Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Health Care and Dental Sedation

If you are one of the many people who have a fear of dental work, then consider dental sedation when you visit your dentist. Dental sedation is used for those individuals who are very afraid of having dental work done, regardless of their age. Sedation dentistry is used to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for certain people receiving dental treatment. It enables individuals too afraid to go to the dentist to receive the dental care they need while avoiding the common apprehension known as dental phobia. According to to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS Education), a professional dental organization dedicated to ensuring that patients receive safe, comfortable and anxiety-free dental care, 30 percent of the population avoids the dentist due to fear. This all-too-common “dental phobia” prevents people from receiving necessary routine dental care, potentially compromising the health and functionality of their mouth and smile, as noted by http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/.

According to DentalFearCentral.org, there can be a conflict between your dental fears, on the one hand, and your need for control on the other. If you choose sedation, this pretty much eliminates your anxiety about discomfort or pain from the dental procedures, if that's what you're afraid of. Or, if you're afraid of a panic attack while sitting in the dentist's chair, sedation might eliminate that fear, too. But if you want to be consulted if anything unusual comes up, or if you're more generally worried about not being in control of proceedings, "sleep dentistry" may be a hindrance rather than a help. It may be worth discussing inhalation sedation (laughing gas) with your dentist if you don't like the idea of loss of memory for the procedure, and if some sense of control is important to you. What you choose will depend on what you believe is most important.  Most people have some degree of ambivalence about being in control of, or aware during, a delicate or potentially painful situation, medical or dental. You and your dentist should discuss whether the procedure would be uncomfortable or distressing to you. It may be useful to talk to others who have undergone the procedure. For a few reasons it may be wise to have a friend or family member present during the procedure. This may ensure that your basic dignity and privacy are not compromised. Also the dentist may relate useful information to them during the procedure.

Sedation is a process used to establish a relaxed, easy and calm state through the use of sedatives, according to Your Dentistry Guide. Sedative drugs (tranquillizers, depressants, anti-anxiety medications, nitrous oxide, etc.) can be administered in a variety of ways. In the past, intravenous (IV) sedation – sedatives delivered via injection into the blood vessels of the hand or arm – was predominantly used to sedate a dental patient. IV sedation is both safe and effective when administered by a trained professional. Today, however, sedation dentistry has evolved to be even more conducive to a relaxing experience. Patients have alternatives to the traditional modalities of inhalation (nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”) and IVs, such as those offering a "no needle” (meaning, no injection) approach that many people find more appealing. Oral sedation dentistry is now the most common technique used in the United States and Canada to quell patient fears. The technique is easy and requires no needles. Best of all, the medications create such a comfortable experience that most patients do not remember the visit; it is as if they slept through the treatment. In reality, oral sedation dentistry maintains a level of consciousness in the patient for safety and cooperation. To learn more, visit http://www.sedationcare.com/ . Note that sedation is different from anesthetic injections. Although some forms of sedation (such as nitrous oxide gas) may raise your threshold for pain, most dental treatments still require a local anesthetic injected in the mouth, even when sedation dentistry techniques are performed.

According to MySedationDentistry.com, the procedure for sedation involves three different degrees of depressing the central nervous system and can range from minimal to moderate to deep sedation. When sedation dentists administer minimal sedation, the patient has reduced anxiety, but can still respond verbally and physically to his surroundings. In moderate sedation, the patient is even more relaxed, but will respond only to a larger stimulus in his environment. In deep sedation, the patient usually does not who any signs of consciousness and is not responsive to anything going on in his local environment. Oral sedation dentistry offers the flexibility of all three sedation states, depending on the level of anxiety of the patient. What usually happens is a dentist will give a patient a prescription for a sedative to be taken the night before the procedure is scheduled. The sedative serves two purposes: 1) It helps the patient to get a good sleep during the night, and 2) it ensures the patient will wake up relaxed for the procedure. This is considered a no-needle approach. The patient can either take whole pills or allow the dentist to give the pills to him sublingually (under the tongue). Drugs taken sublingually in sedative dentistry get to the bloodstream much quicker.
 
