Dental anxiety is a fear of undergoing dental work. And for many people, that fear is enough to keep them from getting the dental care they need.
If you’ve avoided going to the dentist or you’ve pushed off dental treatments you know you need, it’s time to learn more about dental anesthesia and sedation. Dental sedation could ease your anxiety so you can get that dental work done.
Paul Fuentes, DDS, DABP, and Andrew Peterson, DMD, MS, at Arcadia Perio are trained to administer a range of dental anesthetics to help calm our patients’ nerves. But is it really safe to rely on anesthesia to help you feel more comfortable in the dentist’s chair?
The short answer is yes. Here’s why.
How dental anesthesia works
Beyond routine dental cleanings, most dental procedures require the use of local anesthesia. Local anesthesia numbs your mouth to keep you comfortable while the dentist works on your teeth and gums.
For people without dental anxiety, local anesthesia may be enough to help them relax in the dental chair. But if you’re nervous about having dental work done, more advanced dental anesthesia is available.
General dental anesthesia is a safe and effective way to calm your nerves during dental procedures. We offer a range of sedative options and work with you to choose the best method based on your health and your level of anxiety.
Nitrous oxide gas
Nitrous oxide is a gas that offers light sedation. Also called laughing gas, it’s mixed with oxygen, and then you breathe it in through a nose mask.
Nitrous oxide is safe for most patients. You remain awake and aware of what’s happening during your procedure, but you feel more relaxed and calm. The effects of this anesthetic wear off very quickly after we remove the nose mask.
Oral sedative medication
Oral sedatives offer deeper relaxation than nitrous oxide. If we recommend oral sedation, we give you a pill or a liquid before your procedure begins.
Once the medication takes effect, you feel drowsy and more relaxed. You may remain awake, but it’s not uncommon for patients to fall asleep with oral sedation. If you fall asleep, we can wake you easily when the procedure is over.
IV sedation is the highest level of dental anesthesia we offer. With IV sedation, we administer a sedative meditation into your bloodstream throughout the procedure.
IV sedation makes it likely that you’ll fall asleep during your procedure. While it’s possible for you to stay awake with IV sedation, you won’t be aware of your surroundings and may not remember everything that happens.
Finding the best dental anesthesia for you
If you need dental work and you have anxiety about your upcoming procedure, ask us about your dental anesthesia options. Most types of dental anesthesia at Arcadia Perio are mild, and they carry a low risk of side effects.
Our dentists carefully review your health and your medical history to choose the best method of sedation for you. Most people who are in generally good health are good candidates for dental anesthesia.
You may not be a candidate for dental anesthesia if you have certain health conditions, like chronic respiratory conditions or medication allergies, or if you’re pregnant. Very young and very old patients may be at increased risk, so dental anesthesia may not be right for them.
We review your options with you, then make a recommendation. If you choose dental anesthesia, we closely monitor your condition throughout your procedure to ensure you remain comfortable.
No matter which method of dental anesthesia you choose, you need to bring someone with you to your appointment to drive you home. You won’t be able to drive until the effects of your anesthesia fully wear off, which can take several hours.
Learn more about your dental anesthesia and sedation options with a consultation at our Arcadia, California, location. Call our office at 626-662-1084 or book online now.