Modern local anesthesia can completely numb an area during dental treatment, eliminating the sensation of pain. However, knowing this often isn’t enough for anxious patients. Pain-relievers are powerless against the feeling of fear and its physical symptoms.
At Hometown Family Dental Centers — with convenient locations in Fayetteville, Raeford, and Vass, North Carolina — our dentists deliver gold-standard care in a comforting setting. We have various sedation options available to ensure even those with extreme dental anxiety can get the oral care they need.
Sedation dentistry offers a better way to experience anxiety-inducing dental treatments. Depending on the severity of your fear and the complexity and duration of the necessary treatment, you and your dentist can decide on one of the three forms of sedation.
What kinds of sedation treatments are available?
Many patients tell us that they haven’t been to the dentist in a long time out of fear. Some are ashamed of their teeth and their fear of dentists. These phobias are more common than you think. At Hometown Family Dental Centers, we offer three types of sedation dentistry to help you through your dental visit.
Nitrous oxide is an odorless gas that’s sometimes called laughing gas because it has a euphoric effect in small doses. Don’t worry, though. You won’t be giggling in the dentist’s chair. Your provider uses a precise dosage to bring you to deep relaxation while helping you maintain a positive mood.
Nitrous oxide relaxes and relieves fear, and it even has a somewhat anesthetic effect. The excellent efficacy, safety, and tolerability of nitrous oxide sedation have made it the No. 1 sedation dentistry method in the United States for adults and children of all ages. You can remain on nitrous oxide for as long as a dental procedure takes; the effects don’t decrease, so you have nothing to fear throughout your treatment.
Taking a pill before your appointment to help with dental anxiety is also a popular sedation dentistry method. Active substances from the group of benzodiazepines are often used for oral sedation, including diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax). Oral sedation allows you to stay awake and fully conscious.
Sedatives administered in small doses have an anti-anxiety effect and are physically and mentally relaxing. You’ll likely feel a bit tired, indifferent, and pleasantly distant. You may only have limited memory of what happened during your dental visit. This can also be very desirable for anxious patients.
Even if you don’t remember anything from the treatment, oral sedation still allows you to hear what the dentist says and, if necessary, answer questions or respond to instructions. You breathe independently, and you don’t lose control of your muscles.
The calming effect of oral sedation usually lasts a few hours, even beyond your appointment, so you need to arrange for someone to drive you home after your dental procedure.
The strongest sedation is a fast-acting sedative that your provider administers intravenously. If necessary, IV sedation is given in combination with a pain reliever.
IV sedation provides significantly deeper sedation than you have with oral sedatives or nitrous oxide. The desired state can be described as sleeping, where you feel as though you’re in a dream. Most patients don’t remember their procedure.
You continue to breathe independently, and you retain your body's protective reflexes. For example, you can still cough and swallow when enough fluid collects at the base of your tongue. IV sedation works exceptionally well in patients with an overly sensitive gag reflex.
Take advantage of sedation dentistry
Each type of sedation is different. Our Hometown Family Dental Centers team is here to answer your questions and ensure the most comfortable dental treatment possible. Don’t let dental phobia prevent you from getting the dental care you need. Call us, or use our online request tool, to make an appointment today to discuss sedation dentistry options.