Unfortunately, some patients may have had negative experiences with previous dentists before coming to Arlington Dental. Others may have developed some dental fear merely due to society’s perceptions of dental care, inaccurate though they may be.
In the worst case scenario, this dental anxiety can be so severe that it keeps people from seeking routine dental care and leads to more dangerous – and painful – conditions. Interventions to treat those more advanced oral diseases tend to be more invasive, which in turn, can reinforce the patient’s fear.
Fortunately, sedation can be a valuable tool to help these patients get past their dental fear and get the treatment they need to maintain their healthy smiles. Conscious sedation puts patients into a state of deep relaxation. Although they feel as though they’re asleep, patients remain conscious throughout the procedure so that they can respond to instructions. Additionally, the airway remains open, unlike in general anesthesia, in which the airway must be artificially maintained. We have decades of knowledge and experience as sleep dentists.
Furthermore, the sedatives can create a state where the patient has no recollection of the appointment after it is complete. So, they won’t develop more negative memories that add to their fears. General anesthesia can be another option for fearful patients. This method does render patients unconscious and requires the airway to be maintained, but it can still be appropriate in certain cases.
You don’t need to be a fearful patient to benefit from sedation, either. Patients who are in need of complicated, time-consuming interventions may also want to take advantage of sedation because it allows them to tolerate lengthier treatment sessions. This can reduce the number of appointments needed to achieve the desired treatment goals.
If you choose sedation, our dentists will thoroughly review your options with you and help you decide on the delivery method that is most appropriate for your case. While you are under the effects of the sedation, your vital signs will be carefully monitored for any signs of trouble that require prompt attention. Before your appointment, you will also receive instructions on how to prepare for the sedation. For example, IV sedation and general anesthesia require the patient to fast for at least 8 hours before the procedure. You will also need to make arrangements for a responsible adult to escort you home after the appointment if the medication’s effects have not yet worn off. Patients who are considering sedation for a more comfortable experience at our office may have the following questions.