Some people can sit in the dentist chair and endure almost any procedure without much more than the local anesthetic injected in their gums. Other people cringe at hearing the sound of the drill while sitting in the waiting room. If going to the dentist causes your anxiety levels to skyrocket, here are the ways your dentist can make it a more comfortable experience.
This is a gas that your dentist will have you breath in through a face mask. This is a form of sedation dentistry because it relaxes your body, but it doesn't make you unconscious. There is some pain relief from the gas so, combined with the local anesthetic, you'll feel no pain from the procedure. Once you stop breathing the gas, its effects stop and you recover from it quickly, making it a safe form of sedation to use as an outpatient in the dentist's clinic.
For a deeper level of sedation, you may be given a medication that lets you stay conscious through a procedure, but on the edge of sleep. These medications are still safe for use as an outpatient because they don't affect your heart rate or breathing. You may be given a pill or an IV may be used to inject short bursts of the medication into your body. This sedation wears off quickly, leaving no side effects. Even though you stay conscious during the procedure, you won't remember anything about it when you wake up.
This level of sedation requires a hospital stay. It involves anesthetics that affect your heart and respiration, so these must be constantly monitored. An anesthesiologist must administer the medications for your dentist and watch your heart rate and respiration throughout the procedure. This level of sedation will only be used for more intense dental procedures such as wisdom teeth removal or surgery on your jaw for temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ). You will likely stay in the hospital overnight to make sure you've fully recovered from this anesthesia.
Distraction Versus Sedation
Sometimes, simply taking your focus off of the procedure can make you less anxious. Some dentist offices offer a variety of ways that you can distract yourself while the dentist does their work. Some of these options include:
- headphones with your choice of music
- movies and videos you can watch during the procedure
- access to eBooks to read
Your dentist has a number of ways to help you get through your appointment without causing you stress. Talk with them about what combination of approaches will help you to have a comfortable time in the dentist chair. For more information, contact a company like The Center For Progressive Dentistry.