Fear of dental procedures is a common problem affecting millions worldwide. In fact, it’s suggested that dental anxiety affects approximately one in every three patients. So if you get nervous before a dental treatment or procedure, you’re certainly not alone.
It’s understandable, then, that surgical fear is the number one reason people shy away from undergoing a dental implant procedure, even though it’s the gold standard of tooth replacement options.
However, in recent years, advancements in sedation dentistry have revolutionized the way many dental procedures (including dental implants) are performed. In this post, we’ll explore the concept of sedation dentistry and its key role in making tooth implant surgery a painless and stress-free patient experience.
Before we dive into the ins and outs of sedation dentistry, it’s worth taking a closer look at how dental implants have changed the landscape of tooth restoration.
Unlike conventional dentures or bridges, implants are fixed directly into the jawbone. This makes them a stable and reliable option for long-term use. Whereas dentures need to be swapped out regularly to adapt to the changing shape of the jaw, dental implants provide a permanent and natural solution to tooth loss. So once they’re in place, that’s it - for life!
Traditionally, dental implant surgery involves administering local anesthesia to numb the area, followed by the surgical placement of a titanium post (implant) into the jawbone.
Although anesthesia remains effective at minimizing pain, some patients still experience a degree of discomfort and stress due to the sounds and sensations associated with oral surgery. Enter sedation dentistry!
Sedation dentistry has evolved as a game-changer to address anxiety concerns surrounding dental implant placement. The process involves various sedatives that allow patients to remain relaxed and calm during dental implant surgery. The result is a painless and stress-free procedure.
One key point to note is that there are different levels of sedation a dentist can administer in relation to the amount of anxiety a patient is feeling and the complexity of the procedure.
Let’s take a closer look at them, starting with:
Commonly known as ‘laughing gas’ or ‘happy gas’, nitrous oxide isn’t a new invention. In fact, it was first attributed to a Connecticut dentist back in 1844. So it’s been around for a little under one hundred and eighty years. It was proven to work back in the day, but it tended to make people feel queasy after the event.
Modern nitrous oxide is harmless and designed to wear off quickly after the procedure. Administered via a nosepiece, patients simply breathe it in as they would air. Typically, patients experience a feeling of euphoria coupled with carefree abandon, making them sail through procedures like dental implant surgery without even realizing it.
If a patient has a problem with any attachment being placed over the nose or mouth or is facing a more complex surgery and needs further sedation, the dentist can also administer oral sedation as a prescription pill.
Typically, oral sedation medications induce deeper levels of relaxation and consist of drugs like diazepam, triazolam and lorazepam. Patients may be required to take their medication the night before surgery or several hours prior.
Patients remain conscious (just like when taking nitrous oxide) but are unlikely to remember the details of the procedure afterwards.
For patients requiring a deeper state of relaxation still, there is an option for sedation to be administered intravenously. The sedative is delivered using a small cannula straight into the bloodstream. Patients on IV sedation typically drift in and out of consciousness but are monitored at all times to ensure complete safety. Again, patients will have little or no memory of the procedure.
General anesthesia is rarely used in dental implant surgery but is available for complex cases, patients with extreme dental anxiety, or physically or mentally challenged patients. Unlike other forms of sedation, general anesthesia renders the patient unconscious for the duration of the event.
Now we know what types of sedation are available, let’s take a closer look at their benefits.
Sedation dentistry effectively alleviates dental anxiety, making people more comfortable and relaxed during surgical procedures.
With sedation, patients experience minimal-to-zero discomfort during dental implant surgery, ensuring a smooth and comfortable process.
Sedation dentistry allows clinicians to work more efficiently as patients remain more cooperative and relaxed. This leads to a better experience for the patient while allowing the dentist to better focus on the job at hand.
When patients are under conscious sedation, it becomes easier for the dentist to administer multiple procedures when necessary. This saves the need for further appointments while reducing the number of dental visits.
Finally, less anxious patients become more likely to seek regular dental care. Research suggests that patients who visit the dentist regularly are less prone to developing dental problems than those who visit sporadically or not at all.
Sedation dentistry has undeniably changed the landscape for dental procedures, particularly when it comes to dental implant surgery. Gone are the days of fear and anxiety. Now, with modern conscious sedation techniques, patients can expect a painless and stress-free experience - one that’s over before they know it.
If you reside in the St Louis area and have been putting off dental implant surgery because of fear, uncertainty or anxiety, talk to us about your sedation dentistry options.
Don’t let the worry of a short surgical process prevent you from achieving the quality of life you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with Chesterfield Dentistry today and get all your questions and concerns answered.
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