Many people experience anxiety before their dental treatment. This dental anxiety may stem from past experiences or just a perception that the dental procedures will be painful. Many methods are available to help reduce or remove dental anxiety. Some people can relieve their anxiety simply by discussing their fears with their prosthodontist and learning more about the planned procedure.
Be open with your prosthodontist about your anxiety and have a discussion on the treatment that is right for you.
Nitrous oxide or "laughing gas" is given to a person with a mixture of oxygen and has a calming effect that helps anxious people relax during their dental treatment. When using nitrous oxide, the patient remains conscious and can talk to the prosthodontist during their procedure. The effects wear off almost immediately allowing the person to drive home following the treatment.
Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects when given properly by a prosthodontist. Using nitrous oxide during a dental procedure will reduce dental anxiety for a number of people, but very anxious patients may require a prescription medication.
Sedation is meant to help people calm their nerves through the use of medication or inhaled gas prior to and/or during a treatment procedure. Sedation is helpful for patients with fears related to dental treatment, for patients with a low pain tolerance, or perhaps for patients requiring longer dental appointments. There are different types of sedation used depending on the situation.
Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to help many patients feel comfortable during their dental visit. Before using sedation or anesthetic, it is important to tell your doctor about any medications or herbal supplements you are taking or medical treatments you are receiving.
Any prescription anti-anxiety treatment, including IV sedation, will require the individual to be in good general health and to have a driver to take him or her home after the dental procedure.
Anesthesia relates to blocking or temporarily removing sensation from your body or mouth to allow medical or dental treatment without discomfort. Local anesthetics are typically used for dental procedures to remove sensation or “numb” a specific area. General anesthesia is more commonly used in a hospital setting to remove sensation from the entire body during a medical surgery.
Several antibiotics exist that are well-suited to treat dental infections (used as antibiotic therapy), and your prosthodontist can decide the best antibiotic based on the type of infection and your medical history.
People with certain medical conditions such as specific heart conditions (including artificial heart valves) or total joint replacements of the knee and/or hip may need to take antibiotics (antibiotic prophylaxis) before any invasive dental procedures. Some dental procedures may allow bacteria to enter the blood stream. The bacteria in the blood stream can eventually reach either the damaged area of the heart or the artificial joint and cause an infection. In extreme situations, the risk may become life-threatening. Your prosthodontist may consult with your cardiologist to determine the appropriate protocol for you.