If you’re particularly fearful or anxious about visiting the dentist, or you need major dental work done, dentistry performed under general anesthesia—also called “sleep dentistry,” may be a comfortable and practical option for you.
Dental fear can lead minor tooth problems to become major oral health issues—and sleep dentistry can ensure you get the care you need without causing unnecessary stress or anxiety. Could sleep dentistry be a good option for you? Talk to Michael W. Etter DDS about your concerns and you can decide together if your case is right for sleep dentistry. Depending on your unique situation Michael W. Etter DDS may suggest either oral medication, or intravenous (IV) sedation.
Oral Conscious Sedation
If you suffer from dental phobia, you’re not alone—many of our patients have put off going to the dentist for months, years, or even decades because of the anxiety caused by a dental visit! One option we offer anxious patients—or patients who need a large number of procedures done during a single visit—is sedation dentistry, where we provide an oral sedative that is taken prior to the dental visit. During your visit, we will supplement the effects of the oral sedative with nitrous oxide as a way to maintain your sense of calm and comfort. Our highly trained staff will monitor your vital signs and your comfort level throughout the process and will make adjustments accordingly.
Why oral sedation with nitrous oxide?
Also known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide is a powerful gas that, when mixed with oxygen and administered via a face mask, blocks pain and reduces anxiety. Commonly used in many aspects of dentistry to keep you more comfortable, combining nitrous oxide with an oral sedative is an excellent way to eliminate feelings of anxiety associated with dental procedures.
IV Conscious Sedation
In dentistry, intravenous or IV sedation is used to create a conscious sedation or “twilight” state where your body and mind are completely relaxed, but you are not unconscious. IV sedation minimizes any feelings of discomfort or anxiety, while still allowing you to talk and respond to questions (e.g. “Are you still feeling comfortable?”) or to react to verbal cues (e.g. “Can you turn your head toward the right a bit?) while the procedure is occurring.
In most cases, you will have no memory of the procedure, and because of the level of relaxation that IV sedation creates, you will need someone to take you home after the procedure is complete. The sedation will begin to wear off once you are out of the office, and you should be able to take part in normal activities within the next day.