Options for nervous patients
Oral sedation (in the form of anti-anxiety pills, also known as “happy pills”) is prescribed for relieving anxiety in patients in the hours immediately before a dental appointment. An anti-anxiety pill, prescribed by one of our dental professionals, is usually taken an hour before the appointment to ensure you are as comfortable as possible whilst undergoing treatment. The most commonly prescribed oral sedatives belong to the “benzodiazepine” family. Examples include Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan.
Inhalation sedation or relative analgesia
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas”, is a chemical compound with the formula N2O. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. In dentistry it is used for its anesthetic and analgesic effects. It is known as “laughing gas” due to the euphoric effects after inhaling it. A mask is placed over your nose and the Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen mixture is regulated very precisely by a special machine. The mixture can be constantly adjusted to meet your needs. This and other types of sedation affect the nervous system of the body which results in a pleasant, warm, drowsy feeling. You will be conscious and relaxed throughout the treatment but will find that you are unable to recall much about your treatment.
IV Sedation is a management technique that uses various medications to assist you to cope with your fear and anxiety, and to cooperate, whilst undergoing dental treatment. The medications are administered intravenously, and the procedure is usually carried out by a healthcare professional specifically trained in this technique.
IV sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what’s going on. The drugs used for IV sedation produce either partial or full memory loss (amnesia) for the period of time when the drug first kicks in until it wears off. As a result, time will appear to pass very quickly and you will not recall much of what happened. Many people remember nothing at all. So it may, indeed, appear as if you were “asleep” during the procedure.
The drugs which are usually used for IV sedation are not painkillers (although some pain-killing drugs are occasionally added), but anti-anxiety drugs. While they relax you and make you forget what happens, you are fully awake and able to respond to commands or have a conversation. You will still, however, need to be numbed. If you have a fear of injections, you will not be numbed until the IV sedation has fully kicked in. It is usual practice to wait until the local anaesthetic has taken effect (i.e. until you’re numb) before commencing with any dental treatment.
The professional staff at DENTAL ART will tailor your Nervous Patients’ Programme to your specific needs. Therefore any one, or all, the above methods may be used to make your experience at DENTAL ART be as pleasant as possible.