Dental anxiety affects millions of people. Some are uncomfortable with the sounds, tastes, and smells associated with dentistry, some are afraid of needles or other equipment, and some are nervous because of previous bad experiences with dentists. If you’re afraid of going to the dentist, you may benefit from sedation dentistry.
This type of dentistry uses medications to help you relax during your appointment. Unless your dentist needs to put you under general anesthesia, you’ll be awake and able to communicate. However, you’ll feel very calm and relaxed. Depending on your preferences and on the type of dental procedure, your dentist could use one of several forms of sedation. You may be given nitrous oxide, an oral sedation, or an IV sedation.
Many people avoid the dentist for years because of their fears. Sedation can make the experience much easier while ensuring that you get the proper dental care. Here are four benefits of sedation dentistry:
1. Eases Your Dental Anxiety
Many people feel anxious just at the thought of going to the dentist, and their fears get even stronger once they arrive at their appointment. Sedation will relax you and help you cope with the procedure as well as any sights, sounds, or smells that make you nervous. It also allows you to confront your fears. You’ll be able to undergo dental procedures while feeling calm and comfortable, so the dentist’s office will seem less and less frightening over time.
2. Reduces Pain
Many dental procedures can be pain-free with the help of local anesthetics, but some people are terrified of needles. Your dentist may use sedatives to ease your mind before injecting a local anesthetic. The sedative itself can also increase your tolerance for pain, so your dentist may not have to use as much anesthesia. In some cases, you may not need anesthesia at all if you’re sedated, so it’s one less thing for you to worry about during the procedure.
3. Stops Your Gag Reflex
If you have a sensitive gag reflex, your dental appointments may be very uncomfortable or painful. Gagging is usually a combination of a physical and a psychological response, and sedatives can reduce both. This will make it easier for you and your dentist during treatments like fillings, x-rays, or dental impressions. You’ll be able to relax during the procedure without worrying about choking or gagging.
4. Saves Time and Money
Sedation reduces anxiety and discomfort, which are two reasons dentists are often limited in how much they can do during one appointment. Some procedures usually require two or three visits, but when you’re sedated, the dentist can do more work during one appointment. They may even be able to finish a complicated procedure in just one visit because they don’t have to worry as much about you being uncomfortable or in pain. If you experience dental anxiety, you’d probably like to have as few appointments as possible. This will also save you lots of time and money as dental procedures can be lengthy and expensive.
Christopher is an author, blogger, and musician from Wichita, Kansas who has been fearful of visits with a dentist most of his life until he discovered sedation dentistry.