Does going to the dentist make you nervous? You’re not alone. WebMD reports that between 9 to 20 percent of Americans put off going to the dentist because of worry or anxiety over their care — or more specifically, the discomfort that care may cause. That’s potentially more than 60 million people who don’t get the care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy or to prevent more serious and painful oral health problems.
One of the ways we help patients stay calm and pain-free is with state-of-the-art sedation techniques customized to each patient's procedure and preferences. That means whether you’re here for a routine or deep cleaning, a filling, a root canal, or oral surgery, we can provide you with a safe, effective way to keep you calm, comfortable, and anxiety-free.
Picking the right level of sedation
At Oasis Smiles, we offer three distinct levels of sedation: mild, moderate, and deep. For the most part, the type of sedation you need will depend on the procedure or treatment you're having performed. Obviously, more complex treatments typically require a deeper level of sedation. If you're having several procedures performed in one visit — like multiple extractions — you also may need deeper sedation to keep you relaxed for a longer period of time.
But the type of procedure you're having is just one factor we use to determine the best sedation option for your needs and your comfort. We also take your own preferences and your level of anxiety into consideration. For instance, patients who tend to have high levels of anxiety might benefit from a moderate level of sedation, even if they're just having a filling, whereas a patient with a very low level of nervousness might be fine with a little light sedation or even no sedation at all.
Speaking of no sedation, it's important to understand that sedation and pain prevention are two different things. Sedation uses medicines to help you relax and maybe even help you doze during your treatment; pain medicines will still be provided, no matter what level of sedation you have. That's because sedative medicines aren't designed to prevent discomfort, so if you opt for sedation, you'll still receive pain medicine, typically in the form of an injection into your gum to block pain signals emanating from your nerves.
Mild, moderate, and deep are the three levels of sedation we offer. The next question is, how are they administered? Again, that depends on the level of sedation you're having. Mild sedation may be in the form of a pill you take shortly before your treatment, or in some cases, you may have nitrous oxide (sometimes called laughing gas), which you breathe in through a special mask. Moderate sedation is usually given orally in pill form. Deep sedation may be provided by a pill or, more commonly, through an IV in your arm. No matter what type of sedation you receive, you'll be continually monitored to ensure you stay comfortable and safe.
So how can you decide which level of sedation is right for you? Here's a brief review to help guide you:
- Mild sedation keeps you awake, but very relaxed
- Moderate sedation helps you achieve a deeper state of relaxation, but you’ll still be awake and able to respond to commands like “open wider” or “rinse”
- Deep sedation takes you to a very deep state of relaxation, and you’ll fall into a light sleep from which you can still be easily roused
Of course, you won't have to make the decision on your own. Dr. Bhor will describe all your options and help ensure the sedation you select is the best one for your procedure, your anxiety level, and your comfort. As a skilled and experienced sedation provider, Dr. Bhor has extensive training in all types of sedation, so you can feel confident that you'll stay calm and comfortable during your visit.
Learn more about sedation dentistry
Dr. Bhor and the entire team at Oasis Smiles want you to enjoy going to the dentist — or, at least, not dread it. Maintaining good oral health is important for your teeth, your gums, and the rest of your body too. Don’t put off getting the care you need. To find out how sedation dentistry can help you overcome your dental anxiety, book an appointment online today.