Studies estimate that roughly 3 out of 10 Americans avoid seeing their dentist out of fear. These people would live with discomfort and risk an infection or other complications from untreated dental work than set foot in a dental office. Or, if they finally do break down and agree to see a dentist, they dread it all week.
Sedation dentistry uses medication to allow those with dental anxiety to have a more relaxing experience at the dentist’s office. This allows people who might otherwise avoid it to receive the dental care they need. Because of this, sedation dentistry is often referred to as “relaxation” or “anxiety-free” dentistry. Thousands of dentists now offer some form of sedation dentistry, including Dr. Shawna Hoffert of Red Maple Dental in Asheville, NC.
Is Sedation Dentistry Right For You?
If you have found that you avoid dental care due to feelings of anxiety, sedation dentistry might be an option to help you receive the treatment you need. Dental anxiety can be attributed to:
- Negative past experiences
- Fear of pain or gagging/choking
- Extreme discomfort with the sounds and smells of dental office
- Discomfort about feeling numb
- Fear of losing control
Sedation dentistry may also be appropriate for people who:
- Are unable to sit still in a dentist chair
- Need a large amount of dental work completed
- Have a low threshold for pain
Types of Sedation Dentistry
Nitrous oxide, is popularly known as “laughing gas” although this is a misnomer as the gas does not cause fits of uncontrollable laughter when administered safely. Nitrous Oxide is an effective sedative that is mixed with oxygen and given to patients through a mask that fits over their nose.
Nitrous oxide will not put you to sleep but it will help you feel more calm and comfortable. However, you will still be able to answer questions from your dentist and provide access to different areas of your mouth as necessary. The effects of this sedative gas wear off very soon after the mask is removed so you should be capable of driving yourself home after the procedure.
Oral sedation is administered by your dental staff about an hour before your procedure, usually in pill form. It relaxes you and reduces your sense of pain but you will still be aware of your surroundings and can carry on a conversation with your dental team. However, you will not be as responsive to what is going on. You will probably feel drowsy and might feel like taking a nap during the procedure. You will need a friend or family member to drive you home after having a procedure with oral sedation provided
IV sedation is administered intravenously, so it begins working very quickly. IV sedation allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation, allowing patients to be either almost or completely “out” or mostly awake during their procedure. Not all dentists offer IV sedation, so contact your dentist prior to the procedure to check. Dr. Hoffert does offer this form of sedation as an option to her patients.
Sedation Dentistry with Dr. Hoffert
We strive to make sure all of our patients feel comfortable at Red Maple Dental in Asheville, NC. Our relaxing atmosphere combined with our friendly staff, have helped hundreds of patients feel calm and comfortable at the dentist. But if you’re anxious, sedation dentistry might be the right option for you! Contact our office online or call us at (828)-358-1925 for more details and to schedule your appointment.