If you experience dental anxiety, you will probably feel better knowing that Mid-Michigan Dental Excellence offers several dental sedation options. Whether or not you end up receiving dental sedation, it can be a comfort just to know the opportunity is there.
Alma, MI dentist Dr. Thomas J. McDonald and our entire team take extra care with our patients who feel dental anxiety. We can patiently explain every procedure, from a simple teeth cleaning to a tooth extraction. Knowing exactly what to expect helps alleviate dental anxiety for many people.
For more information on our dental sedation options, call our Alma, MI dentist office at 989-796-4848. Or use our online form to make an appointment with Mid-Michigan Dental Excellence.
Our Dental Sedation Options
But sometimes no matter how well informed you are or how much your trust us, you are still nervous about your dental procedure. When that happens, we offer two primary dental sedation options: nitrous oxide and oral sedation.
Here we’ll walk you some of the pros and cons of each so you can decide – with Dr. McDonald’s input, of course – which dental sedation option will work best for you.
Nitrous Oxide: What You Need to Know
Nitrous oxide is often referred to as laughing gas. Here are some of its pros and possible cons:
- Safety. Because dentists have been using nitrous oxide for about 100 years, its safety has been well proven. It is so safe, Dr. McDonald even uses it on our youngest patients.
- Convenience. We administer it through a nasal hood, which is a small cup that fits over your nose. It takes effect quickly, so we don’t have to worry about timing it to get the results we want. However, if you don’t like wearing the cup over your nose, this method of administration can be a negative.
- Lack of grogginess. Most people feel fairly “normal” while receiving nitrous oxide and its effects wear off quickly. You won’t feel “hung over” as some people do after taking an oral sedative.
- Easy to control. Dr. McDonald can easily increase or decrease the amount of nitrous oxide as he administers it so you get just the right amount to control your dental anxiety. It can also be used with an oral sedative for a more powerful dental sedation.
Oral Sedation for Dentistry Advantages
Using oral sedation for dentistry offers a number of advantages. The oral sedatives we use are all part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines. Though they haven’t been used as long as nitrous oxide for dental sedation, they are undeniably safe. Health care providers and pharmacists measure the safety of drugs on a scale called the therapeutic index. Drugs used for oral sedation for dentistry have the highest – and thus safest – scores on the scale.
In addition to safety, advantages of oral sedation for dentistry include:
- Under your control. You will come in the night before your scheduled dental procedure so we can take your blood pressure and other checks of your condition. We’ll give you the oral sedative and provide clear instructions for taking it. We’ll schedule your procedure for our earliest appointment time, at 8 a.m. You will usually take the medication an hour beforehand. Many people prefer taking a pill themselves instead of getting a sedative administered by someone else, even a medical professional.
- Strong anxiety relief. Oral sedatives will relax you more than nitrous oxide. In fact, with some oral sedatives you may struggle to remember anything that happened during your dental procedure. So folks with heavy-duty dental anxiety will probably want to choose oral sedatives over nitrous oxide.
Dental Sedation: Factors to Consider
Factors to consider when choosing dental sedation include:
- Your health history, including any conditions for which you are being treated.
- Any medications you take, including ones prescribed by a doctor, over-the-counter medicines, and even herbal supplements. You should tell Dr. McDonald about any meds you take on a regular basis, even ones as seemingly innocuous as aspirin.
- Your smoking and alcohol consumption. These can affect how you respond to certain oral sedatives.
Dental Sedation Tips
Whether you opt for nitrous oxide or oral sedation, here are some tips to help ensure your dental sedation goes well:
- Make sure you inform Dr. McDonald of all medications you are taking and be honest in your responses to his questions about your medical history.
- Follow our directions! For example, with oral sedatives we’ll ask you to not eat or drink anything prior to your appointment.
- For oral sedation, arrange for a ride home from your procedure. You’ll probably also want to take it easy for at least a few hours. So go ahead and ask off work.
- Drink lots of water following your procedure.