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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.

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

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

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.

NEXT >> How to Decide

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