Patients with a low pain threshold and those who simply hate getting dental treatment have more options for anxiety relief and comfort with a sedation dentist. Only specially trained dental professionals can offer choices such as IV sedation for lengthy or invasive procedures.
Is fear of being in the dental chair the only thing that stands between you and a healthy mouth? It’s well worth it to seek out a sedation dentist like Dr. Blackburn who can help you manage your anxiety. Sedation dentistry is also a good option for patients who have a low pain tolerance. A “sleep dentist” has special training to provide an additional level of service for patients who want to avoid emotional turmoil or discomfort during dental procedures.
Some patients need a small dose of medication to calm their nerves even before a basic cleaning. Others benefit most from deep sedation for oral surgery and other extensive procedures. Wanting customized treatment to help you get through your dental visit is nothing to be embarrassed about. Knowing what you need to be comfortable and finding a sedation dentist to help you meet your treatment goals is a smart move.
What Does a Sedation Dentist Offer?
Dr. Blackburn uses several possible levels or types of sedation during dental treatment. These include:
Nitrous Oxide –
This is the most common form of light sedation. It is offered at most dental offices and can be used for a wide variety of procedures. Sometimes called laughing gas, nitrous oxide is generally administered prior to the local injection of anesthetic, which is especially helpful for patients who don’t like needles. Nitrous oxide provides a feeling of relaxation, making it easier to sit still during a long procedure. Patients remain awake and aware during treatment and can respond to instructions. N2O wears off very quickly, making it suitable for patients who will be driving themselves home after treatment.
Oral Sedatives –
There are quite a few different oral medications that can ease the discomfort of dental procedures. These include benzodiazepine drugs such as Valium, Xanax, and Halcion. These pills cause drowsiness, reduce pain and decrease anxiety. Halcion in particular is noted for its ability to induce amnesia. Patients are awake during their treatment but may not remember it at all later. Sometimes, a sedation dentist will use anti-histamines to make patients drowsy. These meds often cause dry mouth, which is actually a desirable side-effect during certain procedures when keeping the treatment area free of saliva is essential for success. Oral sedatives should only be prescribed for patients who aren’t at risk of complications and side-effects from medical conditions or interactions with other drugs. A sedation dentist knows:
- The right drug to administer based on medical history and desired level of sedation
- Proper dosage based on factors like body weight and length of procedure
- When patients should take a specific medication so it “kicks in” at the right time
- What potentially harmful interactions to watch out for
Who Should See a Sedation Dentist?
The best candidates for sedation during dental procedures are:
- Patients who have a fear of going to the dentist that cannot be adequately addressed with relaxation techniques
- Those with a strong gag reflex that interferes with treatment
- Individuals who have back or neck pain that keeps them from lying back comfortably in the dental chair
- Patients who don’t respond fully to local anesthetics
- Those who need a lengthy procedure or who want to combine multiple procedures into a single visit
Patients who are not suitable candidates are those with allergies to the drugs used in sedation dentistry. Some patients also dislike the feeling of wooziness or nausea that can occur when the pain or anxiety medications wear off. These patients may be better candidates for local anesthetic alone.