Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is one of the techniques dentists use to put patients at ease by controlling dental anxiety. It allows apprehensive patients to get crucial oral health care they may otherwise avoid. Oral sedation dentistry also enables your dentist to do their job more effectively, and this can mean fewer future appointments.

If you get anxious or fearful about visiting your Irving dentist, an oral sedative will make the experience much less of an ordeal. In this post, you’ll find out all you need to know about how oral sedation combats dental anxiety.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety results in many people putting their oral health at serious risk. Poor oral health can also affect your overall health. Infection may spread from the mouth to other areas of the body, including vital organs. Millions of Americans put off going to the dentist because of anxiety. Even more will only step inside a dental office when they feel it’s absolutely necessary.

People develop dental anxieties mainly through fear of pain, although modern dentistry is virtually pain free thanks to advances in dental technology, equipment, and techniques. Dental anxiety may be based on groundless fears but it’s still a very real state of mind for those alarmed at the prospect of dental treatment. In some individuals, dental anxiety is so intense it becomes a mental health disorder called dentophobia – an extreme and irrational fear of dentists.

How Oral Sedation Eases Dental Anxiety

Oral sedation induces a state of calm in dental patients who are tense, nervous, or anxious. It does this by slowing responses of the central nervous system. You’re aware of your surroundings and can respond to your dentist but are less concerned about being in the dental chair.

Oral sedatives also reduce the sense of pain, although local anesthetic is still administered in some procedures to numb the mouth and further minimize discomfort. As its official name suggests, with oral conscious sedation you remain awake but extremely relaxed.

The Oral Sedation Process

With oral sedation, you take a pill about an hour before your dental appointment. Negative feelings such as stress and anxiety then fade away. Before prescribing an oral sedative, your dentist will ask about any medications or supplements you’re currently taking. This avoids an adverse reaction to the sedative.

During your dental procedure, you may feel heaviness or tingling in your limbs because of the sedative. The dentist will monitor your vital signs. Recovery from oral sedation is typically fast, but you may feel lethargic for a while, and your ability to perform certain tasks may be impaired. Patients are usually advised to refrain from work or exercise for the rest of the day. Your dentist will make sure your blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate are normal before allowing you to go home. (You’ll need someone to drive you to and from your appointment).

What Drugs are Used in Oral Sedation?

If you suffer from dental anxiety, you may be wondering what’s in that pill your dentist prescribes for you to take ahead of your appointment.

Drugs in oral sedatives used by dentists are usually benzodiazepines, including:

  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Halcion
  • Ativan
  • Klonopin

While sedatives like barbiturates carry a risk of addiction and unpleasant side effects, benzodiazepines are not addictive and have minimal side effects.

Benefits of Oral Sedation Dentistry

With oral dental sedation, you simply take a pill. This makes oral sedation one of the most convenient and least intrusive ways of calming apprehensive patients. You’ll feel more relaxed before, during and after your dental procedure. Oral sedation produces a deeper level of relaxation than nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and you may remember little if anything about the procedure afterward. Unlike inhalation sedation, you don’t have to wear a face mask that may trigger feelings of claustrophobia.

And there’s no IV drip in your arm as with intravenous sedation. Avoiding injections is particularly beneficial if, like many people with dental anxiety, you also have a fear of needles (trypanophobia).

When you’re under sedation, your dentist can work more efficiently. This means less time in the dental chair and fewer appointments. Oral sedation dentistry also enables you to get more comprehensive dental care. If you have a pronounced gagging reflex, oral sedation will suppress this distressing reaction during the procedure. Oral sedation is also less costly than intravenous sedation.

Does Oral Sedation Have Any Disadvantages?

Oral sedatives are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so it’s very unlikely you’ll experience any serious side effects. And your dentist will thoroughly review your medical history to minimize the risk of complications. However, potential issues after oral sedation include headache and nausea.

Is Oral Sedation Right for You?

Despite advances in dentistry that have made procedures much more comfortable, dental anxiety remains a problem for many, and it can be difficult to deal with. Oral dental sedation provides a solution by relaxing you so you can get the dental care you need. An oral sedative can help you get through any dental procedure, from restorative treatments like dental implants to routine preventive measures like professional teeth cleaning.

Dental oral sedation overcomes a range of issues associated with dental anxiety. It could be right for you if:

  • You have a general anxiety disorder, or a phobia linked to dental procedures.
  • You’ve had an unpleasant experience in the dental chair in the past.
  • You have a small mouth, which can make dental work more difficult.
  • Your mouth is particularly sensitive.
  • You’re resistant to local anesthetic.
  • You have a fear of needles.
  • You dread the dental drill.
  • You need extensive dental work.

Oral Sedation Dentistry at Your Irving Dentist

We believe nothing should prevent people getting the oral health care they need, including individuals who find dental appointments distressing. Whatever your level of anxiety, oral sedation at Irving dentist Dental Concepts & Orthodontics can take a lot of the stress out of any dental procedure.

If the prospect of visiting the Irving dentist causes you emotional upheaval, with the help of oral sedation we can ensure you enjoy a better, more comfortable experience.