Sedation Dentistry – The Facts and Answers
The American Dental Association reports that anywhere from 30 million to 40 million Americans suffer from dental fear or dental anxiety so severe that it prevents them from seeking regular dental care. Unfortunately, avoiding checkups and cleanings can set the stage for an oral hygiene nightmare. Very often, people dealing with dental fear wait until their condition reaches the point that only invasive, emergency dental procedures can correct the situation. This, in turn, merely serves to reinforce the idea that visiting the dentist must be unpleasant. Many compassionate dentists offer a variety of sedation techniques to help patients suffering from dental fear and anxiety relax. Today, Dr. David Zelby, an Atlanta prosthodontist and licensed conscious sedation doctor, answers a few frequently asked questions about oral sedation.
How Does Oral Sedation Work?
Oral sedation refers to an extremely gentle form of sedation dentistry in which a single pill helps patients feel at ease during their appointment. The process begins when a licensed practitioner of conscious sedation prescribes you a single dose of an antianxiety medication, generally Halcyon or Valium. About an hour before your appointment begins, you take the dose of medication. By the time you settle into the dentist’s chair, you feel extremely relaxed and tranquil. For patients in need of a slightly higher level of sedation, most dentists can also administer nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. You will still feel the sedative effects after your appointment and will need to arrange for a trusted friend or family member to drive you home afterward.
What are the Benefits of Oral Sedation?
Oral sedation offers several advantages over other forms of sedation dentistry, including:
- Ease of use. While some patients cannot tolerate nitrous oxide because the mask makes them feel claustrophobic and others cannot deal with IV sedation because of an acute fear of needles, nearly all patients can handle swallowing a single pill.
- Appropriate for a variety of procedures from a routine cleaning to placing a crown.
- Has an amnesic effect, meaning that most patients have no unpleasant memories of their procedure.
Is Oral Sedation Dentistry Safe?
When administered by a licensed conscious sedation doctor, you can rest assured that you will be entirely safe during your procedure. Dentists with adequate training and certification know how much medication to prescribe for differing levels of anxiety and they know how to effectively monitor your vital signs to make sure you are stable. In general, sedation comes with the slight risk of respiratory depression. Dr. Zelby stresses that trained conscious sedation doctors will keep a constant check of your oxygen levels and breathing to ensure your maximum safety.
Oral Sedation Dentistry in Atlanta
If you have avoided visiting the dentist because of dental fear or anxiety, call Dr. David Zelby at (770) 955-0550. Dr. Zelby and the expert team at Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta can help you feel at ease while we return your smile to optimal health, function, and beauty. Our Atlanta dentist office proudly serves patients in Marietta, Smyrna, East Cobb, Buckhead, Vinings, and Metro Atlanta.