Should I Take Anti-Anxiety Medications for Dental Treatment: How to Decide

How to Decide?

Answer the following questions:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10 you are scared of the dentist a 7 or an 8?
  2. You are supposed to have some moderately difficult dental treatment done, like a root canal or a tooth extraction or two?
  3. You haven’t been to the dentist in a while and need a little boost?
  4. You can handle a feeling a little pressure and hearing some noises so long as you don’t feel any pain?
  5. You would like to be able to use this method again in the future if necessary?
  6. You haven’t had a bad reaction to an anti-anxiety medication before?
  7. You like to try and find a way to concur your fear of the dentist… eventually?

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you are probably a good candidate for using anti-anxiety medications at the dentist.

If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then maybe you should either be put to sleep or just stay awake and try to tough it out!

Final Thought

We think that taking an anti-anxiety medication may be a good option for those of you who are very scared of going to the dentist. These pills can help calm you down and take the edge off to help get you through the more difficult visits. You will still be aware of your entire surroundings but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It will allow you to cooperate with your dentist’s instructions and it can also help you gradually concur your fears of the dentist. These medications may not work for the most frightened individuals or during the most difficult treatments but they are definitely a worthy option to consider for the majority of fearful patients. And since using anti-anxiety medications is an easy and inexpensive procedure, you can always resort back to them in the future if necessary.

The purpose of anti-anxiety pills is to give you a little assistance when receiving the more complex dental treatments. You may not be ready to do that one root canal without a little anxiety relief, or you may feel like it has been a long time since you were at the dentist and an anti-anxiety pill can help calm your nerves quite a bit. But you can’t take them routinely every single time you go in for a checkup and cleaning. Pick and choose wisely and try to save oral sedation for the more complex treatments which truly deserve them.

Anti-anxiety pills provide minimal levels of sedation which may be fine for a root canal or an extraction. But it may prove inadequate for the most complicated dental procedures.

  • Removal of complicated wisdom teeth, especially when all four are being done at once
  • Removal of multiple teeth along with placement of dental implants
  • Complex surgeries such as lateral sinus lift or autogenous bone grafts which can be very difficult and quite invasive

You might want to consider going with a higher level of sedation such as IV sedation or General Anesthesia for these more challenging surgeries instead. Of course this is all a matter of preference, so talk to your dentist to determine what option is right for you.

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