Keeping Your Cool – How sedation dentistry can help you get the care you need and want

We have a number of patients who ask (or worse … don’t ask) what we can do during their appointments to help with either anxiety or time restraints. I’ll bet you didn’t know that one great solution can solve both challenges.

Anxiety & fear is a huge roadblock to excellent dental health.

I understood having anxiety about the way your smile looks, but because I had had such an amazing experience with my dental team as a teen, fear wasn’t a factor for me.
When I entered dental school in 1974, I was surprised to learn that so many people were afraid of the dentist. Today, it’s estimated that it affects up to 15% of Americans! That’s 30-40 million people!

But for many people, dental fear is real.

It not only stops them from visiting the dentist for their regular checkups, but also when they feel pain. Talk about negative power! For these poor souls, only excruciating pain will bring them to the dental office – and by this time, fear can be extreme.
Think about it – even before physical discomfort was a factor, would you volunteer to regularly attend an appointment that is filled with pain and uncertainty? Of course not.

Over and over, I’ve seen Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral sedation (medication in pill form) work “miracles” for dental phobic patients.

Since 1844, Nitrous oxide has been blocking pain and greatly relieving anxiety and fear.
  • It’s inhaled during treatment through a non-invasive “nose hood” or facial mask
  • It’s colorless and has a slight metallic scent and taste.
  • Effectively diminishes a severe gagging reflex.
  • It’s so effective that it enables so many people – kids and adults – to get the treatment they need and that it’s on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.
Oral sedation is given in the form of an easy-to-swallow tablet.
  • Will help you relax and make you a bit drowsy (but you’ll likely stay awake).
  • Is taken with a meal about 1.5 hours prior to your appointment.
  • Requires someone to take you home after your appointment. You cannot drive.
For more complex treatments, sedation can ease the extended “time in the chair” and…
  • Helps you to remain comfortable over extended treatments
  • Enables patients to receive multiple procedures in one visit
  • Remain still during treatment (due to medical, physical, or mental health conditions).
Along with my whole practice team, we are trained and skilled in helping you overcome your fear and anxiety. If this blog really speaks to you – about yourself or someone you love – about general dentistry or if you need an emergency dentist – give us a call to talk about it. That’s a really big first step!
And in closing, honestly, one of my favorite things is when a fearful patient leaves their appointment with a big beautiful smile! Converted for life!