How Sedation Dentistry Works

Mar 27th, 2017 | By | Category: blog

dental sedationWhy Sedation Dentistry?

For those with dental anxiety, getting necessary treatments can be agony. But you don’t have to suffer from a crippling phobia to benefit from sedation dentistry. As dentists, we know that there are few people in the world who actually like having dental work done. Most people would rather be doing anything else, and that’s okay. Regardless, dental care is still a must for quality of life and whole-body wellness.

That’s why we feel sedation dentistry is a critical asset to both dentists and patients with mild-to-severe dental anxiety. By taking away the fear and discomfort, dental procedures can be done more quickly and with less distress to you, the patient.

Conditions that may benefit from oral sedation:

  • fear of the dentist
  • fear of dental sensitivity during treatment
  • fear of needles
  • aversion to the sounds, smells, and sensations that accompany dental treatments
  • feeling uneasy or antsy in the dental chair
  • discomfort relinquishing control
  • sensitive gag reflex


How It Works

Sedation dentistry at Fresno Dental Studio consists of the use of oral sedatives in pill form. These medications help you feel calm and less affected by the stimuli that usually trigger anxiety. The medicines we use are safe and effective, and Drs. Denes and Denes are qualified and trained to prescribe them for this purpose.

  • Oral sedation is NOT laughing gas.
  • Oral sedation does NOT render you unconscious.
  • Oral sedation is NOT general anesthesia, which is a far more extreme form of sedation, whereby medicines are given intravenously.
  • Oral sedation DOES allow you to feel calm and relaxed.
  • Oral sedation DOES help you temporarily forget your fear and aversion.

Oral sedation is not “sleep dentistry,” as the pills we prescribe do not cause you to fall asleep. That said, many patients actually do fall asleep naturally during their appointments, because they are so very relaxed. If you do not wish to fall asleep, please tell us before the appointment and we will be sure to wake you if you doze off.


Anti-Anxiety Medications

Oral sedation makes use of anti-anxiety medicines (benzodiazepines) that function through your central nervous system (CNS). No matter how difficult it may be for you to calm yourself, with oral sedation you won’t even have to try, since the medicines provide a medically proven short-cut to relaxation. If you’ve ever had surgery, you were probably given similar sedatives before the process started, and the feeling will be akin to what you remember.

For most patients, we prescribe two doses of the medication: one to take the night before, so you can get a good night’s rest, and another to take before your appointment. As you will discover when you take the medication, you will be conscious and able to walk, talk, and make decisions the entire time. (You should not operate heavy machinery, however, so we require patients to have a friend or family member drive them to and from appointments.)

Oral sedation is also an effective solution if you have a sensitive gag reflex. For patients with this condition, routine dental appointments can be torture, as any activity in the back of the mouth may trigger the feeling of gagging. Since the sedatives work through your nervous system, your whole body will be more relaxed than usual, including the muscles in the throat that cause the gag response.


Before Your Appointment

If you would like to use oral sedation to control your dental anxiety, let us know and we will schedule a consultation to assess your medical history. Some conditions preclude the use of these medicines, but most of our patients can use them safely.

Once your treatment appointment has been scheduled, one of the dentists will prescribe you the recommended medicine. Take one pill the night before your appointment to ensure your sleep is restful and that you do not experience any anticipatory anxiety. One the day of your appointment, take the second pill about an hour before the appointment to give the medicine adequate time to take effect. Dental anxiety affects some patients the moment they walk through the door, so we want to make sure you don’t have to experience any stress.


After the Appointment

The effects of oral sedation may last several hours, so it’s not recommended that you drive yourself home. Since the medicine affects your central nervous system, your reaction time and judgment may be impaired when operating heavy machinery. Most patients do not return to work after their appointments.

Do you or a family member avoid dental work due to fear, anxiety, or aversion? Call Fresno Dental Studio and we’ll determine if sedation dentistry can help you get back to the dentist. Call our Fresno dental office at 559-297-1800 today for a consultation.

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