As much as 15% of the population avoids going to the dentist because of fear or anxiety. That’s nearly 40 million people not getting the dental care they need. Are you one of them? Are you one of the people who knows they need to get their teeth fixed, but just can’t make themselves go to the dentist? Your sedation dentist in Ephrata, PA completely understands how paralyzing this fear can be. They want to help patients just like you, and thanks to sedation dentistry, they can now eliminate your discomfort both mentally and physically. They will take the extra steps to help you get the smile that you’ve always wanted.
How Sedation Helps
Sedation dentistry allows doctors to perform a variety of procedures without causing you any physical pain. This is all to help curtail the fear that can prevent someone from getting the care that they need. No matter how nervous a patient might be, sedation can help them.
Sedation has another benefit: it allows for a lot of dental work to be done in one visit. This is ideal for people who haven’t been to the dentist in a long time, and helps your dental care fit into your busy schedule.
Also known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is the ideal method of sedation for patients with moderate anxiety who are undergoing routine check-ups and cleanings. A mask is placed over the nose of the patient and they only need to breathe normally. The effects of the gas can be felt in less than a minute, and it usually brings on a warm, calming sensation. The patient will still be awake, but completely relaxed physically and mentally. Once the procedure is over, the mask is removed and the patient should feel normal within a minute, able to go on with their day.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Patients who have a higher level of anxiety or need more involved procedures may benefit from oral conscious sedation. This involves taking a pill the day of the procedure that has been prescribed to you. By the time you reach the office and the procedure has started, you should be deeply sedated. It helps time fly by quickly and keeps your mind at ease during treatment.
If you are going to use oral conscious sedation, please let your doctor know about any other medications you may be taking. On the day of the procedure, a family member or someone close to you needs to drive you to and from the office, as well as keep an eye on you for the rest of the day. All the effects of the sedation should wear off by the next morning.
IV Conscious Sedation
Patients who experience more severe anxiety or need to have multiple procedures done in one visit may elect to have IV conscious sedation. In this case, the sedative will be administered intravenously. After an area on the arm has been disinfected, a painless injection will start the actual sedation process. IV sedation is much deeper and faster acting than nitrous oxide or oral sedation. It is also more flexible and enables your doctor to adjust your sedation level throughout the procedure as you need it.
While you may remain conscious during the procedure, many patients completely fall asleep or have no memory of it afterward. IV sedation enables dentists to take care of the most sensitive patients with relative ease. Due to the strength of IV sedation, it is advised that a family member or someone close to you drive you to and from the office, as well as stay with you the rest of the day. By the next morning, you should feel completely normal.
No More Fear
You don’t have to be afraid to go to the dentist anymore. Sedation dentistry can help make even the most nervous patient comfortable, and any procedure completely painless. If you’re nervous about your next dental visit, just ask your doctor about sedation, and they should be able to come up with a plan to help you.
About The Author
Dr. Sean Moriarty, DMD is a board-certified general, cosmetic, and sedation dentist. He completes over 100 hours of continuing education each year, much of it focused on advanced sedation techniques. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. He currently practices in Ephrata, PA at Ephrata Family Dentistry, and can be reached at his website or (717)723-8951.