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Smiles For Life

How We Prevent Dental Anxiety for Our Patients

By Joe McIntyre, DDS on January 24, 2019

Female dental patient relaxing in chair before procedureFor many patients, dental phobia can prevent them from receiving dental care. Dental anxiety may stem from a fear of needles, bad dental experiences, sensitive teeth, low pain threshold, and other reasons.

Sedation dentistry can provide an anxiety-free dental care experience. The doctors at Smiles for Life Dental Care in Harrisonburg, VA explain how we prevent dental anxiety for our patients so they can receive the care they deserve.

How Oral Sedation Works

Oral sedatives help patients relax during dental procedures. Patients are still awake while under the influence of these sedatives, but the effects of the medications create a calming sense of well-being that can minimize dental-related anxiety.

At Smiles for Life Dental Care, we offer minimal (awake but relaxed) and moderate (which may lead to a loss of memory about the dental procedure) oral sedation options.

Our office provides nitrous-oxide and oral-conscious sedation options.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Commonly called laughing gas, nitrous oxide is considered the mildest sedation option. The diluted gas mixture is administered through a nosepiece or mask during treatment. Patients typically feel relaxed yet completely aware of surroundings.

The doctors at Smiles for Life Dental Care will carefully monitor your dosage for the duration of the procedure. Patients are typically able to drive home afterwards because the effects of nitrous oxide wear off in about 15 minutes.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is administered in pill form approximately 60 minutes before the procedure begins. The dosage will be determined by several factors, including the level of patient anxiety and the length of the appointment. At a mild dosage, the patients will feel drowsy but awake. Higher doses can place patients in a deep state of relaxation.

Candidates for Oral Sedation

The doctors at Smiles for Life Dental Care will determine if oral sedation is the right choice for you. Typical candidates have the following:

  • Dental phobia
  • Significantly low pain threshold
  • Strong gag reflex
  • Inability to sit still for long periods
  • Complicating neck and back problems
  • A significant amount of dental work to be performed

Benefits of Oral Sedation

One of the primary advantages of sedation dentistry is having little to no recollection of treatment. Oral sedatives can also reduce the number of dental visits by allowing you to comfortably sit in the dentist chair for longer stretches of time. Beyond that, the benefits of oral sedation can include:

  • Lower anxiety during treatment
  • A stress-free dental experience
  • Faster recovery than anesthesia
  • Reduction of gag reflex
  • More efficient work environment for your dentist

Explore the Benefits of Oral Sedation

Studies have shown that 30 to 50 percent of people in the United States avoid dental procedures due to dental phobia. Do not let your apprehensions about dental procedures separate you from complete oral health.

Anxiety-free dental care is a reality at Smiles for Life Dental Care. Our doctors and staff will meet with you to describe your oral sedative options.

To find out if you are a candidate for oral sedation, contact our office online or call (540) 828-2312.

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