Sedation & Dental Phobia
Intravenous (IV) Sedation & Nervous Patients
Some people are so worried about visiting the dentist, they avoid attending regular appointments or getting vital treatment to protect the health of their teeth. This reluctance to see the dentist can be due to a variety of reasons including:
- Concern about potential pain
- Feeling out of control
- Fear of being judged if their teeth are in poor condition
- Bad childhood experiences
- Strange sounds and smells
- A needle phobia
If you have dental anxiety, IV sedation is a safe, effective way to make you feel completely relaxed and much more willing to undergo treatment. Your worries will be eliminated but you remain conscious and able to answer questions, so the dentist can treat you more effectively.
- Makes you feel completely relaxed and anxiety-free
- Rapid onset of the calming effects
- Level of sedation can be tailored to suit your needs
- Can help you forget the treatment process
- Allows you to communicate with the dentist
- Your general health will be a carefully assessed, including your blood pressure and oxygen levels.
- A very thin needle is inserted into a vein in the back of your hand leaving a soft plastic tube through which the sedative will be gradually delivered. You will be closely monitored throughout the treatment process.
- Additional medication will be required to relieve any discomfort as sedation only calms you and does not provide pain relief. However, this will be administered once you are suitably relaxed.
The effects of sedation will take a while to wear off, so you will need someone to take you home and keep an eye on you.
What else can help?
You can be helped to feel relaxed by ‘relative analgesia’ sometimes known as inhalation sedation. This means breathing in a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen (‘laughing gas’) which quickly leads to a pleasant, relaxed feeling. The dentist puts you at ease at the same time, by talking softly and suggesting what you feel. You remain conscious all the time, although you may be a little drowsy, and any treatment given causes you no discomfort. You breathe in the mixture through a nosepiece, which is very comfortable. You can’t overdose on the gas, as the mixture quickly leaves the body if you breathe in one or two breaths of ordinary air. There are no after-effects either, and you can drive a car after about 15 minutes. Many dentists use this safe and effective technique.
How does relaxation work?
When we are faced with a challenge or something we’re afraid of, such as a visit to the dentist, our bodies produce substances, which raise our anxiety. However, we can train our bodies to work against this anxiety, by learning to relax. It’s not possible to be anxious and relaxed at the same time, so learning relaxation helps control our anxiety.