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Bothered by Dental Anxiety? Consider Sedative Hypnotics

Anxious about going to the dentist? You aren’t the only one. Roughly 36% of people in the US have a fear of dental treatment, with 12% possessing an extreme fear.

If you’re feeling this type of anxiety, the worst thing you can do is skip going to the dentist altogether. Though you won’t have to face your fears this way, you’re also risking major dental problems if you have decay, gum disease, or other problems that are left unchecked.

Here at Portrait Dental, we understand this kind of fear, and we have solutions to help you deal with your dental anxiety. One of the best options we offer is sedation dentistry to help calm your anxiety during your visit.

Here’s how it works.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedative hypnotic drugs are used in the practice of sedation dentistry to help reduce anxiety and increase calm in patients who are fearful about sitting in the dentist’s chair. This is not general anesthesia in which you’re completely asleep, but a moderate level of sedation so you’re still awake, but feeling calm and relaxed.

Sedation dentistry can help create a state of short-term amnesia, in which you’re still awake, but you’re insensitive to pain, so dental procedures don’t bother you.

What types of sedation are used?

Various types of sedation are used, depending on your individual situation, needs, and anxiety levels. There are three basic types:

Nitrous oxide

NItrous oxide is also known as laughing gas. You inhale the gas through a mask before your procedure, and you’ll start to feel the calming effects in three to five minutes. 

The dentist can control the flow of gas throughout your procedure. When the procedure is over, you’ll receive pure oxygen through the mask to flush the laughing gas out of your system, and you’ll be able to drive yourself home. 

Oral conscious sedation

Oral conscious sedation is another step of sedation levels. You’ll take a pill about an hour before your dental visit that will make you groggy and may even cause you to fall asleep. Your dentist will still be able to communicate with you and wake you up easily if necessary. 

Common medications in this category include triazolam, zaleplon, and lorazepam. Your memory and motor skills can be affected by these medicines, so you’ll need someone to drive you home after the procedure.

IV sedation

The deepest level of conscious sedation available at the dentist’s office is IV sedation. Your sedative medication will be delivered straight into your bloodstream through an IV line. During your procedure, your dentist will keep an eye on your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen; they can also adjust your sedatives as necessary through the IV.

If you undergo IV sedation, you’ll most likely fall asleep and not remember your treatment when you wake up. This sedation level is best for people who have severe anxiety or who are undergoing a lengthy procedure.

If you’re ready to use sedation dentistry to help you through your dental visit, Dr. Minh Nguyen and our Portrait Dental team are ready to serve you. Just call our Katy, Texas, office at 501-381-1621, or use our online scheduler to get started on your own.

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