Some people are so frightened of the dentist that they avoid dental treatment altogether. The most common reason for dental anxiety is a bad past experience of the dentist – especially for patients with memories of school dentists. If you have been avoiding the dentist for years, you might not be aware just how different modern dentistry is – today’s technology makes treatments faster, more effective, less invasive and, crucially, pain-free.
At Winchmore Hill Dental Practice, in-house IV sedation is one of a number of techniques we employ to help nervous patients. Ultimately, the best way to alleviate dental anxiety is by creating a new, pain-free and completely positive experience of dental care. Our dentists, hygienists and dental nurses have a wealth of experience treating nervous patients with care and compassion.
Dental Sedation FAQs
Sedation is an effective way to treat the most nervous of patients, via intravenous sedation (injection). Combining sedative, painkillers and anaesthetic, the drugs have a relaxing and calming effect, but – unlike a general anaesthetic – do not prevent communication between dentist and patient. IV sedation has the added benefit of creating an amnesiac effect, so patients have little or no memory of treatment, and usually believe they slept through it.
Weight, age and medical condition must be assessed before suitability for this kind of sedation is determined, but this would all be discussed during your consultation with the dentist.
Whilst IV sedation will make you drowsy and unaware of the treatment you are undergoing, you will remain lucid enough to communicate and cooperate with the dental team. The effects of the sedative will take time to wear off and you won’t be able to drink alcohol, drive or work machinery during this time so it is important that someone can help you home after treatment and keep a careful eye on you for some time afterwards. Your dentist will tell you how long it will be before the drugs are completely clear from your body.
You can be helped to feel relaxed by ‘relative analgesia’, sometimes known as inhalation sedation. This means breathing in a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen (‘laughing gas’) which quickly leads to a pleasant, relaxed feeling. At the same time, your dentist puts you at ease through calming speech. Although you may feel a little drowsy, you remain conscious throughout and any treatment given causes you no discomfort. You breathe in the mixture through a nosepiece which is very comfortable. You can’t overdose on the gas as the mixture quickly leaves your body if you breathe in one or two breaths of ordinary air. There are no after-effects and you are able to drive about 15 minutes later. Many dentists use this safe and effective technique.
It is highly likely! As you get to know and trust your dentist, hygienist and other members of the dental team at your practice, your fears will calm down. In time you will come to see your regular visit to the dentist as just another part of normal life.