Dental anxiety is common. Millions of Americans report experiencing some form of phobia or fear when they attend dental visits. Fortunately, sedation dentistry can alleviate fears and help patients become more comfortable during treatment.
Many of our Corpus Christi, TX, patients want to know if they can choose sedation dentistry for teeth cleanings. Drs. Charles A. Robertson and N. Perry Orchard are here to explore this topic so that patients are well-informed about their treatment options.
About Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry involves administering sedatives to induce relaxation during appointments. We offer three primary types of sedation at our practice: nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV (intravenous) sedation. The kind that is recommended for you depends on your particular needs. Nitrous oxide is a light sedative, while oral and IV sedation are reserved for patients with higher anxiety levels.
Should I Be Sedated for Cleanings?
When determining if sedation is necessary for your dental visit, it is helpful to think about the reasons why you are considering it. We typically recommend sedation for patients who have:
- Previous negative experiences regarding dental visits
- A dental-related phobia or generalized anxiety
- A small mouth
- Heightened dental sensitivity
If you are unsure whether or not you require sedation for your next cleaning visit, ask one of our Corpus Christi team members. We can talk with you about your options.
What to Expect during Your Dental Cleaning
The first part of the cleaning appointment will be slightly different depending on which form of sedation you choose. For example, those who choose nitrous oxide will wear a special mask or nosepiece so they can breathe in the laughing gas. In general, effects can be felt in about three to five minutes. Nitrous oxide induces a sense of euphoria. Patients are still aware of their surroundings but will be much more relaxed.
Oral sedation is administered in pill form and is typically given about one hour prior to your procedure. In some cases, a second pill is prescribed to be taken the night before, depending on the level of anxiety. Patients who undergo oral sedation will feel extremely relaxed in the dental chair and may even fall asleep during the cleaning.
IV sedation is administered through a vein, often in the arm. Patients generally feel very relaxed during the cleaning and drowsy once it is complete.
All patients are given pre-treatment guidelines, which should be followed precisely. The instructions will vary depending on which type of sedation you choose.
Can I Drive Home after Sedation?
One of the most common questions patients have is if they can drive home after their appointment. In simple terms, it depends.
Patients who choose nitrous oxide sedation can drive themselves to and from the office. The laughing gas can be flushed from the system in about 10 to 15 minutes, so cognitive abilities will not be affected.
However, if you choose oral or IV sedation, you must bring a responsible friend or family member to your appointment. These sedatives temporarily impede motor skills and cognitive function. In most cases, patients are able to drive again in about 24 hours.
Contact Our Practice to Learn More
Are you filled with dread or anxiety at the thought of a dental cleaning? If so, sedation dentistry may be an option for you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation at our Corpus Christi practice, contact us online or call us at (361) 992-3011.