Being afraid of the dentist is very common. According to Colgate, up to 15% of people in the United States don't go to the dentist due to dental phobias. However, routine dentist appointments are one way that you can keep your teeth healthy. If you're too anxious to visit the dentist, these four dental sedation options might be able to help you:
1. Nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide is one of the lightest forms of sedation you can undergo. When you get to the dentist's office, they'll put a mask over your nose which will pump a mixture of nitrous oxide and pure oxygen into your lungs. This medicine is an anxiolytic which will help you feel relaxed and calm. You may even feel the need to giggle. Nitrous oxide is appealing to many patients since it doesn't have lingering effects. As soon as the mask is removed from your face, you'll have a clear head again, which means you'll be able to drive yourself home.
2. Oral sedation
Oral sedation is another option. It's stronger than nitrous oxide, but it's still a minimally invasive route. With this option, your dentist will prescribe you an anxiolytic pill to take before your dentist appointment. Typically, you'll take the medicine an hour before your dentist visit to give it time to work. The downside is that you will need a friend or family member to give you a ride to and from the dentist's office.
3. IV Sedation
IV sedation can be performed at sedation dentistry clinics. You'll be awake for your procedure, but before beginning, your dentist will place an IV line and use it to give you medicine that will relax you. You'll feel calm throughout your dentist appointment, but you'll still be able to respond to requests that your dentist gives you.
4. General anesthesia
For most procedures, your dentist wouldn't put you under general anesthesia, since it can carry some risks. However, it's an option if you're a very nervous patient and need extensive dental work done. If you need multiple teeth extracted, as in the case of wisdom teeth removal, general anesthesia might be the right level of sedation for you. Make sure to discuss the risks and benefits with your dentist if you're interested in this option.
Dental care is an important part of maintaining good overall health. Don't let your dental phobia keep you from visiting your dentist. Instead, consider sedation dentistry as a treatment option. For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Summit Oral Surgery.