Does the whirring of a drill turn your breath shallow and rapid? Do you dig your nails deep into the leather armrests of the dental chair? Does the slurping sound of the suction hose leave you feeling a bit nauseated?
If so, you may just have dental anxiety. But you’re not the only one.
Dentists estimate that about 9% to 15% of Americans experience dental anxiety or phobia, and it is because of this fear of visiting the dentist that many people fail to receive the dental care that they really need.
However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel – and it isn’t the operatory light.
We are proud to offer Sedation Dentistry here at WhiteWing Dental. If even just a simple tooth cleaning makes you feel queasy, IV sedation can be the perfect solution for proper dental care and is a great treatment plan for special need patients.
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What is IV sedation dentistry?
Intravenous Sedation is categorized as a general anesthesia, meaning being “put to sleep”, but this is just the official definition.
Technically, while under the effects of IV sedation, the patient generally does not fall asleep but is instead in a deep state of relaxation. Under this level of sedation, the patient is capable of answering questions and complying with requests from the dentist.
You might be thinking, “If I am conscious, then what’s the point? I want to be comfortable and not remember a dental procedure.”
Although you may remain conscious – depending on the level of sedation dentistry required – your memory faculty of the brain is temporarily turned off, resulting in a temporary amnesia. Until it wears off, which is normally within 24 hours. During this period, you won’t be fully aware of the operation or services taking place.
When is IV sedation used?
The sedation dentistry can be used for any particular task, from a simple cleaning to removing wisdom teeth. Generally speaking, it is primarily used for relieving patients from worry.
Sedation dentistry is also a great option for special need patients and children that need dental care.
If you have had traumatizing dental experiences, have high levels of fear, very sensitive teeth, or even a bad gag reflex, IV sedation dentistry may be a great tool to ease your worries and help you to receive proper dental care.
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This sounds too good to be true. Is it safe?
Yes, IV sedation dentistry is safe, and is considered extremely safe when carried out by someone who is properly trained like our professionals here at WhiteWing Dental.
Our experienced and specially certified dentists monitor vital signs like heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and oxygenation. The certification process itself is to ensure that all safety precautions are taken and adhered to.
Yet professional qualifications aren’t the only safe nets IV sedation dentistry has. Qualified dentists slowly titrate the solution into the patient’s system, monitoring in real time the effectiveness of the sedative and adding more or less medication as needed to achieve the desired effect during a dental procedure.
What exactly is in the sedative?
What makes the IV sedation work are benzodiazepines. Otherwise known as “benzos,” these are widely used as anti-anxiety medications and do just that: relieve patients of anxiety associated with dental care.
This means that your worries of pain, drilling, picking, cleaning, scraping, or any other fear are diminished. In just the blink of an eye, your procedure is done, and it’s time to go home.
Not on your own, of course.
Things to watch out for.
Even though the procedure itself is safe, patients are still impaired.
That is why it is recommended that once your procedure has been completed, it is important that you have someone escort you out of the office and drive you home.
If possible, have someone available to watch over you until you are fully alert. Better yet, it would be best if you stayed away from the wheel or any strenuous activity for the rest of the day. Resting is very important.
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If you experience nausea, lie down and sip a soda. Also, avoid eating a heavy meal immediately after an operation. Instead, opt for something light like broths or toast.
It is also extremely vital that you avoid alcohol or any other medications for the rest of the day. If need be, consult with your dentist and general physician about the use of daily medications or any complications in general.