Do you experience anxiety when visiting the dentist? You’re not alone if so. According to a study in BMC Oral Health, approximately 58% of adults may experience some degree of fear when visiting a dental clinic.
Dentists understand that not everyone is comfortable receiving dental treatment. Thus, they may offer ways to address a patient’s anxiety during an appointment.
One such option is conscious sedation. Not to be confused with general anesthesia, conscious sedation in dentistry allows a patient to remain awake during a procedure while experiencing significantly less anxiety than they otherwise might.
What You Need to Know About Conscious Sedation in Dentistry
General anesthesia typically results in a patient becoming unconscious. Conscious sedation is different. As the name implies, conscious sedation in dentistry results in a patient who is still conscious and aware of what is happening without enduring excessive concern or fear.
Conscious sedation dentistry options include the following:
One of the most common methods of conscious sedation involves supplying patients with nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas.” During treatment, a patient wears a mask and inhales enough nitrous oxide to help them feel more at ease while the dentist does their work.
Nitrous oxide is safe, doesn’t tend to cause major side effects, and tends to wear off relatively quickly. A patient might opt for this form of conscious sedation dentistry if they need to return to work or perform other such tasks later in the day following a dental appointment.
Nitrous Oxide with Valium
Laughing gas alone isn’t always enough to ease the fears of some patients. If a patient needs extra help remaining calm while they receive dental care, the dentist might recommend taking the anti-anxiety medication Valium before an appointment.
Valium, when combined with nitrous oxide, can significantly reduce a patient’s anxiety. Although dentists typically recommend taking Valium approximately two hours before an appointment, your dentist may recommend taking the pill closer to your appointment or further from it. Follow their directions carefully for ideal results.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is an alternative to nitrous oxide that a dentist may consider if a patient experiences moderate anxiety when undergoing dental work. With this form of conscious sedation, a patient takes a sedative in pill form before a dentist begins a procedure.
The sedative ensures a patient is able to be responsive if necessary during treatment. However, its effects may prevent a patient from remembering the procedure once the sedative wears off. Patients with low pain thresholds may be particularly good candidates for this sedation method.
Ask a Dentist About Conscious Sedation Options
Remember, dentists thoroughly understand that dental anxiety is a common fear. If you experience such anxiety, discuss the matter with a dentist. They may recommend a conscious sedation option that’s right for you.
Learn More About Conscious Sedation in Dentistry
At Champagne Smiles, in Morganville, NJ, we offer several conscious sedation options to maximize patient comfort. If you’re looking for a dentist who helps ease your worries, call us today at 732-972-0918 to request an appointment.