Smiling patient giving a thumbs up from the dental treatment chairFear of the dentist and dental procedures are not uncommon among American adults. In fact, Cleveland Clinic reports between 9-15 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of fear or anxiety. When you don’t go to the dentist, you obviously aren’t getting the quality dental care you need and deserve. Eventually, you’re likely to experience problems like tooth decay, gum inflammation, loose teeth and other problems as the lack of care persists. Fortunately, not only are our dentists personally committed to ensuring you have a great experience at our practice, we also offer sedation dentistry for people who are having trouble leaving their dental phobia at the door. To learn more, please call Flatrock Family Dentistry in Greenville, SC, at 864-297-5268.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the practice of administering one of three medications to reduce patient anxiety and/or alter the patient’s state of consciousness, which is what happens when you undergo surgery.

Medications used include:

  • Nitrous oxide (a.k.a. “laughing gas”)
  • Oral conscious sedation
  • IV sedation

The type used in your situation depends on which dental service you are receiving, your level of anxiety or phobia, your health history and several other factors.

Is It Right for Me?

Sedation may be right for you if you are burdened by one or more of the following:

  • Sensitive gag reflex
  • Extreme discomfort when seated in the treatment chair
  • Fear, anxiety or phobia
  • Memories of bad experiences with dentists in your past
  • Extreme tooth or gum sensitivity

This list is not exhaustive and there are plenty of other reasons people seek sedation. We can all relate to nervousness about events and appointments that are not part of our routine. When this nervousness feels insurmountable to you, unhealthy, debilitating, or just really inconvenient, then it may be time to consider sedation. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. We’ll determine if sedation is appropriate, and, if so, what type makes sense for your treatment.

When is Sedation Used?

It depends. Dental sedation is administered during oral surgery. For patients who are anxious or fearful, it may be administered in less complex, routine treatments. Here are some examples of each:

Our dentists will help you decide if and when it is appropriate as part of your care.

What is “Dental Fear” and “Dental Phobia?”

For people who are nervous about dentistry, there is a spectrum ranging from mild anxiety that is inconvenient to phobia that is difficult to live with. While someone on one side of the spectrum may generally put off scheduling their dental cleanings – perhaps not visit the dentist as often as they should – someone on the far end of the spectrum may have difficulty entering a dentist’s office without a physical response like panic, racing heartbeat, sweating and hyperventilation. Our dentists work with you to determine if sedation is the right option.

Should I Plan for Downtime Afterward?

It depends on the type of anesthesia. IV sedation usually requires you take it easy for a few days. Nitrous and most oral sedations allow you to get back to your normal routine quickly.

Will Someone Need to Drive me Home?

It depends on the type of anesthesia. Yes, for most versions of IV and oral sedation. Laughing gas wears off so quickly that you should feel fine to drive home afterward.

Learn More About Sedation Dentistry

To learn more about the dental services offered at our Greenville, South Carolina practice, please call Flatrock Family Dentistry today at 864-297-5268. Families and individuals visit us from across the surrounding region, including Five Forks and Greer. No insurance? No problem – we offer the Healthy Smiles Dental Plan, which is an in-house plan to offer you with better affordability. Please call our office to learn more.