Category Archives: Dental Phobia

Should I Take Anti-Anxiety Medications for Dental Treatment: Pros of NOT Taking Anti-Anxiety Medications

1. Anti-anxiety medications can be a bit of a hit-or-miss in terms of its effectiveness. When anti-anxiety pills work well their effects can be wonderful for the fearful patient. Unfortunately they don’t work the same way on everyone. Some people may have a higher tolerance and feel minimal effects. Others with a high metabolism may feel the effects wearing off quicker than expected while they are still receiving treatment in the dental chair especially if your treatment is taking longer. What to do if you are not feeling the effects like you had hoped for?

  • It is helpful to have a few extra pills handy in case you require a higher dosage to feel the effects. Your dentist will instruct you to take an additional dosage if it will be required.
  • If this fails and you are at the maximum advisable dosage, your dentist may consider supplementing the anti-anxiety medication with nitrous oxide gas. This will create a compounded effect and usually works. Talk to your dentist to help you reach a calm and relaxed state prior to starting your scheduled dental treatment.

2. You are still aware of your surroundings when on them. Since anti-anxiety medications provide only a minimal level of sedation you will still be conscious and aware of your surroundings during the appointment. While you may feel calm and relaxed you will continue to hear noises, feel pressure and if you aren’t numbed up correctly you will also feel pain. So while this may be a good option for many, the most fearful individuals who can’t handle any noise or feelings whatsoever may not be satisfied with this level of sedation. If you think this applies to your case then the only other option would be resorting to IV sedation or General Anesthesia in order to provide you with the level of sedation where you don’t feel anything at all. But these deeper sedation options are typically reserved for the most complicated and the most fearful patients, so don’t pass up on anti-anxiety pills too hastily without giving it a chance.

3. There are certain risks and post-op hangovers. It is hard to predict how your visit will go since it is difficult to determine exactly how you will react to anti-anxiety medications, how long it will take for you to react to them and how long its effects will last. You might end up being at your dentist for a much longer time than you had expected. Sometimes the anti-anxiety effects will last for an extended time, possibly over a day, so you must exercise extra caution before and after taking anti-anxiety medications. These are nervous system suppressants so can overdose if you take too many pills. Your dentist will examine your medical history to see if you qualify for using oral sedation to assist you in relieving anxiety when receiving dental treatment. Additionally, there are certain kidney, liver or other medical conditions which prohibit the use of benzodiazepines, your dentist will review your medical history and allergies to see if you are a good candidate for using them.

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Should I Take Anti-Anxiety Medications for Dental Treatment: Pros of Taking Anti-Anxiety Medications

Should I be Put to Sleep for Dental Treatment: How to Decide

How to Decide?

Answer the following questions:

  1. On a scale or 1 to 10 you are a 10 afraid of the dentist?
  2. You have’t been to the dentist in a while and needs lots of work including several teeth extractions?
  3. You need to remove all four of your wisdom teeth?
  4. You want to replace all of your teeth with dental implants?
  5. Do you have a child you are considering to be placed to sleep who needs multiple teeth extractions or baby root canals and your child is afraid of the dentist?
  6. You can afford an extra thousand dollars to be placed to sleep or have dental insurance that covers the anesthesia?
  7. You know of a good dentist or oral surgeon who can put you to sleep and offer you the treatment you need?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions then you can consider being put to sleep if you’d like. Deep sedation is still a good option for the most difficult and invasive procedures especially the tougher oral surgery procedures. It should be considered when removing multiple impacted wisdom teeth at the same time, placing full mouth implants or other complicated dental surgeries such as lateral sinus lift or autogenous bone graft. Also if you haven’t been to the dentist and haven’t been taking care of your teeth and now you need multiple broken teeth fragments removed then deep sedation could be helpful, although not necessary if you go to a skilled oral surgeon or a dentist with extensive experience in tooth extraction.

If you  answered “no” to the above questions then you should go and talk to your dentist to see what other options are available to soothe your nerves other than being placed to sleep.

Final Thought

Because deep sedation requires a lot of preparation and comes with higher risks and costs it is best reserved for the most difficult dental procedures rather than for routine ones. So unless you need lots of work done or require some very difficult treatments, you are probably better off either toughing it out or looking into alternative options such as nitrous oxide gas or anti-anxiety pre-medication. These offer you a lower level of sedation which could prove quite effective but at a much lower cost and with far fewer risks.

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Should I be Put to Sleep for Dental Treatment: Pros of Being Awake

Should I be Put to Sleep for Dental Treatment: Pros of Being Awake

1. It is a lot of preparation and not every dental office will offer it to you. Before you get put to sleep you need to be medically cleared for it and follow a strict diet. You also need an escort to accompany and transport you to your visit. So there is quite a bit of preparation that goes into being put to sleep. Additionally, only select dentists or oral surgeons offer deep sedation. If you are trying to be put to sleep for general dentistry treatment it can be quite difficult to find a dentist who will offer it as this is typically reserved for surgeries by the oral surgeon. Offering deep sedation requires its own permit which few general dentists carry. You will have to do quite a bit of homework to find a dentist who can accommodate all of your needs while still offering you deep sedation at the same time.

2. Being put to sleep is both costly and risky. The cost of being put to sleep is typically an additional expense on top of that of your actual dental treatment. Sometimes your insurance may pick up the costs of your sedation during surgeries which really require them. But other times you will be charged a substantial additional fee for the sedation. Also deep sedation is risky and although infrequent, occasional deaths have been reported where the dentist or anesthesiologist was unable to reverse the effects of sedation and get the patient to wake up.

3. Deep sedation can not be offered on a consistent basis. Because being put to sleep requires a lot of preparation it can’t be done every single time you go to the dentist. As such it is typically reserved for the most complex and difficult dental treatments. If your plan is to be put to sleep every time you go to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning then you need to come up with another strategy because deep sedation and being put to sleep is just not going to work.

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Should I be Put to Sleep for Dental Treatment: Pros of Being Put to Sleep (Deep Sedation)