If you have a list of a thousand things you’d rather do before scheduling a dental visit, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is incredibly common, with up to 75% of US adults experiencing some level of fear surrounding even routine care. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons why people avoid regular dental checkups. A person who has a severe dental phobia may never see a dentist, while others will force themselves to go but struggle with anxiety throughout their appointment.
Many of these people fall into something we call the “cycle of avoidance.” They avoid regular dental care until an emergency occurs. These emergencies often require invasive treatment, which may be prolonged or painful. This reinforces their existing fears, and the whole cycle begins again. If this sounds like you, we’ve got good news—it doesn’t have to be this way.
Charvet Dental Center is proud to offer our anxious patients a range of treatment options to make dental care less stressful. This includes sedation dentistry! To understand more about what sedation dentistry is and how it can help you feel more comfortable and confident in our care, keep reading below.
What is sedation dentistry?
With sedation dentistry, we can use medication to help our patients relax during a dental checkup or procedure. Nervous patients feel calmer and cope better, leading to a more positive experience overall. Sedation also helps prevent spontaneous movement from the patient, which increases both the safety and effectiveness of a procedure.
Sedation medication does not control pain or discomfort. It can help patients forget many details of the procedure, however! This often decreases their fears or anxieties about upcoming appointments. Sedation can also be helpful if a patient has several procedures that need to be done at the same time. Keep in mind, though, that more than one sedation appointment may be required based on the amount of work to be done.
How does sedation dentistry work at Charvet Dental Center?
If you have dental anxiety, please let us know when you schedule your appointment so we can be sure to prepare for your visit accordingly. Many of our patients struggle more with the anxiety and worry leading up to an appointment more than the procedure itself. With this in mind, we often prescribe an oral sedative or laughing gas that can be administered before the appointment. This will help to ease your fear and relax your body so that you can remain calm and peaceful while we clean your teeth or perform other dental work.
During your consultation, we’ll go over the details of the recommended procedure and take note of any anxieties you may have. We’ll discuss your options for sedation, and leave the ultimate decision up to you based on how you believe you’ll handle the procedure. Many patients with mild to moderate anxiety prefer laughing gas, since it’s quick, effective, and wears off once the dental work is completed without impairing any other bodily functions.
If we’re treating a cavity or performing other minor dental work, patients may prefer a combination of laughing gas and localized pain medication. After numbing the surface of the gums, we can inject a medication that numbs the area being worked on. This is a simple and effective way to prevent and eliminate any discomfort! Because this type of sedation is so localized, we can use as much medication as necessary and only the treatment area will remain numb. This keeps most of your mouth fully functional while the numbing effect wears off at the site of the injection.
For more intensive procedures, IV medication may be necessary for the best results. When sedation is administered intravenously, the numbing effect is more pronounced and not confined to the area being treated. Many patients request this type of sedation to ensure they don’t feel anything during their dental procedure. The effects of IV sedation still wear off fairly quickly but we do recommend patients have someone else drive them home after their procedure is complete, just to be on the safe side.
Patients requiring oral surgery may need (or prefer) total sedation. This is sometimes referred to as sleep dentistry because the patient is fully anesthetized and won’t remember anything from the procedure. This can be especially useful for patients receiving a full smile makeover! With so many teeth being worked on, this procedure can take a significant amount of time and requires precision to be successful. Many patients have a difficult time holding still for prolonged procedures. With total sedation, the body remains comfortable but naturally still throughout the treatment process.
If this is your preferred method of sedation, our team will monitor you carefully both during the procedure and afterward to ensure that the anesthesia wears off the way it should. Someone will need to drive you home once your appointment is complete and should be prepared to feel slightly sluggish for the rest of the day. Take it easy at home before resuming normal activity no sooner than the next day!
Get the dental care you need in comfort with Charvet Dental Center
The team here at Charvet Dental Center is trained to be sensitive to all levels of dental phobia, and we’ll do everything we can to make your experience with us positive and stress-free!
Our sedation options will help you feel more comfortable on both a physical and emotional level, and get you through your appointment with little to no anxiety. You’ll be putting your smile into the best hands possible when you choose our Metairie practice.
Whatever the reason for your dental anxiety, Charvet Dental Center will provide you with compassionate care, excellent communication, and personalized treatment options. To find out if you’re a good fit for sedation dentistry, get in touch with us today to schedule a sedation consultation with us!