Sedation dentistry is a great technique for achieving relaxation at the dentist. But if you are a person with anxiety, you might not be sure it’s the right approach for you. First, make sure that you will benefit from sedation dentistry. It is important to consider your other options, assess your level of need, and make sure sedation dentistry is safe for you before deciding to get sedation.
If it turns out it’s is the right choice, then it’s time to find a sedation dentist, like Dr. Michael Weinstock in the Orlando area.
Considering Your Other Options
Depending on your level of anxiety, you may have many options to try to control your discomfort so that you can make your regular dental checkups or other dental procedures. Some techniques that can be used include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Relaxation training
- Music distraction
- Lavender oil
- Finding a dentist with a gentler bedside manner
- Participating in dental decisions or otherwise feeling more in control
The most effective of these alternatives are CBT and relaxation training. CBT helps you understand your fears and take control of them, allowing you to make better decisions. It won’t eliminate your fears, but it does help you make your regular dental checkups and other appointments. It can also help with other anxiety-inducing situations that may be interfering with your daily life.
Relaxation training includes various approaches to helping yourself reduce or eliminate your anxiety. Some of the more popular techniques include square breathing (breathe in slowly over a count of 3 or 5, hold the breath for another count, breath out slowly for another count, then hold for another count before starting again), belly breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization techniques. These actually work better to reduce your anxiety, but may not be as good for getting you to the dentist.
It’s a good idea to consider and maybe even try some of these other alternatives before sedation dentistry. Especially something simple like music distraction should be attempted before moving on to more significant interventions.
Assess Your Level of Need
One of the things about sedation dentistry is that it can work for a dental procedure today or in the near future. This makes it ideal if you have a high level of need for a dental procedure.
CBT can be accomplished with just one visit to a therapist, but getting an appointment with a therapist on short notice may be difficult. Relaxation training can take a long time to master. And both these techniques work best if you can gradually ease your way back into making dental visits, such as an initial consultation that doesn’t involve any dental procedures at all–you may not even enter the operatory–followed by an exam with no cleaning, then a cleaning, then a minor procedure like a filling.
But if you have an urgent need for dental care, whether to save a tooth or to get cosmetic dentistry with a tight timetable, then sedation dentistry might be the right choice for you.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for You?
In general, sedation dentistry is very safe, but it’s not equally safe for everyone. Most sedation dentistry used is very mild, remaining at the safe side of the sedation continuum. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor about sedation before you get it. When you talk to a dentist, make sure your dentist knows about any health conditions you may have, such as heart problems, diabetes, and more.
It’s also important to make sure your dentist knows about what prescription and over-the-counter medications you’re taking. Don’t forget to mention herbal supplements–some of these can have interactions with sedation medications. If you don’t know what’s in a supplement, bring in the bottle for your dentist to see.
Finally, make sure you’re not allergic to the sedation medication. Tell your dentist if you or another member of your family has had any allergic reactions to medications.
Once you’ve shared all the above information, you should know whether sedation dentistry is likely to be safe for you.
Want to start your sedation dentistry process in the Orlando area? Please call (407) 834-6446 for an appointment with Dr. Michael L. Weinstock in Altamonte Springs.