Oral Sedation for Patients with Anxiety

Dental cleanings for those who fear dentists.

Most people fear something. Spiders, public speaking, needles, dark alleys… the list is as long as there are people. Dentists and dental work rank high on the list of phobias, even though we are medical professionals who only want to keep you healthy and happy. Despite the medical science that supports our practice, people often associate the fear of pain, suffocation and lasting side effects with our work.

If you suffer from debilitating anxiety about dentists, you will avoid going to the dentist, even for regular dental cleanings. Such behavior can have a detrimental effect on your oral health, as regular checkups are an integral part of a health maintenance program.

Dispelling Fear

While overpowering fear of dentists affects teens and adults alike, it can be treated successfully, often without pharmacological or psychiatric care. Overcoming a fear of dentists, like any other irrational fear, may require merely a family chat with the right Asheville dentist. Together, we can dispel false beliefs and explain what actually happens during dental cleanings.

Dental cleanings are not traumatic experiences. Modern dental practices like Zöe Dental offer all kinds of distractions for those who are anxious about their visit. When you come in for an appointment, let us know if you’re feeling a little anxious. We’ll do everything we can to calm your fears.

Oral Sedation as an Alternative

Using local anesthesia is a common practice in dental practices today. The most common local anesthetic used to be novocaine, but better numbing agents have since replaced it. Often injected into the gums through a needle, a numbing agent is very effective in most patients. Dentists today may swab the area first with a topical anesthetic, so you won’t even feel the needle.

Still, some patients have needle phobias, so they refuse that method of pain prevention. That’s when oral sedation becomes a viable option. Sedatives can relax you in the dental chair enough to allow our hygienist to complete dental cleanings or other procedures.

We administer oral sedation in a number of ways, depending on your comfort level and the sedative: under the tongue, down the throat, through your nose or into a vein. Except for intravenous sedation, which is rare, these sedatives do not require a shot with a needle. When the sedative takes effect, you’ll feel more relaxed but still conscious.

Special Preparations

Depending on your case, your Asheville dentist, whether it’s me or someone else, may prescribe a sedative for you to take the night before your appointment. This is will help you get a good night’s sleep, so you come to the office as relaxed as possible.

If you opt for oral sedation, you’ll need to bring along a friend or family member to drive you to and from your visit to the dentist. While sedation is perfectly safe, even for dental cleanings, you may still feel a little woozy after your appointment. It’s safer to leave the driving to someone else. In fact, we’ll insist on it.

So to sum up, oral sedation is a safe, effective way to overcome your fear of dentist so you get the dental care you need. Contact us today if you have any questions.

—Dr. Stamatiades