Countless millions of people are afraid to visit the dentist. Whether it is because of a past bad experience or they cannot explain why they fear dental work, they dread the thought of professional oral health care. Fortunately, sedation dentistry has helped many people to conquer their fears and be at ease regardless of what their dentist is doing in their mouth. Still, you might have concerns about sedation — is it really safe?
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Nitrous oxide is a gas that you breathe in through your nose. It produces an immediate relaxing effect. It wears off quickly following your appointment, even allowing you to drive home on your own.
For the vast majority of people, including young children, nitrous oxide is very safe. At the dentist’s office, it is mixed with oxygen, which can prevent the serious side effects that some people experience when they illegally use nitrous oxide for recreation. Your dentist will also be sure to ask you if you have any health problems, such as chronic pulmonary disease, that may make it unwise for you to use this form of sedation. Furthermore, since the dentist can adjust your level of nitrous oxide throughout your procedure, there is little to no risk of overdose.
Oral Conscious Sedation
With oral conscious sedation, you take a sedative in the form of a pill shortly before your appointment begins. Its relaxing effects are even greater than that of nitrous oxide.
Texas requires that dentists obtain a permit before they administer oral conscious sedation (or other forms of sedation) to their patients. Therefore, you can be sure that any dentist who offers this service has undergone training in how to prescribe appropriate doses of the various medications that are used for it. They also know how to monitor patients closely for any signs that the sedative is causing a problem.
This is the most powerful form of sedation dentistry, and relatively few dentists are able to administer it. It’s suited for patients with severe dental anxiety or who need very extensive work done.
If your dental professional offers IV sedation, you can be confident that they’re well-educated in how to administer it safely. During your dental procedure, a team will keep a close eye on your heart rate, breathing, and other vital signs.
The Bottom Line on Sedation Dentistry
There is no such thing as a risk-free medical or dental procedure. However, when you place yourself in the hands of a capable, experienced professional, there is no reason for you to be afraid of sedation dentistry. There are very few serious risks associated with it.
If you still have concerns about sedation, don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist about what’s on your mind. After you discuss your concerns with a professional, you can make a confident and informed decision about whether sedation dentistry is the right way for you to conquer your dental anxiety.
About the Author
Dr. Sheri Mcintosh places a high value on the comfort and trust of her patients. She is an expert in various forms of sedation dentistry, including nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. If you would like to talk to her about how you can relax during your next appointment, contact our office at 817-337-8300.