Do dental appointments and treatments give you intense feelings of fear and anxiety? Are you curious about how medication can be used to make dental appointments more comfortable? Emotional and physical comfort is important to our patients and our staff. Medication – specifically sedating kinds – can be used to improve the symptoms of dental phobias and increase one’s comfort during procedures that require long or invasive treatment.
Dental Phobias and Anxiety
Anxiety is a common problem – especially when it is so pronounced that it affects one’s quality of life. Dental phobias are a type of anxiety that can be very debilitating. They can make visiting the dentist emotionally uncomfortable. In some instances, dental phobias are so severe that some folks will forego treatment they need for years. Sedation dentistry can greatly help ease one’s mind and improve comfort by stopping the chemical reactions that produce feelings of panic, fear, and nervousness. There are different types of sedation that can accommodate your particular needs. If you suffer with anxiety related to dental visits and treatments, talk with our dentist. We strive to help all our patients receive the oral healthcare they deserve with compassion.
Types of Sedation
There are three main types of sedation. The mildest form of sedation is the use of nitrous oxide gas. This type of sedation is administered through a nasal mask and it can be adjusted to produce desired effects. Nitrous oxide is safe and its effects come on quickly and last as long as the gas is inhaled. Used for over a hundred years in medical settings, nitrous oxide is a mild and safe way to relieve discomfort and anxiety.
Another type of sedation is oral sedation, which involves our dentist prescribing medication. Most of the time, medicine is prescribed from the benzodiazepine class of drugs. This type of medication works with chemicals in the brain to stop the reactions that cause panic or excessive worry. Benzodiazepines have lingering effects so it is important to arrange for transportation to and from our practice.
A third, and more powerful, type of sedation is conscious IV sedation. By administering medication intravenously, we can provide a very customized dose and monitor its effects closely. This also means that medication can be adjusted with ease through the intravenous feed. IV sedation is reserved for complex or lengthy procedures or for patients with severe, debilitating anxiety. Even though IVs are used in this type of sedation, a patient is not unconscious. While medicine is powerful, those receiving it are still able to respond to commands.
When Sedation Dentistry is Used
Mild sedation such as nitrous oxide may be administered for all kinds of treatments including placing restorations, performing periodontal therapy, and treating infected root canals. Oral sedatives have applications in many types of treatments as well including endodontics (root canal treatment), implant dentistry, and tooth extractions. IV sedation is useful for wisdom tooth extractions, placing dental implants, and other oral surgeries.
If you suffer with dental phobias or want to learn more about how our team can keep you comfortable during treatment, call us to schedule an appointment. At your appointment we can discuss your needs, answer your questions, and determine what course of action is best for your situation.
Meet the Doctor
Craig L. Snyder, DDS has practiced dentistry in the Baltimore area for the past 28 years.
Dr. Snyder graduated from the Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Natural Sciences, then attended the Georgetown University Dental School. Selected as one of America’s Top Dentists in 2004-2005, Dr. Snyder enhances his expertise with several continuing education courses every year. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Academy of Osseointegration, and the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS).
Such a great place, with an amazing dentist and staff! My filling came off and I was able to have it repaired the same day! Dr. Snyder is really good!
Friendly staff. Dr. Snyder was great, develops a rapport with his patients by getting to know you and explaining in depth everything he does. Made the visit very comfortable and enjoyable.
Dr. Snyder is truly incredible. I have been a patient for over 10, and he and his staff have helped me through the most challenging dental work with kindness and professionalism. It's rare to find such caring professionals who also do truly amazing work. The staff is incredible, and the office is comfortable and modern. Thanks for all you've done to keep me smiling!
I love my dentist. The staff is so personable. They really make you feel comfortable. In addition, the office is always clean with the state of the art technology. If you need a nice dentist that really cares about your teeth come see my dentist.
Anxiety is a common occurrence and for many people, anxiety can be so powerful that it becomes debilitating. Phobias are a type of anxiety that involve feeling fear and panic with certain circumstances and situations. People might develop dental phobias because of the unique sounds they hear in a dental office, stories they have been told by other people, or after a negative experience with dental treatment in the past.
Conscious sedation is a method of delivering drugs intravenously to increase comfort. While the medication is administered through an IV, it is not strong enough to be considered general anesthesia. In fact, conscious sedation means that a patient will be very relaxed and groggy but still able to respond to questions and commands. This form of sedation is beneficial to those with severe, debilitating dental phobias and those receiving complex and invasive treatment.
When medication for oral surgery is administered in intravenous form, it is a combination of an analgesic and a sedative. An analgesic will control discomfort while the sedative will help a patient remain relaxed and still. When used together, the effects of both types of medication are amplified. Our team monitors IV sedation very closely and its dose is adjustable to produce desired effects.
Costs associated with receiving sedation dentistry vary on the type of sedation administered. For instance, receiving nitrous oxide or taking prescribed tablets is very affordable – even for those without insurance. The cost of conscious sedation (IV sedation) is higher. This is because IV sedation is closely monitored with equipment that measures vitals and requires the attention of more of our team members. If you have questions about costs and dental coverage, speak with our front desk staff for estimates.
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