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Sedation Dentistry in Front Royal, VA

Looking for a nitrous oxide or oral sedation dentist in Front Royal, VA, to help you feel calm and relaxed during your next appointment?

A considerable number of Americans do not go to the dentist for regular checkups due to dental fear and anxiety. Today’s dental practices use state-of-the-art equipment, which allows them to replace noisy drills with painless laser beams. Patient comfort is of the utmost importance, and we want to ensure that your visits are relaxing. New advances in technology mean dental microsurgery is now an option and lasers can prepare teeth for fillings, whiten teeth and remove staining. There are also other methods for a safe, anxiety-free experience, such as nitrous oxide or oral sedation dentistry in our Front Royal office. Before deciding if nitrous oxide or oral sedation is right for you, you may want to try other means of overcoming dental fear and anxiety.

You’re not alone if you experience any of the following in regard to visiting the dentist:

  • Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth
  • Fear of gagging
  • Fear of injections
  • Fear of loss of control
  • Fear of not becoming numb when injected with novocaine
  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of the dentist as a person
  • Fear of the hand piece (or the drill)

Below are some tips for reducing dental fear and anxiety:

Be sure to talk with your dentist about any worries or fears that you may have. Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, the dentist can take extra precautions during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated beforehand.

Music acts as a relaxant and drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.

Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment and will carry on the procedure, regardless. The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal with the dentist. Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.

Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can control the gag reflex. Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.

Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild. Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.

If there is no other way to cope, sedation offers an excellent option for many people. There are several types of sedation, but the general premise behind them is the same: the patient regains their faculties after treatment is complete.

What are the advantages of nitrous oxide and oral sedation dentistry?

  • Anxiety is alleviated
  • Few side effects
  • More can be accomplished during each visit
  • No pain
  • Perfectly safe
  • Procedures seem to take less time

If you have questions or concerns about how the dentist can help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact the office.

At our Front Royal dental practice, sedation dentistry is a common way to help patients relax in the dentist’s chair and is popular because most sedatives can be taken by mouth, meaning no injections, anxiety or pain. And patients regain their faculties after treatment is complete. Sedation dentistry is often mistakenly thought to induce sleep. But in fact, most sedatives allow the patient to stay awake during the procedure. Sleepiness is a side effect of some medications, but nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation work to calm anxiety throughout the dental visit. General dentistry procedures that may require sedation dentistry include root canal treatment, oral surgery and tooth extractions.

What kinds of sedatives are used in sedation dentistry?

The most popular types of dental sedatives are nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation (not currently being offered by Apple Valley Dental Group). Different levels of sedation (mild, moderate and deep) can be utilized depending on individual needs. Before administering any sedative, the dentist must analyze the full medical history of the patient, as well as noting any current medications.

Dental sedatives offered at Apple Valley Dental Group in Front Royal, VA:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative. It is delivered through a nose hood and is administered throughout the entire procedure. Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being. Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure. In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles. Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation. Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they usually dull the senses. This means that most patients cannot remember the pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure. Usually, a dose of medication is taken prior to the appointment and then topped up during the procedure as required.

Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures. Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time. The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.

Most common drugs used in oral conscious sedation:

  • Valium® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.
  • Halcion® – Usually used to treat insomnia, Halcion is an effective sedative with amnesic properties. A short half-life makes this sedative useful for shorter procedures.
  • Ativan® – This sedative is best known for reducing anxiety. It has amnesic properties and a medium half-life. Ativan is typically used for treatments shorter than two hours.
  • Versed® – This sedative has the shortest half-life and is, therefore, less commonly used. It alleviates anxiety in much the same way as nitrous oxide and is used for visits that will take less than 30 minutes.

Safety and compliance are two important aspects of treatments at Apple Valley Dental Group of Front Royal, so nitrous oxide and oral sedation dentistry offer both the individual and the dentist the best alternative. Whatever the form of sedative, it is essential to be accompanied by a caregiver. Sometimes, sedatives are provided the night before the dental visit, which means that driving to or from the appointment is not advisable.

Even if you suffer from dental fear and anxiety, you don’t have to be afraid to get regular dental checkups and cleanings, which are necessary to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.

If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry in Front Royal, VA, please ask our dental team.

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