A large percentage of people avoid dental care because they are fearful of dental procedures. Individuals with specific phobia are seen as having anxiety and fear that is immense to the extent at which it inhibits them from normal daily function. These set of people pose a challenge for the dentist because their fear affects their ability to maintain adequate oral health care. While some people can handle minor dental treatment, others cannot; so there is a varying degree of anxiety and fear within this set of people. This is where oral sedatives play a significant role in dental treatment because it is easy, painless, and inexpensive. The oral sedatives help the patients relax and reduce anxiety and fear. The use of oral sedatives is safe and effective provided the adequate dose is administered, and proper time is given to allow the drug to reach its peak effect.
A sedative is a drug taken to promote calmness or induce sleep. This is possible because it reduces anxiety. Sedatives have a relaxing effect on the body when taken at moderate doses, but at a higher dosage, it may result in poor judgment, etc. Therefore, oral sedation is administered by trained dentists to help relax patients before any dental procedure will be carried out on them. There are different types of sedation which include:
Inhaled Minimal Sedation
In this case, gas is used to reduce the pain during childbirth, and it is safe to use. This gas is nitrous oxide or laughing gas combined with oxygen. This gas helps the patient relax because the dentist controls the amount of nitrous oxide you take in. This type of sedation is minimal because you can perform any task normally because the effect diminishes quickly following the completion of the procedure.
There are two types of sedation, minimal and moderate oral sedation. The minimal sedation requires you taking a pill, typically Halcion at about thirty minutes to an hour before the dental procedure. To achieve a moderate dose, a more substantial amount may be administered. In the minimal oral sedation, the patient is usually drowsy, but is most likely to fall asleep under the influence of moderate oral sedation though can be awakened gently.
In this case, the sedative is administered through the veins, and so it works faster and it is more effective. The dentist can control and adjust sedation levels to their patients needs.
This type of sedation makes you almost or totally unconscious, and patients cannot be awakened for prolonged periods except through the use of medications, or the effects of the sedation wear off.
Regardless of the type of sedation, a local anesthetic is also used to kill the pain around the region where the dental procedure is carried out to avoid discomfort on the part of the patient.
Oral sedation has its limitations. It can help with patients with mild and moderate levels of anxiety but may not be that effective with higher levels of anxiety but may not that effective with higher levels of anxiety. There are side effects of the use of sedatives which are of similar to those of alcohol like drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, slowed heart rate, and breathing, impaired attention and judgment, risk of dependence and addiction, etc… That is why you want to ask questions first, use a qualified dentist who is trained in sleep dentistry and feel comfortable and confident in your choices and levels of sedation if you so choose.
At Angel Dental, we do specialize in sleep dentistry and can help you reduce your fear and anxiety with a level of sedation that is appropriate for the procedure and for your needs. Call us today to meet with a dentist to discuss how we can help you ease your fears – 626-444-2002.