According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene, between 50%-80% of adults in the United States have some form of dental anxiety. Dental anxiety is the fear or discomfort one feels about visiting the dentist. For some people, they can still go to the dentist, but they might be uncomfortable during their appointment. With other patients, their anxiety may keep them from even making a dental appointment. This can wreak havoc on their oral health because many won’t go to the dentist to fix their dental issues.
Luckily, there is a way for dentists to make all of their patients feel safe and comfortable during their appointments. Sedation dentistry is an option for patients with dental anxiety. Your dentist can offer a sedative to help you relax and put your mind at ease. While there are several types of dental sedation, a popular method is oral conscious sedation.
Oral Conscious Sedation
With oral conscious sedation, your dentist will give you a medication to take before you come to your appointment. Typically, this sedative is in pill form, which is why you need to take it before your appointment. It takes about an hour for the sedative to take effect in your system. Once you begin to feel the effects of the sedative, you may feel groggy or sleepy. Therefore, it is imperative that you have someone drive you to and from your appointment. It will be unsafe to operate a vehicle while under the influence of this sedation.
It is possible for you to fall asleep during your procedure. However, it is more likely you will feel at ease. If you do fall asleep, your dental team will be able to arouse you easily. This will help you feel more comfortable during your dental procedure. Additionally, you should be aware of the effects oral conscious sedation has on your cognitive faculties. For example, you may notice that this sedative affects your memory. Also, your motor skills will become impaired.
You will be able to sit comfortably during your procedure while your dentist works.
In combination with oral conscious sedation, your dentist will likely offer a local anesthetic to ensure that you don’t feel any pain. At the beginning of your appointment, your dentist will inject your gums with the anesthetic. After a certain amount of time, you will begin to lose sensation in that area. This means that you won’t feel any pain or discomfort. You may still be able to feel pressure, but you won’t be in any pain.
There are many different procedures that require a local anesthetic, such as a dental crown or a filling. However, there are other situations where you may request an anesthetic. If you need gum disease treatment, you may ask for a local anesthetic in addition to oral conscious sedation.
If you don’t feel a needle is necessary, you could ask your dentist for a topical anesthetic. This is a cream or a paste that numbs sensations, but it is not as strong.