If the thought of seeing your dentist gives you chills every six months, an anesthetic may be the solution. Sedation dentistry uses a combination of techniques, ranging from nitrous oxide or "laughing gas" to general anesthesia, to relax a patient during surgeries or otherwise uncomfortable appointments. For even the most severe dental phobias, there is no longer a reason to avoid the dentist altogether.
Settings that Practice Anti-Anxiety
The dental office has long been the most common setting for routine dental procedures that use sedation and anti-anxiety techniques. These techniques can be used for any type of dental procedure depending on the needs of the patient. Ultimately, your fears and phobias can be managed so that you can receive the dental care you require no matter where the treatment takes place.
Are You a Candidate for Sedation?
Your overall health, as well as physical and mental conditions you may be battling at the time, are important to be able to safely undergo certain types of sedation – especially in the dental office. Certain of these conditions may require clearance from a physician: cardiac disease, hypertension, diabetes and respiratory diseases should all be addressed prior to a given type of sedation. Your dentist will take a thorough medical history and physical assessment before proceeding, and if need be, recommend a product to get home care on the right track. He may also ask you to receive medical clearance from your physician.
Types of Dental Sedation available at All People Dentistry
The next type of sedation comes in the form of a pill or liquid that you take orally. This is called enteral sedation. Like local anesthetics, oftentimes it is used in combination with nitrous oxide. You may still be awake, but not nervous about the dental work.
Training and Licensure
Although most dentists are qualified to administer nitrous oxide, other types of sedation require additional training, equipment and emergency supplies. And because the vast majority of the U.S. requires that the dentist have a sedation license to perform these techniques, not every office will provide the service you'd like. For this reason, some may choose to contract qualified physicians or dentists to come to their office to perform sedation for their patients.
Anesthesia is administered prior to a procedure to help dull pain or sedate a nervous or anxious patient. The most common form is local anesthesia, meaning that it dulls pain in all or part of the mouth during dental work, but does not cause the patient to go to sleep.
Local Anesthesia Procedure
- Preparation – If you need local anesthesia, your dentist will dry part of your mouth with air or use cotton rolls. Then your dentist will swab the area with a gel to numb the skin.
- Injection – Next, your dentist will slowly inject the local anesthetic into the gum tissue. Most people don't feel the needle. Instead, the sting they feel is caused by the anesthetic moving into the tissue.
- After effects – An injection of local anesthesia can last up to several hours. After you leave the dentist's office, you may find it difficult to speak clearly and eat or drink. Be careful not to bite down on the area that is numbed. You could cause damage to yourself without realizing it.
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