Researchers estimate anywhere between 9 to 15 percent of the population has some level of dental fear. That adds up to almost 40 million people in this country. For many, the anxiety is so great they avoid seeing a dentist for decades.
Dental phobia is an intense fear of seeing the dentist. Not all levels of this phobia are the same, though. For some people, the fear centers around a specific procedure or even pain management need like numbing injections. The dental industry has taken steps to limit the effect of dental anxiety by providing pain and stress management options utilizing sedation dentistry.
Today’s dentists work to not only safely complete dental procedures like a tooth extraction but also to manage the patient’s anxiety through various sedation levels.
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or nitrous sedation
A sedation dentist evaluates each patient to determine their level of anxiety along with the potential pain impact to decide which sedation method best suits the situation.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) or laughing gas is a type of anesthesia administered for patients who are slightly nervous or for procedures that may come with mild, dull pain. Nitrous oxide creates a soothing effect that may make you feel a little sleepy and giggly, hence the name.
A nose or face mask delivers the gas, and the staff will switch the gas to oxygen for about five minutes after the dental treatment is completed. The oxygen helps lower the risk of side effects.
Oral sedation involves taking medication by mouth to relax. With IV sedation, the dentist uses medication delivered via an IV drip; instead, Typically, this treatment is for a very anxious patient or complicated extractions.
Minimal sedation keeps you awake but calm during the extraction.
Moderate sedation uses stronger medication. You will probably remain awake but feel very relaxed. People under moderate sedation don’t usually remember the procedure, either.
A deeper level of sedation takes the patient to the edge of consciousness. You will lightly sleep during the treatment but awakened quickly once the medication stops.
People get anxious when they come to the dentist, but it shouldn’t stop you from getting dental care. If you need a tooth extraction or other Dental procedure in Houston, give our office a call to make an appointment for sedation dentistry.