Imagine sitting through your next dental visit feeling relaxed, zen, and so peaceful that you’re actually able to drift away into a light, sedated state. Upon recovery, you realize your smile has been completely restored. Surprisingly, though, you barely felt anything during the entire procedure.
Too good to be true? For those with dental phobia or anxiety, the above scenario may seem a bit far-fetched. Dental phobia is a real psychological fear that causes an estimated 30 – 40 million Americans to dodge the dentist each year, according to the Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center. Dental phobia can stem from a variety of reasons. Even though most dental procedures are relatively painless, many people with this condition fear the possibility of pain, discomfort, and helplessness. Other reasons why some people fear the dentist include embarrassment about their oral health or anxiety about an extensive procedure that may require taking time off of work.
If you or someone you know suffers from dental phobia, fear not — at Excel Dental, we have your solution. Oral sedation dentistry is the easy way to calm your nerves for a tolerable and even relaxing experience in the dental chair. With oral sedation dentistry, you may even start to look forward to your next trip to the dentist!
Read on to learn more about easing dental anxiety with oral sedation.
What is Oral Sedation?
Oral sedation is a medication that helps patients relax during their dental appointment. In most cases, the medication is a small pill that is taken orally prior to your appointment. Your Ozark, MO dentist will determine the optimal dose according to your body weight and phobia severity. For most people, a minimal to moderate sedative dose is administered, which typically won’t cause you to fall asleep completely, but it will give you a sense of calm, peace, and relaxation.
If needed, a larger dose may be administered to produce a heavier sedation. Some people do become groggy enough from this type of oral sedation to fall into a light sleep during the procedure.
Those with certain medical conditions (sleep apnea, obesity, etc.) should first talk to their Springfield, MO dentist about oral sedation as there may be some risks involved. However, oral sedation dentistry is considered very safe for the general population.
Who Can Benefit From Oral Sedation?
If you have a real, debilitating fear or anxiety of the dentist that is preventing you from obtaining the dental care you need, then you may be a good candidate for oral sedation. Sedation dentistry may also be appropriate for people who have:
- A low pain threshold
- Sensitive teeth
- An intense gag reflex
- A need for extensive dental or cosmetic work
You may be wondering if oral sedation is a good solution for children, who can often become squirmy and anxious in a dental chair. Children can be given sedation if they fear the dentist or refuse to cooperate during the visit; however, nitrous oxide is usually the option of choice as it’s easier to administer. Your dentists at Excel Dental are professionally-trained in various pediatric sedation solutions, and will help you determine the best option for your child.
After the Procedure
Your dentist will provide you with instructions following your procedure with oral sedation. Make sure to follow the provided guidelines carefully to ensure a full recovery. The most important instruction that you should follow is to give your body plenty of rest. Go home, set up on the couch and enjoy a Netflix binge! Do not overexert yourself, especially in the 24 hours following your procedure. If you live alone, we recommend arranging to have someone stay with you for at least three hours after you leave the office.
The following tips will ensure you’re back to normal relatively quickly after oral sedation:
- Arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after the appointment. Avoid driving for the remainder of that day.
- Move slowly. Use help or assistance when getting up, climbing stairs, or switching position. If you experience dizziness, lie down until the feeling dissipates.
- Resume taking any prescribed medications as directed once you are drinking fluids. Over the counter pain relievers can be taken according to the instructions on the label.
- You may start drinking fluids immediately following your procedure. Begin with frequent, small quantities of clear liquid such as water or broth. Progress slowly from liquids to soups and solid foods. Taking your time easing into your diet will help you to avoid any post-procedural nausea.
Don’t let dental phobia get in the way of having the smile of your dreams. Make an appointment today with your trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.
Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:
- Nervous About that Dental Appointment? How to Ease Dental Anxiety
- Ways Dentists Can Help Patients Overcome Dentophobia
- Dental Emergencies 101