Sedation dentistry has been around a while, yet it’s something that isn’t always offered in every U.S. dental clinic. Perhaps it’s because patients are given sedatives to help eliminate any issues of anxiety being in the dental chair, and dental offices don’t want to take the risks. Whether that’s true or not, sedation dentistry is slowly growing in many different dental clinics nationwide. Online databases are even available to help you find a local clinic that uses sedation.
Clinics that acknowledge anxiety as a problem realize the power of two specific drugs that sedation dentists usually use to keep patients calm. They have to be given very judiciously, though, based on the potential for health concerns.
Take a closer look at two of the most common sedation methods: Triazolam and Nitrous Oxide.
This drug is more frequently prescribed to those who suffer from insomnia issues. And it’s also intended for temporary use because it has addictive qualities like all sedatives do. In the dentist office, it’s frequently used as part of the sedation process, though it’s sometimes not strong enough alone. It’s all going to depend on how much anxiety you have when in the dental chair and how close to sleep stage you want to be in during a procedure.
Triazolam is typically given in tablet form, so it’s fairy easy to ingest. It simply relaxes your brain so you can zone out during your dental visit without necessarily going to sleep. But keep in mind you have to talk with your dentist about potential allergic reactions to the drug. Avoid any dentist who doesn’t check your health first before taking Triazolam, because it could cause a fatal reaction in the chair if caution isn’t taken.
We’ve all heard of “laughing gas” as a method of relaxing people in the dental chair. It’s still being used today in sedation dentistry practices. Many dentists consider it a perfect solution to helping people relax and if they hate taking sedatives in pill form. Mixed with oxygen, nitrous oxide is also one of the oldest methods of sedation going back to the 1770s. Considering some people used it then to gain some level of entertainment, it could have been the marijuana of its day.
Today, it’s taken much more seriously, even if it’s going to make you feel like you’re drunk with a sense of euphoria. It puts you closer to sleep stage, despite most people still being awake when ingested. This can create a problem of having dreams while you’re awake, which might be an uncomfortable experience to some in a dental office. It also can cause nausea if the amount given (via nose tube) isn’t balanced correctly.
It’s one reason why any reputable dentist should check your health records before giving you nitrous oxide. They also have to monitor you carefully as you breath it in during your dental procedure to make sure you don’t become over-sedated.
The good news is that it’s the fastest-acting anxiety and pain reliever available by numbing the brain within seconds.
Should you go with sedation dentistry to help calm your anxiety? Because of the potential liabilities, your regular dentist may not offer anything now. That means you may have to either switch to a sedation dentistry specialist or focus on meditation before going to have a dental procedure done.
With anxiety still a mental illness in many people, you at least have the opportunity to relax in a dental chair and go inside your head if no other option is available.