People who experience fear or anxiety about dental visits can greatly benefit from sedation dentistry. Through sedation dentistry, a patient can experience a calmer, more relaxed dental appointment. Patients who are experiencing significant dental anxiety can even benefit from IV sedation, which allows them to be completely asleep for the procedure. Here are the major benefits offered by sedation dentistry.
When a patient is anxious or nervous at the dentist’s office, their blood pressure and pulse go up; sleep may be disturbed, and the patient may have difficulty concentrating or remembering what happened during the appointment. Patients often avoid visiting the dentist altogether because of anxiety. In some cases, this can lead to serious oral health problems such as gum disease or tooth loss. Sedation dentistry uses medication to help relieve anxiety and fear in patients. Three types of sedation are commonly used at a dentist’s office: nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, is a sedative that is inhaled through a mask that covers the mouth. This mild form of sedation can be used to help calm patients down before treatment begins. Oral conscious sedation involves taking a pill before the procedure. Patients who take the pill will feel relaxed but able to respond to questions during treatment. IV sedation is the deepest type of sedation offered and requires the patient to have anesthesia administered intravenously through an injection in the arm or hand. While under this form of sedation, the patient will fall into a state of deep sleep and will have no memory of the procedure after the event has concluded.
Anterograde Amnesia is a type of temporary memory loss, a common side effect of sedatives used during dental procedures. This is one of the most common reasons why people choose to undergo sedation dentistry procedures. Patients also report not being bothered by sights, sounds, smells, or even pain during their treatment when under the effects of sedation.
Reduction in Gag Reflex
Many people experience something called a gag reflex when they visit the dentist. This reflex is caused by the nerve endings being touched, and the gag reflex is your body’s way of protecting you from choking and becoming ill. You can control this reflex by breathing through your nose when it occurs. However, when the gag reflex occurs, you can often lose control of your mouth, and your jaw muscles will clench tightly together. This can make it difficult for your dentist to complete a procedure or exam, and it also makes it harder for you to relax. A sedative from the sedation dentist can help you relax enough to fully control the gag reflex so that it doesn’t interfere with your visit. This gives you the peace of mind that you are going to have the best care when you visit the dentist’s office.
When patients feel nervous or anxious during a procedure, they are more likely to experience pain and discomfort. For this reason, many dentists offer sedation options to help their patients relax during their appointments. Sedation dentistry also offers pain relief to patients while undergoing dental procedures.
The Dentist Can Work Faster
Since patients do not experience any pain or anxiety while under sedation dentistry, the dentist can work more efficiently. Rather than having to stop multiple times when a patient experiences discomfort or pain, dentists can work through procedures more quickly and with fewer interruptions. This increases the efficiency of the office and the productivity of the dentist as well. As more procedures are completed in a shorter amount of time, the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses are reduced. Additionally, sedation dentistry eliminates patient anxiety and fear, which improves the overall patient experience.
If you’d like to learn more, then contact our dental office at (503) 581-2446 today. We’d be happy to help answer any questions that you may have.