Many people experience anxiety about visiting the dentist. Those with mild anxiety may feel uncomfortable at the dentist and might avoid extra dental visits for cosmetic dentistry that they might otherwise want. People with moderate dental anxiety may postpone dental visits or make fewer visits than recommended. People with severe dental anxiety may avoid even needed dental care because of their fear. No matter your level of dental anxiety, sedation dentistry can help you get the dental care you desire or need. Sedation dentistry can also help with comfort issues like gagging or difficulty getting numb.
We are a caring and comfortable dental practice, but we recognize that some people need more help feeling relaxed during a dental visit. If you would like to learn more about sedation dentistry in Wilmington, NC, please call 910-392-6060 or contact Kuzma Advanced Dentistry today for an appointment.
Who Benefits from Sedation Dentistry?
People who experience any type of emotional or physical discomfort associated with dental visits can benefit from sedation dentistry, including:
- Fear of dental visits
- Anxious response to sights, sounds, or smells at dentist office
- Sensitive gag reflex
- Discomfort from holding mouth open
- Difficulty sitting still for visits
- Difficulty getting numb
- Excess pain during or after dental visit
- Inability to sleep the night before a dental visit
Most of these are related to anxiety to some degree or another. A sensitive gag reflex, for example, is dental fear that expresses as heightened sensitivity to dental tools inserted in the mouth. Fidgeting, tensing muscles, and focusing on the dental procedure can all make your dental visit more uncomfortable and lead to increased discomfort and difficulty getting numb.
To help you relax for your dental visit, we offer three types of sedation dentistry: oral sedation, nitrous oxide, and NuCalm.
In oral sedation, you take a relaxation pill, such as valium, about a half hour before your dental visit. By the time you reach our office you will feel relaxed and comfortable. You will be conscious and aware of your surroundings, but not stressed at all. You will likely not remember much about your dental visit as the time passes quickly for you in a dreamlike state. The benefits of oral sedation include:
- Helps with pre-visit anxiety
- Can be used to help sleep the night before a visit
- Easy to take
- No needles or masks
For many people, oral sedation is the best sedation dentistry option. It does have some drawbacks, however. You will need to have someone take you to and from your dental visit. It also can’t be customized for the length of the procedure, so it can only be used for a certain length of time.
Nitrous oxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be inhaled to produce a relaxed, comfortable state when you are in our office. It stimulates the production of a relaxation compound in your brain and suppresses awareness of pain. Benefits of nitrous oxide include:
- Takes effect quickly (under five minutes)
- Can be prolonged for longer treatments
- Creates positive associations with dental visits
- Additional anesthetic effect
- Wears off quickly
With nitrous oxide, you can drive yourself to and from your dental visits. Some people like nitrous oxide, but others find they do not like the euphoric effect it produces. It also may not control anxiety well enough for some people, and since the anesthetic effect wears off quickly, some don’t like the discomfort after the procedure.
For people who find themselves anxious at the dentist but don’t want to use drugs to avoid anxiety, we offer NuCalm, an advanced approach that allows you to achieve a relaxed state without drugs.
Instead of numbing or deadening your conscious mind, NuCalm harnesses your body’s natural relaxation mechanisms to prevent anxiety responses to the things at the dentist office that normally make you nervous.
NuCalm consists of four basic elements:
- Natural supplement or lotion that supplies your body with relaxation neurotransmitters your brain produces in preparation for sleep
- Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) that makes your brain receptive to relaxation neurotransmitters
- Headphones that present your brain with two different beats, encouraging a change to low-frequency (relaxed) brain waves
- Dark glasses or eye mask that blocks out stressful light and sights
These four elements take only a couple minutes to apply, and within five minutes, you’re likely drifting into a meditative state similar to the moment just before sleep. You likely won’t fall asleep, you’ll be awake and aware but really relaxed during your appointment.
During your consultation, we can talk about your sedation dentistry options and help you decide which is the right approach for you. To schedule your consultation, please call 910-392-6060 or email Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.