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Put Dental Fears to Rest With Sedation Dentistry [BLOG]

Dental Anxiety 3 at Hawkins Complete Dental Service in Zanesville, OH

If you made a list of movie villains, you might list a Sith Lord (Darth Vader), a cannibalistic serial killer (Hannibal Lecter), and, yes, a dentist (Dr. Christian Szell). Though the dentist isn’t as well-known as the other two, the character played by Laurence Olivier in “Marathon Man” is ranked No. 34 on the American Film Institute’s list of Top 100 Movie Villains. In a scene that everyone who has seen the movie remembers, Olivier tortures Dustin Hoffman using dental instruments.

Real-life dentists use their instruments for good, not evil. Yet many people struggle with dental fears. It’s not that hard to understand, given that many people have had a less-than-positive experience at least once in their past. A single bad experience can affect how you feel about the dentist for years.

Luckily, Dr. Charles Hawkins and the rest of our Zanesville, OH team have got many ways to help you overcome your dental fears. In particular, you can receive dental sedation, which relaxes you during dental procedures. Unlike many general dentists, who offer just one type of sedation, Hawkins Complete Dental Service offers three sedation options.

That’s because not all dental fears are the same. Nor are dental procedures. And people respond differently to dental sedation. By offering three types of sedation, we can make sure we use the one that will work best given the procedures you need and your degree of dental anxiety.

For more information about our sedation dentistry, you can call us at 740-214-1301.

Sedation Dentistry Isn’t Just For Dental Fears

While sedation dentistry is great at calming dental fears, we can use it for other reasons too. In particular, it works well in these situations:

  • If you’ve experienced difficulties getting numb in the past or just don’t like needles, dental sedation will keep you relaxed while we administer local anesthesia.
  • If you’ve got a sensitive gag reflex, sedation will keep you from gagging.
  • If you don’t like the smells, noises, and tastes associated with dental procedures, sedation will make you less aware of your surroundings.
  • Sedation will make it easier for us to complete a lengthy procedure or multiple procedures.
  • If you’ve got sensitive teeth, sedation will dull that sensitivity.

How Different Forms Of Sedation Soothe Dental Fears

The three types of sedation we offer work somewhat differently in how they soothe dental fears. We’ll review here how each works, and some of the pros and cons of each method. Before administering any form of dental sedation, we’ll examine you and review your medical history. And no matter which type of sedation you receive, we’ll monitor you throughout your treatment.

Nitrous Oxide

Also known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is the most common and safest form of sedation. It’s so safe, we can even give it to children! You inhale it through a small mask worn over your nose. Most people feel lightheaded, then mildly euphoric, when receiving it. You’ll remain aware of what is happening, but you won’t feel any anxiety about it.

Among its benefits:

  • It takes effect rapidly, within minutes.
  • We can easily increase or decrease the amount of nitrous you receive during the procedure.
  • Because you remain aware, you can easily respond to us if we speak to you.
  • Its effects wear off quickly following your procedure.
  • The effects don’t linger. You’ll even be able to drive yourself home!

Oral Sedation

With oral sedation, we’ll place a powdered form of a prescription medication under your tongue. It normally takes effect in about 30 minutes. Most people feel sleepy and become largely unaware of their surroundings. Once administered, it can’t be reversed. Its effects can last up to four hours, so you’ll need to arrange transportation home.

Some of its benefits:

  • Oral sedation is less invasive than nitrous oxide, which requires you to wear a mask, or IV sedation, which is administered through a vein.
  • While you’ll relax more deeply than with nitrous, you’ll be more aware than with IV sedation and still able to respond to our directions.
  • We can combine oral sedation with nitrous oxide, if necessary.

IV Sedation

Administered intravenously, IV sedation is the strongest form of sedation we offer. Because of this, it’s often the best choice for more severe dental fears. Dr. Hawkins is one of only a handful of general dentists in southeastern Ohio who is licensed to give IV sedation.

You won’t be able to eat for 12 hours before sedation, and we may ask you to skip taking certain medications. You’ll be in a state similar to light sleep, though your eyes may remain open. As with oral sedation, you’ll need a ride home.

Its benefits include:

  • It only takes about a minute to deeply relax you.
  • Because we can easily administer more so you stay relaxed, IV sedation works better than nitrous oxide or oral sedation for lengthy or complicated procedures.

Are you ready to put your dental fears to rest? Call Hawkins Complete Dental Service at 740-214-1301.

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