Do you feel uneasy about going to the dentist? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. In fact, millions of Americans feel so nervous at the dentist they avoid going altogether. Fortunately, ways to calm those nerves to get you through your dental appointment are now widely available. One option is sleep dentistry, also known as conscious sedation.
Sleep dentistry is now popularly used to help address dental anxiety. But contrary to its name, sleep dentistry won't actually put patients to sleep. It makes use of sedatives and pain relievers that will put them into a relaxed or sleep-like state.
Sleep dentistry is often used as an anti-anxiety agent to help keep dental patients calm during dental visits, and is frequently used along with local anesthetics. Sleep dentistry can help you:
- Relax and calm your nerves
- Feel a little more comfortable with the dental procedure
- Avoid restlessness as you go through a long procedure
- Control a bad gag reflex
The goal of sedation dentistry is to minimize pain and discomfort during dental treatment. But unlike deep sedation, where dentists use general anesthesia, conscious sedation dentistry enables you to respond to speech or touch, so you can communicate any discomfort to your sedation dentist.
Aside from conscious sedation dentistry and general anesthesia, there are other types of sedation dentists use:
Inhalation Sedation -- Also known as nitrous oxide or laughing gas.
Oral Sedation -- Oral sedation drugs are usually taken either the night before the treatment or immediately before the dental appointment.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation -- IV Sedation is administered through the veins to get the sedative directly to your blood stream.