Do you feel nervous when you visit the dentist? Maybe you had a negative experience as a child, associate dentistry with pain, or dread all the dental equipment with their strange noises bright lights. Fortunately, we have a few solutions at Stanley Dentistry that are designed to help alleviate these fears. We want you to have a comfortable experience while you’re with us, and we’re happy to accommodate your needs with any of the tools and services we offer.
We offer a few different types of sedation, depending on the dental work you are having done and the level of anxiety you have. These options include local anesthetic, inhalation sedation, oral sedation, and IV sedation.
Local Anesthetic: This form of sedation is more about pain management, and can be used alongside another form of sedation if needed. Local anesthetic numbs a small area of your mouth for a short procedure, such as filling a cavity. Lidocaine, the most commonly used local anesthetic, can either be injected into your gums or applied to the target area in gel form.
Inhalation Sedation: Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is commonly used for a variety of dental work, including regular hygiene visits. This form of sedation doesn’t put you to sleep like IV sedation does, but it allows you to be more relaxed and still aware of your surroundings. The nitrous oxide is inhaled through a mask that a dentist puts over your nose and mouth at the start of your visit. It works quickly, and the effects wear off in three to five minutes after the mask is removed.
Even if your anxiety is low, the dentist may recommend nitrous oxide for certain procedures that might trigger your gag reflex. Laughing gas relaxes your muscles and reduces the gag reflex, making your dental experience more comfortable.
Oral Sedation: Similarly to inhalation sedation, oral sedation is mild and keeps you awake but relaxed. Your dentist will prescribe you a pill—often Diazepam—to take about an hour before the procedure to allow the effects to set in. Oral sedation induces a dream-like state, meaning you likely won’t remember the sensory details of the procedure after the sedative wears off.
IV Sedation: We highly recommend IV sedation for patients with anxiety, as many of our patients agree that this form of sedation makes visiting the dentist a more comfortable experience. This sedation process involves having a thin plastic tube inserted into a vein on the back of your hand or in your arm. Once the flow of the medication begins, you will quickly fall asleep and be entirely unaware of your surroundings. You will wake up after your procedure ends and will likely experience lingering drowsiness from the sedation, so we recommend that you bring someone to drive you home afterward. Before having IV sedation, we will ask you to get approval from your general physician to ensure you can be safely sedated.
Sedation can help you stay relaxed during your visit to the dentist and can reduce some of the anxiety surrounding dental procedures. Before any procedure, we will discuss the sedation options with you and choose the best one for your needs.
Stanley Dentistry also offers other tools that can help alleviate dental anxiety. Our Comfort Menu is designed to help you relax and includes these items:
You’re welcome to use any of these tools during your visit to make your experience at the dentist more comfortable.
If you have any further questions about sedation dentistry or the other services we offer, please call us at 919.460.9665 and we will be happy to help you.