Helping You Feel Relaxed During Dental Procedures

How do you feel leading up to a dental procedure? If you feel on edge and downright anxious, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is very common, with somewhere between 50% and 80% of American adults experiencing some amount of dental anxiety and 19% experiencing moderate to severe dental anxiety. This can be a major problem and can even create a barrier to getting dental care; but, modern dentistry has a range of solutions available to help you receive the care you need in a way that keeps you as calm and comfortable as possible.

One solution that could help you feel calm and relaxed throughout your procedure is mild to moderate dental sedation. There are different levels of sedation, each of which has different effects, and therefore, slightly different uses. To help you learn more about these types of sedation methods and how they could help improve your experience at the dentist—and thus your long-term oral health—we’ve put together a guide.

How can different levels of sedation benefit you?

Localized anesthesia is a standard method of making dental procedures more comfortable, but if you have dental anxiety, adding different levels of sedation can make it possible for you to get the dental care you need or want. It can provide a massive relief even when you’re not undergoing a major or lengthy procedure too. In this case, a milder form of sedation can be used to simply help you feel relaxed during your procedure.

There are also longer procedures such as a smile makeover, gum contouring, scaling and root planing, or dental implant surgery where you may want to undergo sedation to help you feel relaxed and potentially even help the procedure feel like it’s going by faster.

What different sedation options are there to choose from?

We want you to have as many options as possible so that you can choose the best method for you, one that will help you feel truly relaxed and comfortable throughout your procedure. As a result, we offer several dental sedation options for you to choose from. Here’s a breakdown of the main options we offer and how each could benefit you.

Localized Anesthetics and Oraverse

Whether you’re getting a simple dental filling or having a more involved procedure like a smile makeover, localized anesthetics are a cornerstone of any dental procedure. They numb the area of your mouth that your dentist is working on, ensuring that your procedure is completely painless. Once your procedure is finished, though, waiting for that numb, fat-lipped feeling to wear off can be frustrating, especially if you need to go about your day, because it can make eating, drinking, and speaking more difficult and can cause lingering anxiety for some people.

That’s where Oraverse comes in! After your procedure is finished, we can administer Oraverse to “reverse” localized anesthetic, getting rid of numbness in less than half the time it takes to wear off on its own. This can help you feel more comfortable and confident sooner as you go about your day.

Nitrous Oxide

Often called “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a popular dental sedation option because it acts in just a few minutes and wears off just as quickly. Nitrous oxide provides quick anxiety relief, and it also means you should be able to drive yourself home after your procedure. This makes it unique among dental sedation methods, as most methods require you to have someone lined up to take you home after your procedure.

It’s also popular because it’s incredibly easy to administer—all you need to do is breathe it in through a special mask over your nose. Once it takes effect, nitrous oxide induces a mild level of sedation, which means that it simply relaxes you but leaves you fully awake and aware of your procedure. Nitrous oxide is called “laughing gas” because it causes feelings of relaxation and even euphoria, but you might not actually laugh while you’re on it. You may also feel tingly or notice a heaviness in your arms and legs.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation uses medication that is taken by mouth to help you feel more relaxed during your procedure. One of several different medications can be used in oral sedation to achieve either a mild or moderate level of sedation. In moderate sedation, you’re so relaxed that you’re also often groggy. You might even doze off during the procedure, but your dentist can easily wake you up to ask you questions or tell you to do something.

Whether or not you sleep, this more relaxed, groggy feeling helps the procedure go by more quickly, making it a good option for longer procedures that you’re worried about being able to sit through. You likely won’t remember much about the procedure afterward either. The biggest downside of oral sedation is that since the medication is taken by mouth, it takes a little longer to kick in. You’ll generally need to take the medication about an hour before your procedure is supposed to start so the medicine has the time it needs to do its job.

IV Sedation

As its name implies, IV sedation delivers a sedative medication directly into your veins through an IV, which allows it to take effect almost immediately. It induces a deep level of sedation where you’ll likely fall asleep or at least drift in and out throughout your procedure. This makes it harder for your dentist to rouse you, but they can still wake you up if they need to. The major benefit of this is that the procedure will fly by—it’ll be over before you know it!

How do you know which sedation option is right for you?

The best way to determine which sedation option is right for you is to talk to your dentist. Dr. Baker and Dr. Stimmel will be happy to sit down with you and discuss your options, what you’re comfortable with, and what may be best given the procedure you need. It’ll help to consider how severe your anxiety is, how aware you want to be during the procedure, how quickly you want your dental sedation to kick in, and if you’ll be able to get a ride to and from our office for your procedure.

Dr. Baker, Dr. Stimmel, and the rest of our team want you to be able to receive the best care with as little anxiety as possible so that you can leave our office looking and feeling better than ever! Because of this, we’re happy to spend this time answering all your questions and choosing the best treatment plan for you.

If you’re experiencing dental anxiety, don’t be afraid to mention it to Dr. Baker or Dr. Stimmel so you can work together to create a plan to keep you calm and comfortable throughout your procedure—whether that includes dental sedation or not! If you’d like to learn more about sedation options or other methods to minimize your anxiety during your dental procedures, or regular appointments from a sedation dentist Bloomington IL, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker or Dr. Stimmel at any time!