For some patients, just the thought of sitting in the dentist's chair can be enough to trigger a panic attack. Others have extreme phobias that prevent them from even making an appointment to get their teeth cleaned. Others can be especially sensitive to any work being done on their mouths. Fortunately, with sedation dentistry at our Atlanta office, patients can now relax through any procedure. The name might suggest that the patient is unconscious, but this is rarely the case. We offer different methods and degrees of sedation to alleviate your anxiety and allow for maximum comfort during treatment. If you would like to learn more about how sedative options can help you achieve improved oral health, please contact our office to make an appointment with Dr. Donald Ross, Dr. Neal Shah or Dr. David Kim.
Understanding Dental Phobia and Anxiety
It is estimated that approximately 10% of the U.S. population avoids going to the dentist due to anxiety or dental phobia. Dental anxiety is characterized by fears associated with going to the dentist that are greatly exaggerated and may become overwhelming to think about. Many of these patients will often avoid making appointments or end up canceling them.
Similarly, patients who suffer from severe dental phobia may become panic-stricken at just the thought of going to see the dentist. It is not uncommon for patients to experience insomnia in the days leading up to an appointment or to feel physically ill upon arriving at their dentist's office. Many patients with dental phobia have been avoiding the dentist for years, even when they are in need of general or restorative care. As a result, many suffer from periodontal disease, halitosis, and decaying teeth, which can compromise their ability to chew and speak properly.
We offer a range of techniques and levels of sedation. We can suggest an appropriate option based on the severity of your anxiety as well as the extent of the procedure you need to undergo. For these reasons, finding the appropriate degree of sedation will be different for each individual patient.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a form of conscious inhalation sedation. It is referred to as an anxiolytic form of sedation, meaning that it is a light level of sedation that relieves anxiety and allows the patient to relax. The patient is awake and typically will remember the entire procedure, but remain in a relaxed state throughout treatment.
Oral sedatives produce conscious sedation where the patient is awake and able to respond to commands, but is in an extremely relaxed state. Patients typically remember very little or nothing of their treatment, causing many people to think that they slept through their appointment. Oral conscious sedation does not provide any pain relief, so an injection of local anesthetic will be given in conjunction with your sedative method to ensure your optimal comfort.
Contact Our Office
If you have questions about sedation dentistry and how we can help restore your oral health, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.