Dental anxiety and fear rank high on the list of common phobias. In fact, it has been reported that between 9 and 20 percent of Americans avoid the dentist completely because of their debilitating fear. In many cases, this fear stems from the perpetuated idea that visiting the dentist is painful or uncomfortable. It may also be the result of a traumatic dental experience in the past.
Oral health care is incredibly important for patients of all ages. By attending regular dental cleaning appointments, patients are much more likely to avoid developing oral health problems like cavities and gum disease and the many symptoms and side effects that come along with them.
Our doctors believe that nothing should stand in the way of a patient’s ability to achieve optimal oral health. Along with creating a comfortable and positive office environment, our dentists offer two sedation dentistry options to help relieve any dental fear you may have.
When is Sedation Dentistry Necessary?
Our dentists may recommend dental sedation to patients for the following reasons:
- Fear of needles
- High anxiety
- Low pain tolerance
- Trouble sitting still
- Long treatment times
Please tell one of our doctors if any of these pertain to your or your child. Dental sedation is safe for patients of all ages and provides ample benefits to those suffering from all levels of dental phobia.
Oral conscious sedation is the perfect solution for patients with mild to moderate dental fear or anxiety. Patients will pick up the prescription medication at their local pharmacy and abide by the dentist’s specific instructions on when to take it – usually about 30 to 60 minutes before the procedure.
Oral sedation does not eliminate pain, but it does create a feeling of relaxation. Dentists use this in conjunction with a local anesthetic, which numbs the treatment area. Throughout the procedure, the patient may feel slight pressure and tugging, but the sensations won’t be bothersome because of the sedation.
These effects wear off slowly, so patients must have a friend or family member to drive them home after their appointment.
You may know nitrous oxide by its more common name: laughing gas. Patients with severe dental anxiety – or those who are undergoing more invasive procedures – prefer nitrous oxide to other methods of dental sedation. It can even be used for children who find it difficult to sit still during dental procedures.
Dentists administer nitrous oxide to the patient right before the procedure. A mask is placed over the patient’s nose. As the patient inhales the gas, it produces a euphoric feeling that sometimes causes giggling. As long as the gas is being continually dispensed, the patient feels carefree and relaxed.
Once the dentist completes the procedure, he or she replaces the gas with 100 percent oxygen. This flushes the nitrous oxide from the patient’s system. Once the effects have fully diminished, patients can drive themselves home.
Experience Stress-Free Dentistry
Don’t let dental fear keep you from receiving the oral care you need. Our doctors are passionate about helping everyone achieve a healthy, beautiful smile through compassionate dental care. That’s why, in addition to sedation dentistry, we offer comfort items like neck pillows, aromatherapy, warm face towels, and lip balm. Come see what sets us apart at Rio Rancho Smiles. Call 505 994 9693 to schedule your appointment.