I have dental anxiety and my dentist suggested I try dental sedation. I was excited about that until he said there may be some gaps in my memory. Then I went from dental anxiety to just plain anxiety. I don’t like the idea of losing my memory. Is there any option?
I think something got lost in translation with your dentist. I am going on the assumption that your dentist was referring to oral conscious sedation. This is a pill you will take before your appointment. It is quite strong and will completely relax you. However, it won’t cause you to lose your memory. I think what your dentist meant is you may not remember everything because you are so relaxed.
Some people call it sleep dentistry because, if you want to, you can sleep through the entire procedure. This is why you won’t remember everything. You may be napping. That doesn’t mean you have to. You can stay awake. You’ll be able to communicate with the dentist if you’d like and answer questions.
There are different types of sedation medications. Each dentist uses their preferred brand. One thing you should know about a sedation dentist is they are used to dealing with patients who are fearful. Communicate your concern with him. He will understand. It’s likely he can choose a different medication which won’t make you so sleepy.
Another option is for you to get nitrous oxide instead of oral sedation. This uses a gas which you will breathe in through a nose piece. It will make you feel relaxed and floaty, but you won’t be nearly as sleepy as you would with the stronger option. Nitrous has an additional benefit of you being able to get on with your day as soon as your procedure is over.
The dentist will simply switch the gas from nitrous to oxygen, which gets you back to the point of lucidity. With oral conscious sedation, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment, as well as stay with you throughout the day. You won’t be steady on your feet for several hours. I’d plan on spending the remainder of your day in bed or on the couch binging your favorite shows.
What you will find is this enables you to get a pain-free dental appointment. It especially helps patients who in the past have avoided the dentist, which often leads to dental emergencies.
This blog is brought to you by La Crescenta Dentist Dr. Robert Thein.