Let's face it. We could all make a pretty long list of places we would rather be than at the dentist! For some people though, this fear is so strong, they can't bring themselves to make a visit. Help is at hand. There are a number of ways in which your dentist can help, and many offer different levels of sedation to help you get through treatment.
For instance, it is possible to relax you with a gas and air machine (nitrous oxide and oxygen just like you get to ease the pain in childbirth) or with other anxiety-reducing sedative agents.
Intra-venous sedation involves the use of a drug, which will relax you and remove any anxiety you may have about your treatment. In addition to this it will, in the majority of cases, erase any memory you might have of the procedure. It is, therefore, very important that you understand what is involved in the sedation, what treatment is proposed and what you need to do afterwards because explanations given on the day of treatment will probably be forgotten.
A very narrow tube is placed within a vein in your arm or hand. The tube is put into position using a needle and the tube remains in place throughout the procedure. The sedative is injected through this tube. We usually use the drug Midazolam to achieve a sedative effect and it is given slowly until the level of sedation is sufficient to carry out the treatment. No treatment will be carried out until the effect is achieved.
You will remain conscious throughout the visit and will be able to talk to the dentist but will not be worried about what is going on around you.
The level of saturation of oxygen in your blood will be monitored during the procedure.
On completion the tube will be removed and you will wait at the practice until the dentist feels you are recovered sufficiently to leave.
As an alternative, the sedation can be given in a tablet form. You can discuss this option with your dentist.
Not all dentists offer sedation, but if not they will normally be able to refer you to someone who can help.