If you’re afraid to visit the dentist — don’t worry — you’re in good company. Between 9 percent to 15 percent of Americans say they do not visit their dentist due to fear. That’s somewhere between 27 to 46 million people! Most dental appointments are not painful, but it’s still normal for patients to be fearful of dentistry. We understand.
You’ve probably heard the phrases “dental anxiety” and “dental phobia,” and maybe you’re under the impression that they mean the same thing. Technically, these two phrases are different. Dental anxiety describes a fairly strong feeling of uneasiness.
Dental phobia is more serious, because it’s more detrimental in the long run. Those with dental phobia often face advanced gum disease and tooth loss. And those with dental phobia often have discolored teeth, which affects their confidence, and in turn, can also affect their personal and professional lives.
If you suffer from dental anxiety or phobia, sedation dentistry is a helpful solution for comforting and accommodating the faint of heart. Intravenous conscious sedation (also known as IV sedation) is when a drug is administered directly into the blood system during a dental procedure, in order to reduce the patient’s anxiety.
During conscious IV sedation, the patient remains awake and can answer requests from the dentist. The patient may not remember the procedure, however, because the sedation induces a state of deep relaxation. This gives the patient a care-free feeling, despite undergoing a dental procedure.
Also, IV sedation produces amnesia effects from the period of time that the sedation takes effect until it wears off.
Patients who undergo sedation dentistry have a sense of time passing quickly, or they may believe they slept through the procedure. Some patients don’t want to remember anything they experienced during the procedure, so the amnesia effects are often welcomed.
The word “intravenous” means the drug is administered into a vein. Many patients are nervous about needles, but we use a very thin needle that is inserted into your arm or the back of your hand. The tiny needle is wrapped in a soft, plastic tube. We remove the needle, leaving the tube in the vein throughout the procedure. During your appointment, a harmless device called a “pulse oximeter” is clipped onto your finger or earlobe, and it’s used to monitor your pulse and oxygen levels.
IV sedation is quite safe when it is performed under the direct supervision of a specially trained dentist like ours. If you are afraid when it comes to sitting down in the dentist’s chair, then sedation dentistry is a great solution for you. Come and visit us. We’ll take great care of you.