Visiting the dentist is never exactly greeted with cheers of excitement, but for some patients, even the thought of a dental appointment is enough to break them out in a cold sweat. Dental phobia is a very real problem, estimated to affect as many as 15% of the population. Many of these people fail to attend even check-up appointments because of their anxiety or fear, and in many instances, this is putting their oral health at risk. Decay, gum disease, and other dental problems are usually progressive, meaning that early detection and treatment are essential for a good outcome, not to mention avoiding dental pain, swelling, bleeding, and other unpleasant and debilitating symptoms.
Fortunately, there are things that can be offered to extremely anxious and fearful patients to enable them to access the dental treatment that they need to keep their mouth and teeth healthy and functional. One of the most popular solutions is oral conscious sedation dentistry.
Oral conscious sedation dentistry refers to the use of oral medications taken, sometimes in combination with nitrous oxide, to sedate a patient so that they can remain calm and relaxed during a dental procedure. In doing so, their dentist can safely and effectively access their mouth and perform the dental work necessary to keep their mouth healthy. As the name suggests, patients remain conscious, awake and aware during the procedure. This enables them to understand what is happening and to respond to verbal requests during treatment, such as whether they are ok, to open their mouth wider, etc. It is also important to note that patients are also given anesthetic which ensures that they don’t experience any discomfort or pain.
Exactly what patients experience does vary, but most state that oral conscious sedation made them feel calmer, more relaxed and even a little drowsy. Any anxiety or fear is alleviated, and you are comfortably able to tolerate the appointment. Some patients also report feeling a tingling sensation passing through their body, including in their arms, hands, legs, and feet. The effects of oral conscious sedation are usually temporary and start to wear off within an hour or two of your appointment. However, it is recommended that patients have someone to drive them home and stay with them until they feel fully back to normal.
Although there is a small degree of risk attached to any sort of sedation, oral conscious sedation dentistry is considered to be extremely safe. Nevertheless, you’ll still need to have your suitability assessed by your dental team. Typically, people who are good candidates for oral conscious sedation dentistry have one or more of the following in common:
They are extremely scared of the dentist and suffer from symptoms such as nausea, shaking, numbness, palpitations, sweating and a racing heart when confronted with the prospect of a dental visit.
They are afraid of needles. A fear of needles can prevent the administration of local anesthetic which is needed for most dental treatments, from cavity fillings to root canal.
They have extremely sensitive teeth or gums, making sedation dentistry the best option for pain management.
They have a physical disability that makes it hard for them to tolerate dental treatment, such as being unable to sit still or to hold their mouth open for long periods.
They have a cognitive disability that may make it hard for them to follow instructions, such as to hold their mouth open.
Find out if you are a good candidate for oral conscious sedation dentistry, contact Above & Beyond Dental in Bedford, Texas at (817) 571-1667.