Anxiety doesn’t have to keep you from achieving your smile dreams, repairing your teeth, or bringing your mouth back to a healthy state. With anxiety-free dental care, you can have the freedom to enter your dental visit without fear or anxiousness. Arrive at your dental visit with ease and leave smiling, knowing that you’ve had the best dental treatment that Las Vegas has to offer.

Sedation Dentistry: A Guide

Use this brief guide to help you navigate the different types of sedation that can help you find anxiety relief during your visit to the dentist. If you have any questions about this guide, feel free to call your Las Vegas cosmetic dentist, Dr. James B. Polley. Dr. Polley and his team are experts in sedation dentistry and can support you in finding relaxation.

Oral Sedation

Who is it for?: Patients with mild to moderate anxiety

Oral sedation decreases activity in the parts of your brain that control fear and anxiety. It can work for almost anyone since the medication chosen is unique to each patient based on allergies and the severity of anxiety. Oral sedation is a pill that is taken at home in the hours leading up to your appointment. A benefit of oral sedation is that it can help with pre-appointment jitters as well as anxiety during your appointment. You’ll be conscious enough to respond to your dentist’s instructions, but you’ll feel deeply relaxed. It’s common for people to fall asleep during their procedure—don’t worry though, a gentle shake will wake you right up. Oral sedation is a safe option to experience anxiety-free dentistry. It is FDA approved and you won’t experience any dangerous side effects from taking oral sedation. Since this sedation is a pill, it takes time for it to kick in and the dosage can’t easily be changed. You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

Takeaways: Oral sedation is a pill you take before you arrive at the dental office to relieve mild to moderate anxiety. You will need to be driven to and from your appointment.

Deep Sedation

Who is it for?: Patients with moderate to severe anxiety

Deep sedation is similar to general anesthesia but you aren’t completely unconscious. You’ll be in a deep sleep and can be prompted to easily respond after repeated stimulation. Deep sedation will keep you comfortable and you won’t remember the procedure. The medication used to put you in deep sedation is administered at the dental office so if you have pre-appointment anxiety, deep sedation won’t help with that. You may experience some side effects but these and the risks associated are less than with general anesthesia. Side effects could be tiredness, weakness, or short-term memory loss. Though, these will all be resolved within 24 hours. You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

Takeaways: Deep sedation will relieve moderate to severe anxiety. It is a state of deep sleep and you will need someone to drive you to your appointment.

General Anesthesia

Who is it for?: Patients with severe anxiety or patients who don’t respond to oral sedation

General anesthesia is for those with severe anxiety, don’t respond to oral sedation, can’t sit still, undergoing an invasive procedure, or have developmental disabilities. While you are under general anesthesia, nerve signals in your brain and body are interrupted so you can’t process pain or remember anything that has happened. After being administered general anesthesia, you’ll fall asleep in minutes and the procedure will be over before you know it. While you’re sleeping, your breathing, temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen, and fluid levels will all be monitored to ensure your safety. The level of sedation is easily changed in response to how quickly your body can metabolize the anesthetic. Very few dental offices have a license to use general anesthesia for dental procedures so if you have severe anxiety during dental visits, it’s important to find a dentist who can ease your anxiety with general anesthesia. Since this is administered at the dental office, general anesthesia won’t help with any pre-appointment anxiety but you will still need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. There are some risks and side effects (confusion, nausea, dizziness) associated with this type of sedation, so be sure to talk to Dr. Polley about your medical history before beginning.

Takeaways: General anesthesia will relieve severe dental anxiety. You’ll be unconscious during the procedure and will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

Which form of anxiety-free dentistry is for me?

It can be hard to choose which kind of sedation dentistry will be best for you on your own. The easiest way to choose is to request a consultation with your Las Vegas dentist to discuss your options. Be sure to talk to Dr. Polley about your previous medical history, your level of anxiety, allergies, and to mention if you are pregnant. He has anxiety-free dental options that can be customized to fit your needs.

With sedation options like these, it’s easy to keep your mouth healthy, receive necessary treatment, and obtain the smile you’ve been dreaming about. There is no reason to put it off anymore. Call James B. Polley DDS to see if sedation dentistry is right for you. With five-star dental care right here in Las Vegas, you can receive the healthy, functional, and pain-free smile of your dreams without fear. Call Dr. Polley today at (702) 873-0324 or request an appointment online.