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What keeps you from going to the dentist?

Is it because you have a strong gag reflex? Do you have a limited amount of time to complete your dental treatment due to a busy schedule? Or are you like millions of Americans who are terrified of the dentist? For some people, a trip to the dentist is not a big deal. For others, however, the mere thought of the dental office is enough to cause high levels of stress, anxiety and even fear. There are actually a lot of different people who fall into this second category. You’ll find them avoiding the dentist at any cost and choosing to endure agonizing pain rather than have a dental procedure performed. This anxiety has lead to a lot of unnecessary tooth decay and gum disease. For these people, there is a solution. In recent years, sedation dentistry has become a common practice in many dental offices, allowing those who are anxious about or scared of the dentist to receive the care they need. Well, your solution is here.

It’s called sedation dentistry.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

sedation-dentistryFor the longest time, people have avoided going to the dentist for many reasons, whether it be high fear of the dentist from traumatic experiences, difficulty getting numb, or just being afraid or embarrassed about the condition of their teeth. Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. Because different people have different levels of dental anxiety or fear, there are different levels of sedation that can be administered by a qualified dentist. The general levels of sedation used in dentistry are:

  • Minimal Sedation – the patient is awake but relaxed; depending on the level of sedation, they may be able to drive themselves home
  • Moderate Sedation – sometimes called conscious sedation; the patient is less aware than with minimal sedation; they may slur their words and have difficulty remembering the procedure
  • Deep Sedation – the patient is on the edge of consciousness but can still generally be awakened if necessary
  • General Anesthesia – the patient is completely unconscious during the procedure and cannot be easily awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off

These procedures are achieved through the use of sedatives, which include:

  • Tranquilizers
  • Depressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Nitrous oxide

Keep in mind that sedation dentistry is not a substitute for local anesthetic. If the procedure causes pain or discomfort, a local numbing agent will typically be used in addition to the sedatives. Sedation dentistry is the best thing to happen to the dental field in the last ten years. It allows patients to get the treatment they need all while being in a comfortable and relaxed environment and state of mind. This also allows your dentist to give you the best care in a safe and timely manner.

Sedation dentistry is also a good idea for young children who display fear about seeing the dentist, or who simply have difficulty cooperating or sitting still during an appointment. Nitrous oxide is a safe measure to take with young children, and it can be administered by virtually any dentist. Oral sedation is also an option for children, the amount of which being kept within the child’s age and weight range.

How Does it Work?

jaw painThere are two forms of sedation dentistry: enteral and parenteral.

Enteral sedation is administered orally or any way that can end up in your G.I. tract.

Parenteral sedation is administered straight into your bloodstream, usually through I.V.

Both forms of sedation are conscious sedation, which means that you are not completely asleep. This also means you do not have an expensive bill for an anesthesiologist, and it also takes a shorter amount of time to recover.

Our Idaho Falls sedation dentistry is safe and professional. We provide sedation for anyone with fear or anxiety about dental exams, cleanings, fillings, or any other procedure. You may want to seek sedation dentistry in Idaho Falls if you:

  • Are prone to anxiety
  • Have sensitive teeth
  • Have low pain tolerance
  • Require a large amount of dental work
  • Have difficulty sitting still at the dentist’s office

Anesthesia and Sedation Dentistry

Using anesthetic helps to ease the discomfort experienced during oral surgery or a dental procedure. It helps not just with the pain, but in controlling the patient’s breathing, blood flow, blood pressure, and heart rate and rhythm. It works by blocking the pain, relaxing the patient, making the patient sleepy, and surgery makes the patient unconscious for the procedure, which while not making it completely painless afterward it makes the process much more comfortable.

Not all procedures require the same type of anesthesia, after all, simple tooth cleaning would hardly require putting the patient completely out for it. For minor procedures, the dentist uses local anesthesia. It numbs a small and focused part of the mouth, and while the patient is completely awake they cannot feel any discomfort. For more complex procedures the dentist may opt for a regional anesthetic. This works by numbing a larger part of the patient’s body, either through peripheral nerve blocks or epidural and spinal anesthesia. Finally, for surgery, patients get given a general anesthetic which helps to put the patient ‘under’, effectively numbing the patient’s brain and body. As a result, the patient is completely unconscious during the procedure.

Lasers and Sedation Dentistry

No injection, no drill, and no fear when going to the dentist sound a bit too good to be true? When it comes to lasers and dental procedures, not necessarily! Approved by the FDA lasers have been successfully used dental procedures since 1994. During the last two decades of use, lasers are taking their rightful place into procedures that were previously usually reserved for drills and other dental tools. Today, dentists use lasers to treat tooth decay by removing the decay within a tooth and preparing the surrounding tooth tissue for the filling. Lasers are also used to quickly harden fillings making the recovery time much faster and more pleasant.

Air Abrasion – No Drill, No Fear

Air abrasion is a technique used by some dentists to remove decay without the use of a drill and to perform various other procedures. The dentist uses an instrument similar to a small sandblaster to spray a fine stream of particles at the diseased part of the tooth. As the particles blown by the compressed air hit the decay, parts of it are removed by tube suction.

Pocatello Dentist

Besides the lack of the dreaded sound, there are a lot of other advantages from this technique. In most cases, an anesthetic is not required and it also reduces the risk of additional damage to the tooth through chipping or fractures. It also protects the healthy tooth tissue, making sure it remains healthy longer. The procedure is quite straightforward and while it can take longer than drilling, it leaves the tooth dry, which helps when filling the tooth. The disadvantages of air abrasions are few, and mostly concern the restrictions on its use, as it cannot usually be used for deep cavities or for the preparation of crowns, inlays, and onlays.

If you are one of those who experience stress, anxiety or fear in relation to the dentist, sedation dentistry could be right for you. Sedation is used to help you relax so that your dentist can perform the procedures you need. If you have a high level of fear, sedation may actually be the only way you are able to have dental work done. While sedation dentistry is not right for everyone, it is a good solution for people who have a fear of the dentist, traumatic dental experiences, a bad gag reflex, very sensitive teeth, traumatic dental experiences, or complex dental problems. So, if visiting the dentist is one of the hardest things you have to do, you should talk to your dentist to find out if sedation dentistry is right for you. It might just change the way you look at dental appointments.

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