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Dental Anxiety – Does Sedation Dentistry Really Help?

Excerpt: Anxiety is a very common concern at dental clinics. We understand that going to the dentist isn’t exactly a vacation, and dentists are trained to deal with anxious patients.
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What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is what happens when the procedure may be too much for the patient to handle while they are conscious. This could be due to anxiety, increased sensitivity, or any number of valid reasons to use sedation. At Smiles Dental Group, we take the comfortability of our patients very seriously. We want the dentist to a pleasant, painless experience, so we use 3 different types of sedation methods. 

If a patient comes to our clinics and they need to be sedated to perform the operation you will be given either:


  • Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
  • Oral sedation (pills)
  • Intravenous (IV) Sedation
You may be given a combination of sedation methods depending on the situation at hand. Being sedated at the dentist is nothing to be concerned or embarrassed over if you feel that way. Actually, if you are the dentist will be able to complete operation faster, more safely, and with less hassle than if you were not sedated. Even when compared to another patient who does not qualify for sedation.

Anxiety is a very common concern at dental clinics. We understand that going to the dentist isn’t exactly a vacation, and dentists are trained to deal with anxious patients. If you ever experience dental anxiety, please tell your clinic so they can alleviate your concerns. At Smiles Dental Group, we offer dental sedation to help with dental anxiety. Not everyone who is anxious may need sedation, but it can be incredibly helpful for those who are in need.

Who Needs Sedation Dentistry?

People who are inflicted with the following may be more at risk of experiencing dental anxiety, and therefore they will be more qualified candidates.
  • Prone to being afraid of the dentist.
  • Past traumatic dental experiences.
  • Patients who are more resistant to local anesthetic
  • A sensitive gag reflex
  • Sensitive teeth
  • More complex dental problems
  • People who hate needles or shots
Dental Anxiety - Does Sedation Dentistry Really Help? - 1 - Smiles Dental Group

What are the benefits of sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry offers many benefits to both the patient, as well as the dentist. If the patients symptoms are really bad, the operation might not be able to proceed with out at least some form of sedation. Here are a few of the benefits of being sedated:
  • Patient relaxation
  • Increased comfort
  • Movement control
  • Patient co-operation
  • Control of gag reflex
  • Little or no memory of treatment
  • Time-saving (Fewer appointments needed)
Dental Anxiety - Does Sedation Dentistry Really Help? - 3 - Smiles Dental Group

How to prepare for Sedation At The Dentists Office

If you’re ever concerned about what to do when you’re about to be sedated, your dentist well let you know how you can prepare for the operation. Generally, you should follow these guidelines in advance of the appointment:

  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Avoid eating or drinking up to 8 hours prior to being sedated.
  • If you’re on medication, ask your dentist if you need to stop taking it beforehand.

You should also alert your dentist of anything your aware of physically before the sedation, these may include:

  • Current medication
  • Any known allergies
  • Any history of health issues (heart attack, stroke, etc.)

As long as you’re honest with the dentist, the dentist will do their best to complete the operation with as little discomfort as possible.

Dental Anxiety - Does Sedation Dentistry Really Help? - 5 - Smiles Dental Group

How safe is sedation dentistry?

Dentists have been sedating dentists for as long as sedation has been available. A good dentist will always try their best to complete the surgery while causing as little discomfort as they can to the patient. If the surgery cannot proceed unless the patient is sedated then they must have a way to proceed forward. At Smiles Dental Group, we use 3 different types of sedation just so we can handle any situation with ease while keeping the patient in there most comfortable state.
Dental Anxiety - Does Sedation Dentistry Really Help? - 7 - Smiles Dental Group

What types of sedation do we use?

Depending on how powerful the sedation needs to be, Smiles Dental Group has different types of sedation for different reasons:

Nitrous Oxide  

Nitrous Oxide is a very safe form of light sedation is also known as ‘laughing gas’. This method can relieve anxiety and increase the feeling of relaxation during the procedure. The patient is still completely awake and conscious. After the sedation is terminated, the effects of nitrous oxide do not last very long (several minutes at most). This unique characteristic of nitrous oxide use allows the patient to return to functioning normally soon after the appointment ends.

Oral Sedation

Oral Sedation is another way to achieve a sedation effect for dental procedures is by taking oral sedation pills that are prescribed to you by the dentist. During the procedure, the dentist will monitor the patient’s vital signs. Oral sedation can be combined with nitrous oxide to have an additive effect. The patient is still conscious and breathing on their own.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation 

This method is also considered another form of conscious sedation, however, the patient’s awareness of the procedure is minimal, and typically they cannot remember the procedure itself. Vital signs are monitored closely by a designated and trained clinical team member.
Dental Anxiety - Does Sedation Dentistry Really Help? - 9 - Smiles Dental Group

Conclusion on using sedation for patients

Not everyone needs to be sedated, in fact, if you don’t need to be sedated it’s better not to be. When dentists use sedation it’s meant to only be for those who absolutely need it. This promotes safe drug administration and helps us keep our patients safe. Our sedative drugs are very potent, there use is heavily governed by strict policies. 

If you feel you would need it due to any of the issues listed above, or something we might not of thought about, you can always ask your dentist for there input.
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