Few people look forward to a trip to a dentist, whether they are going for a general tooth cleaning or to have more extensive work done. While a visit to the dentist might not top the list of fun things to do for most people, some have a genuine fear of seeing the dentist. That fear can stem from a past negative experience in the dental chair or from a patient’s perception of dental treatment.
For patients who are fearful of the dentist, sedation dentistry can be useful, as it allows the dentist or periodontist to work on the patient’s mouth without causing the patient too much stress. But, sedation techniques aren’t only helpful for patients with dental phobias. They can help people who’ve had past issues at the dentist’s office get the care and treatment they need.
Helps Patients With a Variety of Oral Problems
While some people have a mental fear of the dentist’s chair, others stay out of the chair because a past experience was physically painful or difficult. For example, a patient with sensitive teeth might wince or feel pain when the dentist is working on his or her teeth. Sensitivity in the teeth can be caused by a number of things, from brushing too hard to tooth decay. A patient who’s been hesitant to see his or her dentist might develop sensitivity due to wear and tear on the teeth and gums.
Sedation dentistry can also help patients with an extreme gag reflex relax at the dentist’s office. Patients gag for a number of reasons, both physical and psychological. Some will gag whenever a dentist tries to put anything in the mouth. Others gag when a device, such as a dental impression tray or bitewing X-ray film, is put in the mouth.
Numbing the area can help reduce the reflex, as can having a patient under conscious sedation, as he or she won’t be aware of what’s going on and will be less likely to react or gag.
Makes the Dental Visit Fly By
Time flies when a person is having fun, or when he or she is under sedation. A big benefit of sedation dentistry, for the patient, is that it can make a several-hours-long dental visit feel like it was just a few minutes long. Along with helping to put the patient’s mind at ease, making the office visit fly by means that a dentist can get more done in a single visit. For example, using traditional techniques, a dentist may need several office visits to complete a task. But, if the patient is sedated and able to sit in the chair for several hours without discomfort or complaint, the dentist is usually able to complete longer procedures in one sitting.
Encourages People to See the Dentist
Perhaps the most important benefit of sedation dentistry is that it encourages people who ordinarily wouldn’t see the dentist to make an appointment. That can have a big impact on a person’s oral and overall health. For example, if a patient knows that he or she will be able to relax at the dentist’s office, he or she will most likely go when a dental problem is a small problem, not a big, very painful one.
The sooner people see the dentist when they have an issue, the better. In the case of gum disease, for example, the earlier it’s treated, the better the outcome. In the early stages of gingivitis, the disease is curable and reversible. In the later stages, a patient needs more in-depth treatments and in some cases, surgery.
Is Sedation Right for You?
Not every dentist offers sedation to patients, and not every patient is a good candidate for it. For example, if you are pregnant or have a heart condition, your dentist may decide not to give you any type of sedation or anesthetic. If you have a history of reacting to certain sedatives, it’s important to let your dentist know before treatment.
In the Miami area, periodontists Dr. John Gallardo and Dr. William Lamas offer sedation dentistry to patients with dental phobias or to patients who would benefit from it. If concerns about dental treatment or pain have kept you from seeing your dentist, find out if sedation techniques can help you. Call the periodontists at (305) 447-1447 for an appointment today.