Polls show that somewhere between 9% to 15% of Americans avoid going to dental appointments out of fear. These people would rather suffer with painful, infected, discolored, and damaged teeth then set foot in a dental office. Or, if they do come in, they dread it as the worst part of their week. Fortunately, great dentists like Dr. Benjamin Stevens of Greenwood, IN don’t take it personally. Instead these dentists offer the most effective means of reducing their patients’ anxiety so that they get the care they need.
Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to allow for a more relaxing, less stressful dental experience for those patients who might otherwise not receive the care they need because of dental phobia. Sedation dentistry is sometimes also referred to as “relaxation” or “anxiety-free” dentistry and it is now offered by thousands of dentists, including Dr. Stevens of Beautiful Smiles.
Is Sedation Dentistry Right For You?
Sedation dentistry is aimed at people who avoid dental examinations due to anxiety. Most often, that anxiety can be traced back to:
- Negative experiences in the past
- Fear of pain or gagging/choking
- Anxiety from the sounds and smells of a working dental office
- Feeling of uncomfortable numbness
- Fear of feeling out of control
Sedation dentistry may also be appropriate for people who:
- Have difficulty sitting still in a dentist’s chair
- Have a large amount of dental work to be completed in one sitting
- Have a low pain threshold
If any of these describe your situation, you are probably a good candidate for sedation dentistry.
Types of Sedation Dentistry
Nitrous oxide is also commonly called “laughing gas”. It is an effective sedative that is mixed with oxygen and breathed in through a mask the dentist places over the patient’s nose before the work begins. It does not make patients sleep or lose control of bodily functions. Patients continue to be coherent and are able to carry on a conversation with the dentist, but it does help them feel more calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly after the mask is removed. Patients are even able to drive themselves home after the procedure is completed. Nitrous Oxide is even safe to be administered to children.
Oral sedation uses medication to relax patients and reduce their ability to feel pain. Patients are aware of their surroundings and can carry on a conversation, but will be less responsive to what is happening. Drowsiness is commonly reported and some patients nap during the procedure.
The medication that is used most commonly used for oral sedation is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium. Halcion is usually taken about an hour before the procedure to give it time to take effect. Patients that have had oral sedation will need a friend or family member to drive them home after the procedure.
Sedation Dentistry with Dr. Stevens
Dr. Stevens strives to make sure all of his patients feel comfortable. The relaxing atmosphere of our Greenwood IN office, combined with our professional and friendly staff, have helped hundreds of patients feel more comfortable at the dentist. If you would like to know more about our sedation dentistry or any of the other services Dr. Stevens offers, please schedule a consultation online or call us at (317) 886-4512 to schedule your appointment.