Dealing with Dental Anxiety

The idea of going to the dentist can fill some people with dread. For some, this is a manageable anxiety which doesn’t interfere with their oral maintenance. For others, the discomfort is so great that they will avoid getting necessary dental care, even at the risk of causing existing oral issues to worsen. 

At Cerritos Dental Surgery, we offer several options to assist in soothing your dental fears and make your visit as pleasant as possible. Having access to this during care can make more involved services easier, and it can also be vital to the experiences of those with dental anxiety.

What Is Dental Sedation?

Dental sedation is the use of nitrous oxide, an oral sedative, or sedative administered through an IV to calm a patient’s nerves during a procedure. This makes the procedure more pleasant for the patient if they are prone to feelings of dental anxiety. 

Nitrous oxide is a gas that can be delivered nasally while receiving dental work, and it is the mildest form of dental sedation. Though it is commonly known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide does not usually induce a case of the giggles, but instead what is often described as a sense of euphoria. This can help keep the patient relaxed so that the procedure is less uncomfortable. Before the procedure, the dentist will provide a mask to administer the gas instruct you to continue to breathe normally. The effects are fast and wear off almost immediately so you will be able to drive home from the procedure.

Oral sedation, which includes taking a calming pill, is a step up from nitrous oxide in terms of the intensity and length of sedation. Patients often feel sleepy and will need a friend or loved one to drive them home while the sedative wears off.

IV sedation is delivered through an IV while the patient is undergoing a procedure. It works faster and lasts longer than oral sedation, and you will need someone to drive you home after the procedure.

When Is Dental Sedation An Option?

For routine check-ups or teeth cleanings, dental sedation is not usually necessary. However, if a patient’s dental anxiety is preventing them from getting checkups, mild sedation through nitrous oxide might help them keep up with their recommended semi annual visits by making the experience better. It can also help relax you for procedures like fillings or root canals. If your anxiety is more severe, oral sedation can be a better option. A dentist might suggest a combination of both oral sedation and laughing gas for nervous patients with a strong gag reflex who wish to avoid anesthesia.

If you are undergoing dental surgery, such as having a dental implant put in, it may be necessary to use IV sedation to calm your nerves to ensure your comfort during a longer procedure. 

Count On Your Cerritos, CA Dentist To Provide Comfortable Care

If you are feeling dental anxiety, know that you are not alone! If you have more questions about your options for dental sedation, contact our Cerritos, CA dental office at 562-584-4082.