Does the thought of visiting the dentist make your palms sweat? Do you feel nervous when your annual check-up notice arrives in your inbox? If so, you may be one of many people who suffer from anxiety when it comes to dental procedures. This does not mean that you should continue to let your fears keep you from seeking treatment; sedation dentistry may help decrease some of your nervousness around dental work.
Randall W. Smith DDS and his team of experts at Dental Health Connection located in Burlington, Massachusetts, offer an alternative approach to sedation. The methods we use lessen feelings of discomfort, leaving our patients feeling comfortable and confident enough to conquer their next appointment.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry administers mild, calming medications to nervous patients who might otherwise be opposed to treatments. Sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” sedation is typically achieved with the help of oral sedatives or nitrous oxide. Patients will remain awake during the entirety of the procedure and be able to respond to commands given by Dr. Smith.
Sedation is most appropriate for people who
- Have a low tolerance for pain
- Have sensitive teeth or gag reflex
- Need extensive dental work
- Generally anxious about dental work
Conventional sedation is effective in helping to ease anxieties around treatment. It often requires extensive preparation and can produce unwanted side effects like nausea and fatigue.
What type of sedation is available?
The two main types of sedation are:
With minimal sedation, you will be awake, but in a state of relaxation. Inhaled minimal sedation typically involves nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas.” The gas is combined with oxygen and funneled through a mask that’s placed over your nose. The effects tend to wear off quickly with minimal risks.
Oral sedation can be considered either minimal or moderate. It involves the consumption of medications like benzodiazepines that are typically prescribed to patients who have insomnia. The pill will cause drowsiness, but you will remain awake. Some side effects include grogginess and the temporary loss of coordination or motor skills. Depending on the dose given, you may need to have someone escort you to and from your appointment.
What to expect
Before the procedure, Dr. Smith will review your medical history to determine if you’re right for sedation. Patients who take certain medications may not be eligible for these sedation options. The doctor will then provide you with detailed information about the risks associated with the procedure.
You should feel comfortable and confident in asking questions if you’re confused or if any part of the process remains unclear. Dr. Smith would be happy to address any of your concerns with his expert knowledge and experienced care.
Drug-free sedation with NuCalm®
At Dental Health Connection, we pride ourselves on taking a more natural approach to oral care. Dr. Smith is a sedation expert who supports a holistic alternative to traditional sedation that employs the use of medically approved substances that are administered by a professional in a controlled environment.
NuCalm® is a relaxation system that can ease your nerves by tricking your body into thinking that you’re just about ready to sleep. This relaxation technique works by combining four steps that produce a natural calming effect. This clinically proven neuroscience technology enables our team to safely control your stress by addressing it in as little as two minutes.
Everyone can benefit from the NuCalm system. Not only will it keep you from wriggling around in the dentist’s chair, but it is also effective in helping the body heal more rapidly after surgery. Unlike traditional sedation, NuCalm does not suppress the conscious. Oral sedatives work by suppressing the conscious, leaving stress responses intact, which lead to negative side effects post-surgery.
What to expect with NuCalm
Dr. Smith will begin by providing you with an oral supplement or topical solution that contains gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Your body naturally releases GABA, which slows down mental activity in preparation for sleep.
A cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) device is used to stimulate your brain’s GABA receptors enough to produce serotonin. Serotonin is an essential chemical in your brain that can influence your mood and control your sleep patterns.
To conclude the process, Dr. Smith will give you headphones playing music with special binaural beats and rhythmic signals that support the relaxation process. It also helps to slow racing brain waves that stir up anxious feelings.
Some of the benefits of NuCalm include maintaining a natural state of relaxation and potentially earning a boost of energy after your treatment. NuCalm is not a sleep aid. In fact, patients who use Nucalm do not have to be driven to the office and often drive themselves home from surgery. This is not the case with oral sedatives like Valium and Xanax.
If you find yourself experiencing anxiety around dental procedures, don’t hesitate to call our office or book an appointment online.