Do you put off going to your Winston-Salem dentist because of anxiety or a deep-seated fear? Dental anxiety and dental phobia are common problems that affect many people who would otherwise like to take care of their teeth. In fact, it is estimated that 9 percent to 15 percent of Americans avoid the dental treatment they need because of this kind of apprehension. This is unnecessary, and help is available. Dental treatment can be provided with conscious sedation, a safe and effective modality available through dentists with training in this area.
There are three different kinds of conscious sedation that can be performed in the outpatient dental office:
- Oral sedation. The patient typically takes an oral medication the night before the dental appointment and again an hour before the procedure. Because it is not possible to regulate the level of sedation very precisely, our goal is to obtain mild sedation which can induce comfort and relaxation. As with all types of conscious sedation, you are always awake (conscious) and breathing on your own. You should not drive after having oral sedation.
- Nitrous Oxide Sedation. This is a type of conscious, inhalation sedation which will induce a state of relaxation in most patients. The gas you breathe is mostly oxygen, but the combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas can produce very good anxiety control. This type of sedation requires breathing through a nose mask. The effect of nitrous oxide begins rapidly, and it goes away quickly at the end of the appointment. Patients can drive after nitrous oxide sedation unless oral sedative medications are also used.
- Intravenous (IV) Sedation. With IV conscious sedation, the medications are administered through an IV into the bloodstream, and the effects are immediate. IV sedation is effective at easing the anxiety of even the most fearful patient, and it is ideal when there is a lot of work to be done at one time. With this type of sedation, the level or amount of sedation can be gradually increased and is readily controlled by the dentist. The safety record is excellent. An added benefit with IV sedation is that it reduces the recall or memory of most of the procedure. Patients must have a responsible adult to drive them home after the procedure, and you cannot drive or work the rest of that day.
Enlighten Dental is one of the few general dental offices in Winston-Salem that offers IV conscious sedation for adults. Dentists who administer IV sedation must have special training beyond dental school and be certified by the state. Dr. Lee Salisbury worked in a hospital setting for 18 years and has over 30 years of experience with all types of conscious sedation.
Is sedation dentistry right for you? If you continuously postpone, delay or completely avoid dental treatment because you’re afraid, contact Enlighten Dental to discuss whether sedation dentistry can help you accomplish your goal of healthy teeth and gums!