Do you lose sleep the night before a dental appointment? Do you drive to the dentist’s office white-knuckled? Does the thought of sitting in the dental chair make you physically ill? If so, you are not alone. Millions of individuals suffer from dental anxiety. In fact, 20 percent of Americans actually avoid dental visits altogether due to this condition. At Walnut Pond Dental in Annandale, NJ, we offer options in sedation dentistry to help induce relaxation and make your experience more comfortable.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Also referred to as “sleep” dentistry, sedation dentistry involves administering medications to help patients relax. The term sleep dentistry is a bit of a misnomer, however; while patients often nap during their treatment, they are still conscious and able to respond to directions if necessary. There are different levels of sedation based on your unique needs. During a consultation at our practice, Drs. Carson Ferris-Zeolla and Victoria Uryniak can help you determine which option is right for you.
Am I a Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?
Before recommending sedation dentistry, your doctor will perform a thorough assessment and will review your health history in detail. Sedation may be an option for you if you:
- Have general anxiety about going to the dentist
- Suffer from a needle phobia
- Have a severe gag reflex
- Experience extreme temperature sensitivity
- Have difficulty getting numb for procedures
- Are undergoing a lengthy procedure that requires a lot of time in the dental chair
- Have a medical condition that causes involuntary movements, such as Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy
Sedation Dentistry Options
At Walnut Pond Dental, we offer two sedation options: nitrous oxide and IV sedation. In the sections below, we will explore each.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Patients seeking mild to moderate sedation can benefit from nitrous oxide. This sedative medication is administered via inhalation. A small nosepiece will be placed and you will be asked to breathe in and out normally. The effects of the gas are typically felt within three to five minutes. Generally, patients experience an overall feeling of wellbeing and remain carefree and relaxed for the duration of their treatment. It is common to feel tingling sensations in the fingers and toes or feel “heavy”, as though you are sinking into the chair. Your doctor can adjust the dosage during your procedure so you are always at a comfortable level of relaxation. Best of all, patients can drive themselves to and from our office, as nitrous oxide can be completely flushed from the system in as little as five minutes.
Those desiring a deeper level of sedation can have their medications administered intravenously. Before beginning your procedure, an IV will be placed in your arm or hand. The sedatives will then be administered directly into the bloodstream. As a result, the effects are felt almost instantly. Most patients sleep through the procedure, and do not remember much once it is complete.
IV sedation is extremely safe and effective. Because your doctor has direct access to your bloodstream, the effects of sedation can even be reversed instantly if necessary. Your heart rate, oxygen levels, and blood pressure will also be monitored throughout the duration of your treatment.
This type of sedation temporarily affects your cognitive ability and motor skills. For this reason, patients who choose this option will need to arrange for a friend or family member to accompany them to and from their appointment.
Learn More about Sedation Dentistry
Don’t let anxiety keep you from receiving the dental care you deserve. To learn more about sedation options at our Annandale, NJ practice, contact us or give us a call at (908) 200-7007.