about the different types of sedation. From laughing gas to oral sedatives to general anesthesia, you could improve your experience at the dentist through the right type of dental sedation!