We often feel stressed before an appointment with a dentist. The thought of going through a routine check-up or a dental procedure makes us nervous and uncomfortable. Many people suffer from dental phobia or fear of the dentist. Because of this condition they refuse to go through any dental procedure that involves the use of needles or drills. This is also termed as dental anxiety and it’s a very common problem among adults as well as children. However, now there are methods available that can help you overcome your fear of the dentist. These methods come under a branch of dentistry known as sedation or sleep dentistry.
In sedation dentistry the patient is put to a sleep-like state so that he or she cannot feel the pain. Although the name is “sleep dentistry”, the patient, in most cases, is fully awake and conscious throughout the procedure. However, he or she cannot feel the pain or move reflexively because of the sedative being given. There are basically five types of sedation methods used to create this sleep-like state. They all come under pain-free dentistry and allow a smooth and painless procedure to be carried out by the dentist.
These methods include inhalation sedation, intravenous sedation, intramuscular sedation, oral sedation and deeper sedation. The first four of these methods come under conscious sedation dentistry because the patient remains conscious during the procedure. The last one requires the use of general anesthesia to put the patient into a deep sleep such that he or she is not aware of what is going on. However, this type of sedation is normally not employed for dental procedures as they are not that much painful. But sometimes when the dental phobia is difficult to control, this method might be prescribed by the dentist.
To overcome the dental phobia, you can opt for oral or inhalation sedation dentistry. Both these types are harmless and do not require the use of heavy drugs. In oral sedation method, the patient is given an oral sedative before the treatment. This drug helps to put the patient into a relaxed state of mind such that when the actual treatment starts, he or she is not able to feel any sensation or pain. Inhalation sedation works in a similar manner. This method involves the use of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, which is inhaled before the treatment. Most patients with dental anxiety are given this type of sedative as it does not have any side effects and is very easy to use.
Intravenous sedation is used as an alternative to oral sedation when the procedure involves the use of needles or other surgical instruments. Usually people are terrified of the dental equipment and to have power over the reflexive or uncontrollable movements of the patients, dentists usually use intravenous sedation. Although it is a common notion that this type of sedation is very close to deeper sedation in which the patient has no recollection of what happened later on, in intravenous sedation the patient is fully awake and it is also a safe method.
Another type of method used to overcome dental phobia is known as intramuscular sedation method. This method does not involve the use of oral sedatives or intravenous drugs. It merely involves injecting a mild sedative drug into the patient’s muscle. This procedure is normally used for children as it brings about the sleep-like state very quickly.