Dental sedation, often (and inaccurately) referred to as “sleep dentistry” has become a commonplace adjunct to many procedures in the general dentist’s and specialist’s office. You probably even know someone who has undergone a dental procedure like wisdom tooth removal or dental implant placement.
1. Dental Care Makes You Feel Nervous or Anxiouswith the help of sedation dentistry. These safe and effective techniques use proven antianxiolytics (anti-anxiety medications) to induce a state of profound relaxation. Your dentist or Periodontist may recommend sedation if you fall into one of the following three categories:
Experts estimate that between 30 million and 40 million Americans live with such intense fear or anxiety associated with the dentist that they actively avoid receiving professional dental care. Countless more live with low level anxiety and nervousness that, while it doesn’t prevent them from avoiding the dentist altogether, still makes a trip to the office an unpleasant affair.
The days of being told to “suck it up” or “tough it out” are over. Your periodontist wants you to feel comfortable throughout your visit no matter what the particulars of your treatment plan may be. If you feel that you need additional help relaxing during your appointment, don’t hesitate to discuss the matter with your periodontist. He will suggest the appropriate type of dental sedation to fit your needs.
2. You Have a Sensitive Gag Reflex
A “gag reflex” refers to a tendency to gag when a foreign object comes into contact with the back of the throat. A sensitive or delicate gag reflex can be psychological in nature (triggered by a fear of not being able to breathe or lack of control), or physiological (such as hypersensitive pharyngeal nerves).Over the course of a normal dental appointment, commonly used dental tools like cotton swabs, X-rays bitewings, impression material, and jets of air and water can trigger a sensitive gag reflex. Not only is this reflex uncomfortable for the patient; it also interferes with the dentist’s ability to carry out a procedure in a timely manner.
Oral and IV sedation induce such a deep level of psychological and physical relaxation that the gag reflex is never triggered, allowing the patient to receive much-needed care and the periodontist to perform the procedure without frequent stops.
3. You Have a Complex Treatment Plan
Let’s say you’ve received a complex treatment plan from your periodontist that includes a couple of extractions of dead teeth, immediate placement of several implant posts, and a gum graft to repair and regenerate gingival tissue lost to severe periodontal disease. Each of these procedures would usually require separate trips to the office under normal circumstances. However, with oral sedation and IV sedation, you will remain in a deeply relaxed “twilight” state for several hours, meaning that your periodontist can perform several procedures through the course of single long appointment.
About Dr. Marco Cueva
Marco Cueva, DDS, MS is a board-certified periodontist with extensive training and experience providing a full range of advanced dental care services, including sedation dentistry. New patients can schedule an appointment or consultation with Periodontic Excellence at our Allen, TX dental office by calling 972-390-9944.