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

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