Does the prospect of sitting in the dentist’s chair fill you with dread? Are you scared to death of having your teeth and gums prodded by shiny metal instruments? If so, you are not alone. Dental anxiety affects approximately 36% of the population, with 12% suffering from extreme fear. If this sounds like you, you may benefit from sedation dentistry.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the practice of using medication to relax patients during dental treatments. It makes the process completely painless and more tolerable for those with extreme fear and anxiety. 

There are several different levels of sedation that might be used, depending on your treatment and comfort level.

  • Minimal Sedation: You will be fully awake but feel more relaxed
  • Moderate Sedation: You will be under a higher level of sedation, meaning you may slur your words when speaking and will have limited memory of the procedure.
  • Deep Sedation: You will be on the edge of consciousness throughout the procedure but can still be awakened. 
  • General Anesthesia: You will be completely unconscious throughout the treatment.
Sedation Dentistry Petaluma California Von Chan DDS dentist in Petaluma, CA Dr. Von Chan

When would you need sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is most commonly used on patients with extreme fear or anxiety of the dentist’s chair. It helps them to reduce their nerves about receiving dental treatment and removing any barriers to maintaining the health of their teeth. Sedation dentistry is also beneficial for people who:

  • Have low pain thresholds
  • Find it difficult to sit still or stay comfortably in the dentist’s chair
  • Have extremely sensitive teeth
  • Have a strong gag reflex
  • Need extensive dental work carried out

Sedation dentistry can be used for children who are scared of going to the dentist, but only certain types and quantities of sedation can be used safely.

What are the benefits?

When every trip to the dentist is overwhelmed by anxiety and terror, it can make you more reluctant to seek help when you have oral health issues. As a result, issues like gum disease, cavities, toothache, and decay can be left to worsen without treatment. This could lead to severe consequences such as infection or tooth loss.

Sedation dentistry allows you to feel more confident and relaxed about your visit, safe in the knowledge that you won’t feel a thing. You’ll be able to take charge of your dental health and ensure the longevity of your perfect smile. 

The sedation dentistry process

Several different types of sedation may be used, and your experience will depend on the option your dentist chooses:

  • Inhaled sedation: You will breathe nitrous oxide (laughing gas) combined with oxygen through a mask. This will help you relax will wear off very quickly afterward.
  • Oral sedation: You will take a pill an hour before the procedure that will make you drowsy, though still conscious, for the treatment.
  • IV sedation: You will receive a sedative drug intravenously, meaning it works more rapidly.
  • General anesthesia: You will be given an anesthetic to inhale that will make you fall into a deep sleep for the procedure. You will not wake up until the effects wear off.

Get in touch to learn more about sedation dentistry in Petaluma, California.