Every dentist understands that a lot of people experience fear and anxiety at the thought of going to the dentist. At Valley Ridge Dental Centre, we also know that far too many people are skipping important dental care because of that fear and anxiety. While that’s understandable, it’s unnecessary. If you’re living with dental problems or missing out on routine dental care because of anxiety or fear, sedation dentistry may be the solution you need to ensure your health despite your fear.
Sedation dentistry helps you to relax with the use of sedative medications to minimize your experience of fear and anxiety. Sedation dentistry is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The staff at your dental office in NW Calgary is able to offer sedation formats and strengths that are tuned precisely to the level of your anxiety and the scope and duration of the treatment you will receive. Each different type of sedation offers different advantages. Here’s a brief introduction to each option.
“Laughing gas” — more accurately referred to as nitrous oxide — is mixed with oxygen and inhaled to produce a mild sedative effect that is safe for patients of all ages and that dissipates quickly. It provides the shallowest level of sedation amongst these options:
Oral sedation offers a deeper level of sedation than nitrous oxide, but even with oral sedation you will remain awake at all times. Your dentist in NW Calgary will provide a tablet to take either the night before your appointment or shortly before treatment is to start. If you’re to undergo treatment with the relaxing benefit of oral sedation, be sure to make arrangements for a ride home. Because oral sedation doesn’t wear off as quickly as laughing gas, you won’t be able to drive yourself for a time.
Intravenous (IV) sedation
Patients with very significant levels of dental anxiety and fear or who are going to undergo lengthy and/or complex dental procedures may receive IV sedation. During IV sedation, sedative drugs are administered into your vein through an IV line. Throughout your treatment, the staff providing sedation dentistry in NW Calgary will monitor your vital signs and level of sedation continuously and make adjustments as required. Intravenous sedation takes the longest of these options to wear off, but is the best option for the most extreme or complex situations.
When is sedation dentistry a good idea?
If any of the following items describes you, you may benefit from be treated with sedation dentistry in NW Calgary:
- Problems sitting still for as long as may be required
- Significant pain sensitivity
- A gag reflex that is particularly sensitive
- Anxiety or fear related to any of the anticipated sensations associated with dental treatment, including anticipated vibrations, smells, sights or sounds
- An acute sensitivity to muscle tightness or soreness around your face, neck, throat and jaw
Sedation dentistry is also a valuable option for families considering how to treat children, adolescents, and teens with development, emotional, or mental disabilities that may affect their ability to stay still or to tolerate even routine dental treatment.
Answers to common questions about sedation dentistry
Sedation dentistry is not appropriate for everyone. Whether it’s appropriate for you can only be determined after a careful review of your medical history, level of anxiety, and current medications.
Don’t eat or drink during the six hours before receiving treatment under sedation from a sedation dentist near you. Depending on the timing of your appointment and other factors, your dentist — but only your dentist — may vary this guideline.
You should take time off from any professional and caregiving commitments immediately after undergoing sedation under dentistry because the effects of sedative will take time to wear off and you may need time to recover from the treatment you receive under sedation. As for how long to take off, you should ask your dentist that question. At minimum, arrange to take the balance of the day off from any responsibilities.
Dental anxiety and fear do not need to interfere with your receipt of either routine dental care or urgent dental treatment. Whatever your circumstances, give your dental office in NW Calgary a chance to ease your anxiety and fear to ensure you get the care you need.