I really don’t like the dentist, like really, really don’t like going to the dentist. My mom has suggested that I find a sedation dentist, but the thought of going to a dentist appointment and sleeping through the whole thing while a dentist I don’t know is working in my mouth is almost as scary to me as being awake.  With my anxiety, I just don’t understand how sedation is going to make it easier for me.

Alana, West Virginia

Dear Alana,

pleasant dentistrySedation dentistry was started with people like you in mind. It doesn’t matter whether your anxiety stems from a bad experience in the past with another dentist or it has just developed for another reason, sedation dentists are trained to help you have a good experience while taking care of your teeth.

What can a sedation dentist do for you?

To address your concerns about sleeping through the appointment, let’s paint you a picture of what the different options for sedation look like.

  • For someone who is a little nervous in the dentist’s chair, sometimes nitrous oxide (better known as laughing gas) is the perfect solution. Nitrous oxide is great because it works quickly and wear off quickly. The sedative is breathed in through a mask and you are awake throughout the appointment, but feel relaxed. There is no lasting effect that carries over after the appointment. You are alert and able to drive home.
  • For someone whose anxiety is more intense, oral conscious sedation is an option. With this route, an oral medication is taken before your appointment.  This medication allows you to be very relaxed. You are so relaxed that, although you are awake, you may feel like you were asleep. Because you are awake, you still respond to the dentist and can understand his instructions. Many patients have no recollection of the time in the chair. Because this medication has longer reaching effects, someone has to accompany you so they can take you home afterwards.
  • Most patients fit into the first two categories, so not every sedation dentist even offers the third option, which is sedation using an IV. This is for extreme cases of anxiety or other factors.

Visiting with a sedation dentist, sharing your concerns, and asking questions is a great first step. You can develop a plan that you are comfortable with so you can get the care you need for a great smile.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.