Fear of the dentist is one of the most common phobias among adult Americans. Eighty percent of Americans report some anxiety when visiting the dentist.
Uncomfortable feelings associated with dental visits can range from mild anxiety to panic attacks and even fainting. Some patients are so fearful, they choose to live in pain rather than seek treatment. As a result, by the time patients finally visit a dental provider, they are potentially facing tooth loss, periodontal disease, severe decay, and abscesses. If you have ever experienced feelings of anxiety or you have been delaying needed dental care because of fear, you might be a perfect candidate for dental sedation.
Sedation is a pharmacological approach to altering awareness and consciousness. The medications used for sedation can vary depending on the patient’s needs and medical history. The professionals at Axiom Dentistry will consider many factors to determine what form of sedation is best for each patient.
Axiom Dentistry offers several sedation options. The two most commonly used are:
This form of mild sedation is commonly known as laughing gas. It was discovered in 1772 and has been safely used ever since. Laughing gas causes a euphoric feeling that decreases anxiety and pain. It is a popular choice for patients as it works fast, has no side effects, and the levels of sedation can be altered throughout the procedure according to the patient’s needs. Most patients find that laughing gas is effective in decreasing anxiety and can make your next dental appointment a relaxing experience.
The most commonly prescribed drugs to treat dental anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family. You may better recognize the brand names of Valium, Xanax, Ativan, or Halcion, to name a few. All benzodiazepine drugs are both anti-anxiety and sedative medications. Some benzodiazepines target the area of the brain that controls fear while others induce drowsiness, or in higher doses, a deep sleep. Oral sedation drugs not only induce sleep but also can cause memory loss from the time the drug begins to become effective until the point it wears off. These oral medications have been studied and prescribed for many years and have been found to be extremely effective in calming and sedating the anxious dental patient; however, there are always risks associated with taking any prescribed or over-the-counter medication. For this reason, it is important to share an accurate medical history with your dentist and provide a list of all medications you may be taking. For most patients, oral sedation alleviates their anxiety and provides a comfortable dental experience.
There is no reason to let dental fear stop you from having a confident smile. The professionals at Axiom Dentistry will take the time to evaluate your needs and provide you information on the latest sedation options. Contact our office today to schedule your smile evaluation!