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If the thought of going to the dentist makes you feel fearful or uncomfortable, you’re not alone. In fact, approximately 36 percent of the population suffers from dental anxiety. People who struggle with dental anxiety often put off essential care, which can lead to other healthcare problems down the road.

If you struggle with dental anxiety, don’t worry – there are solutions available that will make dental care more comfortable and less scary. At Mill Dam Dental, we offer sedation dentistry in Virginia Beach to create a better patient experience. If you struggle with fear or discomfort at the dentist, we offer a wide range of sedation strategies to make your appointment more pleasant.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of sedation dentistry that are currently available. Whether you need mild sedation or want to be put to sleep completely, there are options available for you.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the practice of using medication to help patients relax physically and mentally during their appointment. In some cases, the patient will be asleep, while in other cases, the patient will be awake but still slightly drowsy. Sedation dentistry services can be customized to suit the patients’ unique needs.

Dr Leidy

What Types of Sedation Dentistry Are Available?

Everyone has different needs when it comes to sedation dentistry. Some may need mild sedation to help with pain or a gag reflex, while others will prefer something more powerful to cope with extreme anxiety. Here are the three types of sedation dentistry available and the patients they are best suited for.

IV Sedation

IV sedation is the strongest type of sedation dentistry available. With this form of sedation, you will receive a powerful sedation medication through an IV that will put you to sleep entirely. You will need someone to take you home after the appointment, as this sedative can take some time to wear off. 

This type of sedation is often reserved for intensive procedures like extractions or root canals. However, you can opt for IV sedation dentistry for any type of procedure, including regular cleanings, fillings, gum disease treatment, implants, and much more.

Best For:

This treatment is best for those who experience extreme anxiety during dental procedures. It gives the patient total control of their appointment, and many patients feel more comfortable knowing they won’t be awake during treatment. 

This type of sedation is also standard for invasive treatments that could be extremely painful without sedation. It can also be helpful for patients who have a very strong gag reflex that could get in the way of normal dental treatment.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is a more moderate alternative to IV sedation. Instead of having your sedative delivered by IV, you will receive either a tablet or a liquid sedative to take orally. While some patients may fall asleep, most just feel relaxed and drowsy. With this type of sedation, you will still be aware of your surroundings, but you will likely need help getting home.

Best For:

This type of sedation can work for virtually any type of dental treatment. It is much more affordable than IV sedation, and it also takes less time to wear off. This means that this type of sedation is a good option for those who struggle with dental anxiety, gag reflexes, or gum sensitivity, but want to save money.

This type of sedation is also good for those who still want to be aware of what’s happening to them during the procedure. Some patients have anxiety about being put completely ‘under’ for treatment. Additionally, oral sedation can be a good option for patients who are neurodivergent or have physical disabilities that make dental visits more challenging.

Inhaled Sedation

This is the mildest form of dental sedation available. A small amount of nitrous oxide gas is administered through a mask, which helps the patient feel very relaxed. This type of sedation wears off fairly quickly, so the patient is able to drive home afterward.

Best For:

This type of sedation is best for patients who have mild anxiety or physical sensitivity to dental procedures. Inhaled sedation usually won’t be enough for very invasive procedures, but it can help the patient relax and overcome their anxiety during routine care.

This form of sedation is also a great option for patients that have very busy schedules and can’t take the whole day off. Because the sedative wears off very quickly, you are able to resume your normal schedule after the appointment.

Benefits of Dental Sedation

While dental sedation isn’t required for every procedure, it has so many benefits for both the patient and the dentist. The biggest benefit is that it helps patients combat intense dental anxiety. This makes them more likely to come in for the treatments they need, and as a result, they are less likely to develop long-term oral health problems.

There are also physical benefits to using dental sedation. If you have sensitive gums or teeth, certain treatments can be very uncomfortable, but sedation can help alleviate this discomfort. Additionally, many people become very tense during procedures or even struggle with a gag reflex. This can make it more difficult for your dentist to work. For instances like these, sedation can help your dentist work more efficiently.

Sedation Dentistry in Virginia Beach

At Mill Dam Dental, we’re proud to be the leading provider of sedation dentistry in Virginia Beach. If you have been struggling with dental anxiety, don’t wait to schedule an appointment and get the care you need. Contact us today to find the sedation dentistry solution that’s best for you!