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Afraid of the Dentist? Oral Sedation Can Help You Relax

Dentist Applying Sedatives

If the thought of visiting a dentist fills you with fear and anxiety, you might avoid your appointments at all costs. You may even lose sleep at night over your dental visits. Dentists understand their patients' fears and anxieties, which is why so many providers offer sedation dentistry.  

Sedation dentistry is a unique branch of dentistry that uses medication to calm the nerves of fearful and anxious patients. One of the most common forms of sedation dentistry is oral medication (oral conscious sedation). Oral medication is typically used for dental cleanings, fillings and other light to moderate procedures. 

Here's more information about oral medication and how it can work for you.

How Does Oral Medication Work?

Oral conscious sedation comes in pill or liquid form, which you take right before your dental appointment or the night before your visit. Most people take their medication an hour or so before their treatment to obtain the best effects.

The dosage for oral medication varies from mild to moderate. A dentist will generally assess your overall health before giving you any dosage, even if it's mild. Some medications can make you feel drowsy or sleepy. In addition, you want to take a medication that takes effect and wears off within a reasonable time.

Oral medication can take as little as 20 minutes or as long as an hour to take effect. The medication must first enter your bloodstream before it reaches the parts of your brain that control your body's reflexes, pain receptors, and emotions. Once the medication does take effect, it can create a host of relaxing feelings, including euphoria.

Although it doesn't occur with every patient, some people can fall asleep during their treatments. If you do fall asleep, a dentist can arouse you by calling your name or by gently shaking your arm. In most cases, you remain aware of your surroundings and treatment. 

What Else Can You Do to Relax Before Treatment?

Now that you know more about oral conscious sedation and how it can possibly help you, take additional steps at home to prepare for your dental treatments.

Get a Massage

One of the things you can do before your dental appointments is to get a massage. Massage therapy not only releases tension in your muscles, but it can also ease your mind. You don't have to invest in a massage chair or visit your local therapist to find relief. You can simply massage your feet, neck, and shoulders at home the night before your visit.

Get Enough Sleep

Be sure to get sufficient sleep the night before your appointments. People with anxiety issues often have problems falling asleep or staying asleep at night. If you fall into any of these categories, take steps to remedy them. You can do so by reading an interesting book, listening to soft music or taking a long, warm bath.

Also, try to take a short walk around the block or call a close family member or friend before you retire to bed. The walk or talk may take your mind off your impending dental appointments. If possible, have someone attend your appointments with you. The individual can offer support before and after your visits. 

Talk to Your Dentist

If you have anxiety about visiting the dentist, don't assume you have to hide it. Dentists know that people don't always love coming in for a check-up or other procedure, and they're ready to help you relax as much as possible.

If you have additional concerns about your dental fears and anxiety issues, contact Indiana Family Dentistry. We offer sedation for procedures at our office, and we take care to soothe the dental anxiety of every patient.