If you’re prone to experiencing dental anxiety or fear of dental procedures, you’re not alone. As many as 1-in-3 people have some level of dental phobia, and some people avoid going to the dentist altogether because of severe fear and anxiety. Unfortunately, this can lead to serious dental problems over time. Fortunately, dental sedation can make your dental appointments more comfortable and stress-free. At Eastport Dental in Mesa, AZ, Dr. Huynh offers various levels of dental sedation to meet the individual needs of his patients.
Here’s what to expect with dental sedation.
Light Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Light sedation with nitrous oxide (inhalation sedation or “laughing gas”) is a safe and effective option for patients who experience mild anxiety or discomfort during dental procedures. Nitrous oxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is administered through a mask that fits over your nose. You will remain completely awake and aware during the procedure, but you will feel relaxed and at ease. It’s almost like you’ve had a couple of glasses of wine. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly after the mask is removed, allowing you to return to your normal activities. There’s no lingering drowsiness, so you won’t need anyone to accompany you to the visit.
Moderate to Deep Sedation
Sometimes people need a deeper level of sedation, like patients with more severe anxiety or those undergoing longer or more complex procedures. It’s also helpful for anyone with a sensitive gag reflex or who wants to feel like they’re napping through the appointment.
There are various types of moderate to deep sedation, including oral sedation and intravenous (IV) sedation. Oral sedation involves taking a pill or syrup about an hour before your appointment, which will help you relax and feel drowsy. IV sedation involves administering sedative medication directly into your bloodstream through an IV line.
With moderate to deep sedation, you will be in a state of conscious sedation, which means you will be able to respond to verbal cues but will be in a dream-like state. You will not remember much of the procedure afterward because the sedatives also tend to cause amnesia (which is great if you don’t want to remember anything.) However, the stronger medication means you will need someone to drive you home.
Planning for the Appointment
Before your sedation appointment, Dr. Huynh will review your medical history and discuss the level of sedation that is best for you. It is important to follow all pre-operative instructions, such as fasting for a certain period before the procedure and arranging for transportation home afterward. Dr. Huynh and his team will closely monitor you during the procedure to ensure your safety and comfort. If you’re instructed not to eat or drink anything, please be sure to do so (including not drinking any water.)
What to Expect Afterward
After your procedure, you will need to be monitored until the effects of the sedation wear off. You may feel groggy, dizzy, or nauseous for a short time afterward. It is important to have someone drive you home and avoid driving or operating heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after the procedure. You’ll want to rest for the remainder of the day and avoid eating anything until the numbing medication has worn off.
Why Consider Dental Sedation?
Dental sedation can help alleviate anxiety and fear, making dental procedures more comfortable and less stressful. It can also help patients who may have difficulty sitting in a dental chair for an extended period. Sedation can also make it easier for Dr. Huynh to perform more complex or lengthy procedures in a shorter amount of time. But it’s also available upon request if you simply want to “tune things out” or feel as relaxed as possible.
In addition to alleviating anxiety and fear, dental sedation can also help patients who have a strong gag reflex or difficulty getting numb with local anesthesia. Sedation can also help patients who have a low pain threshold or sensitive teeth, who might otherwise have to delay the treatment.
Is Sedation Dentistry Right for Me?
At Eastport Dental in Mesa, AZ, Dr. Huynh and his team are committed to providing you with the best possible care and comfort during your dental appointments. If you have dental anxiety or fear, or if you are undergoing a lengthy or complex dental procedure, dental sedation may be right for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our dental sedation options.