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Visiting the dentist on a regular basis is necessary for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. However, visiting the dentist is a stressful experience for many people. If you’re one of the many people who gets stressed out or even scared to go to the dentist, you may benefit from using sedation dentistry at your appointments. Mill Dam Dental Care specializes in sedation dentistry for a number of different treatments. Here are the key benefits of sedation dentistry, and how they can help both you and your dentist keep your teeth and gums healthy.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses medication, or laughing gas to calm and sedate dental patients while they receive a procedure. There are a number of different ways to use sedation dentistry, depending on the situation. Some rare cases may require general anesthesia. However, this generally only happens during very long procedures or in cases of very extreme anxiety. Mild to moderate sedation is usually enough for most people. There are a number of sedation methods your dentist may use – a pill, laughing gas, or an IV sedation are the primary sedation methods. Before any sedation dentistry session, you and your dentist will discuss exactly what is going to happen and which form of sedation may be right for you.

Sedation Dentistry Can Be Used to Manage Anxiety.

Many people develop a fear of the dentist, particularly if they’re going in for a very serious procedure. Even if you know there’s nothing to be scared of, your emotions might make it difficult to calm down. Many people will understandably develop a fear of the dentist after a bad procedure, or if their parents were afraid of the dentist when they were growing up. It’s also common to feel scared if you’re going to be getting a new treatment that you haven’t had done before. This fear of pain or that something might go wrong can make you feel very tense and uncomfortable, which makes it difficult for the dentist to work on you. With sedation dentistry, you won’t be anxious or tense during the procedure, so your dentist will be able to work on your teeth more efficiently. You also will be less likely to experience fear leading up to the procedure, because you’ll feel confident knowing that you’ll be sedated the entire time.

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Sedation dentistry is also very effective for those who have PTSD or other mental health issues that may make the dentist a challenging place. At the dentist’s office, you’ll experience stimuli that you might not deal with on a regular basis, which can be overwhelming for many people. Dental tools that make loud, grating sounds can increase feelings of anxiety, as can the brightness of the overhead lights that dentists use. When sedated, these uncomfortable external stimuli won’t feel as intense. This makes the dentist much more comfortable for anyone who has mental health issues that might make them vulnerable to triggers.

Sedation Dentistry is Very Helpful For Kids.

Taking your little ones to the dentist can be challenging. They often don’t fully understand the concept of dentistry or why it’s important. They can be wriggly in the dentist’s chair and get upset easily by routine procedures. Sedation dentistry isn’t normally necessary for a routine checkup, but if your child is having a more intense dental procedure done, you may want to consider using sedation dentistry. It will help them relax so your dentist can get the job done. Not only will it be less stressful for your child, but it will also be much less stressful for you and for the dentist.

You Won’t Feel Any Pain or Discomfort While Sedated.

Dentists will always do their best to keep you comfortable during a dental procedure. However, some dental treatments can be painful, particularly if you have sensitive gums. When you’re sedated, you won’t feel the pain or discomfort, so the treatment will be much less stressful for you. You’ll be able to sit back and relax while the dentist takes care of any dental problems you may be experiencing.

You and Your Dentist Won’t Have to Worry About A Gag Reflex.

Your gag reflex is designed to protect you from choking or ingesting something dangerous. It is a spasm that happens to close off your throat if something goes too far into the back of your mouth. However, for particularly complex oral procedures, your gag reflex may actually inhibit your dentist from getting the treatment done. Sedation dentistry allows the dentist to work without worrying about your gag reflex, since it relaxes your muscles. Not only is this safer for the dentist, but it is much easier on your body, since your gag reflex can cause a lot of muscle tension. Some people have more sensitive gag reflexes than others. If you’re someone who has a sensitive gag reflex, your dentist may recommend or even require sedation dentistry for certain procedures, even if you don’t have any anxiety about going to the dentist.

The Procedure Will Go Much More Quickly.

Another advantage of using sedation dentistry is that you can be in and out of the dentist much faster. Although the anesthesiologist will need to spend some time sedating you beforehand, the procedure itself will go much quicker. The dentist can work without having to address any reactions you may have to the procedure, which saves them time and effort. This means you’ll get back to relaxing at home much sooner. This is particularly helpful if you need multiple dental procedures completed. The dentist will be able to complete them all while you are sedated, so you won’t have to spend more money on multiple dental visits. This will also shorten your overall recovery time.

Patients Who Use IV or Oral Sedation Dentistry Will Have Little Memory of the Procedure.

Many people develop dental anxiety as a direct reaction to a procedure that was uncomfortable or even painful. Understandably, they don’t want to experience those feelings again, so they start to feel scared of the dentist and may even avoid it. When a patient is sedated during a dental treatment, they are much less likely to remember what happened during the procedure. This means they’ll be less likely to develop a fear of the dentist. Patients who are scared of the dentist may skip important checkups due to their fear. Sedation dentistry can help keep patients coming back for the care they need.  

sedation dental tools

What to Consider Before A Sedation Dentistry Appointment

Before a sedation dentistry treatment, you’ll have a consultation with your dentist about the treatment and what to expect. During this consultation, it’s important to be open and honest about how you’re feeling in regards to your treatment. If you’re feeling scared or stressed out about it, now is the time to share it. No fears are irrational here – your dentist’s goal is to focus on overcoming dental anxiety with sedation dentistry, and to help you feel comfortable and safe. They’ll present you with your sedation options, and you’ll be able to decide which you’re most comfortable with. You can also discuss the financial costs of sedation, so you’ll know how much to budget ahead of time, and you can select a treatment that is appropriate for your financial situation. 

What to Expect From A Sedation Dentistry Appointment

Your dentist will tell you how to prepare for your treatment. Depending on the type of work you are having done, you may need to avoid food for a certain period of time before the appointment. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing, so you can really relax during the sedation period. If you are having oral or IV sedation, you will need someone to drive you home from the appointment. You should also make sure you have someone to help you with basic tasks once you get home, because you will feel extremely groggy and it may take several hours or even a full day before you feel completely alert again. If you are having mild sedation using laughing gas, you should be able to drive yourself home once the effects have worn off. Depending on the type of treatment you’ve had, you may also be limited in what you can eat. Ask your dentist about appropriate foods beforehand and make sure you’ve stocked up.

If you’re interested in sedation dentistry for any of your treatments, it’s important to make sure you find a provider you are comfortable with. The Mill Dam Dental team offers sedation dentistry Virginia Beach residents can rely on, with years of experience providing comfortable and accessible dental treatment for patients. Contact us today to learn more about sedation dentistry and schedule an appointment.