Dentists who administer the meds used during conscious sedation dentistry have usually already measured the safety of these drugs on the therapeutic index, according to My Sedation Dentistry. The larger the med measures on the scale, the safer it is. Because some of the meds make you remember little after you take them, they are sometimes lumped into a category called “comfort dentistry” or “relaxation dentistry.” The terms are meant to describe how patients feel after taking the meds: free of fear and quite relaxed. Sedation in dentistry requires that a dentist knows which drug is appropriate for weight, height and level of anxiety. Some of the drugs a patient will take are given after he arrives for the procedure and after he has taken the sedative pill the night before. Those drugs might include laughing gas (also call nitrous oxide), valium, Ativan, Sonata and a few others. They take a while to wear off after the procedure, so the patient may need someone to drive him home. The patient may also experience an amnesic side effect and not remember much, but memory does return

One of the major benefits of sedation dentistry is that people often feel like their dental procedure lasts only a few minutes, when in fact it might have taken hours to perform. Therefore, complex dental procedures such as smile makeovers or extensive rebuilding procedures that normally require multiple visits can often be performed in fewer appointments. If you are reluctant to change the appearance of your smile because you are afraid or anxious about undergoing long or complicated dental procedures, sedation dentistry can make you feel comfortable during the treatment process and help you achieve a smile you can be proud of. Also, because sedation dentistry addresses some of the fears that keep people from going to the dentist on a regular basis, sedation dentistry patients are more likely to receive recommended routine care. As a result, they are less likely to neglect their oral health or allow oral health problems to build to the point when drastic dental treatments become necessary, according to Your Dentistry Guide.
 
Dental sedation is definitely a great option for many people, but it is not for everyone. Plus, depending on where you live, sedation may not be widely offered - and it's more expensive. If you suffer with dental phobia, it can be very disconcerting, if not scary, to read statements along the lines of "the only way people like you can be treated is when you're sedated". Not true in most cases! So, according to Dental Fear Central, don't have a nervous breakdown if you can't avail of it - generally speaking, pain can be controlled extremely well with the use of local anaesthetic, and anxiety can often be controlled using psychological methods. However, if you have an instinctive feeling that behavioural methods can't help you, make sure you seek out a dentist who offers sedation. Many dentists who offer sedation simply do so as an adjunct to empathetic treatment, to patients who desire to know as little as possible of the procedure or who want to get things fixed in the least amount of time possible. However, there are also some who offer it because they lack the people skills needed to make frightened clients feel at ease.

It’s important to know that a visit to the dentist can be a positive experience, even when treatment is necessary. Millions of Americans, nearly 30%, are afraid of the dentist. They avoid dental care at all costs, even when they are in pain or discomfort, according to SedationCare.com. But it no longer has to be that way. Modern dentistry offers safe, effective, and comfortable treatments to anxious and fearful patients. Dental fear is a hidden phobia, like many people, you may be embarrassed to admit your fears and even more afraid to confront them. Often times not even your loved ones are aware of your apprehension. Worse yet, you may have never known that sedation care is an option. When you talk with your dentist, look at the options with the office for this procedure if you feel you need it to help calm your anxiety. There are various considerations, but make the choice that best suits your dental health. After all, it's your smile. Take care of it, and your teeth and gums will thank you.

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

38 comments:

Eddie said...

I have to give it to my Atlanta sedation dentist. A series of traumatic dental espacades from my childhood made me so afraid of the dentist for many years. But then, it just took a very sharp, painful toothache to finally get me to the dentist. My sister explained to our dentist the intense fear I was having, and so, I was consciously sedated.

I was very relaxed, apparently because of the IV, while the dentist was doing the treatment on my tooth. Good thing that my sister trusts the sedation dentist. Atlanta, the dentist said, has a handful of duly accredited dentists who implements sedation.

Joel said...

I may have an unusual fear of this dentistry stuff. At one hand, I'm afraid of the dental procedures and the pain these will bring me. At the other, I'm also afraid of being sedated. What if something comes up and I'm all unaware?

But then, I really can't neglect my dental health, right? Next week, I'll be getting my dental implants. Chicago's dentists fortunately are multi-skilled, certified, and surely know how to do these right. And yeah, I opted for sedation dentistry (Chicago clinic, nevertheless).

Aurea said...

A lot of people are really not aware of sedation dentistry, maybe coz' they don't have regular check-ups with their dentists. Ft. Lauderdale residents on the other hand are very conscious with their dental appearance and hygiene, especially women who usually want whiter teeth. But whatever needs and wants we have, it's a must that we see our personal dentist. In Fort Lauderdale, FL, kids are trained at their very young age to see dentists, so that they would not acquire dental difficulties.

Jack Mason said...

Thanks for this. I was looking into dental sedation and was recommended to this place: http://bitedental.com/. What do you think?

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Bite Bank said...

Our professional team of Quebec dentist offer oral conscious sedation, known as sedation dentistry to the patients, who feels very anxious before dentistry treatment.

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Adair Argo said...

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